2022 Leadership Awards

June 22, 2022

Small Business Leader of the Year, presented by HomeTrust Bank.

The Small Business Leader of the Year Awards program recognizes two individuals who clearly reflect quality and dedication in the operation of business in the Asheville area and illustrate accomplishments in leadership including innovation, initiative and civic responsiveness.

Fewer than 20 employees: Molly de Mattos – The Matt and Molly Real Estate Team with Keller Williams.

Molly is one half of The Matt and Molly Real Estate Team with Keller Williams. She and Matt Tavener teamed up in 2011 and lead a team of 16. Molly stands out as a small business leader for her commitment to others – giving back to the community in numerous ways, serving as a mentor and coaching prospective agents as Dean of KSCORE – a free program of Keller Williams School of Real Estate. Award Video for Molly de Mattos

More than 20 Employees: Meherwan Irani of Spicewalla.

Spicewalla grew out of Meherwan’s restaurant enterprises at Chai Pani as he was looking to improve the supply chain of fresh spices. Now, the company provides high-quality spices for restaurants and home cooks. Award Video for Meherwan Irani

Family Business of the Year, presented by the UNC Asheville Family Business Forum.

The Family Business of the Year Award recognizes a family-owned business for their contributions to the community and success as a family-owned enterprise.

This year’s award goes to Jesse Israel and Sons Nursery & Garden Center. Jesse Israel and sons David and Lonnie started the family-run garden center more than 50 years ago on land that had been in the family since the 1700s. The garden center moved to its present location at the WNC Farmers’ Market 40 years ago. And now has Alan Israel at the helm alongside his uncle David. Award Video for Jesse Israel and Sons Nursery and Garden Center

President’s Award, presented by First Bank.

The President’s Award recognizes those who have given their time and talents beyond the call of duty. This year’s award goes to the Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign volunteers. Known as the TRC, this group of volunteers secures sponsorship and advertising commitments that enable the Chamber to execute its mission. This year this incredible team reached a record $1.1 million in commitments. President’s Award Video

Excellence in Public Service, presented by Mission Health.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the community through involvement, service or motivation to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Buncombe County.

This year we honor Jean Webb. Jean was a life-long advocate for the conservation of the French Broad River and a champion of safe public access to the river. Jean passed away in March but her vision lives on. Award Video about Jean Webb