Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to spend a morning with Becky Anderson, our 2013 William A.V. Cecil Tourism Leadership Award.
We met up at the North Carolina Arboretum to film for the award video and spent the morning talking about downtown revitalization, small town development and the resilience of WNC residents.
One of my favorite things about working on the Chamber’s annual awards is getting to know fabulous people in our community like Becky and hearing their stories.
Becky was the ideal choice for this year’s William A.V. Cecil Leadership Award which recognizes senior management for leadership in the local hospitality industry. The recipient has displayed foresight, exceptional leadership skills and has impacted the Western North Carolina hospitality industry and the community as a whole. Throughout her career, Becky has striven to encourage economic develop of the region in authentic and respectful ways.
Becky was the founding director of HandMade in America, which works to implement environmentally sustainable economic solutions that emphasize the craft industry, enhance opportunities in the marketplace and develop entrepreneurial strategies for the region’s artisans.
Prior to HandMade she served as Director of Economic Development for The Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Director of Community Development for Land of Sky Regional Council and Director of Economic Development for The City of Asheville.
I was most struck by her stories of working within communities. What stands out as she talks is her care for the people of Western North Carolina. Her approach to economic development was as an inspirational leader skilled at bringing people together to solve common problems for a greater good.
The revitalization of downtown Asheville and small towns throughout the region has been key to our community’s growth as a tourism destination. Through her work on the Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina and other projects that build on our region’s strengths, Becky has played a key role in that growth.
We could have spent all day wondering through the Arboretum’s gardens talking about what use to be and how people came together to create thriving communities. Watch the video for a glimpse of those conversations.
-Erin Leonard, Director of Communications