Erika is the founding director of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA), a nationally-recognized program that places local high school students in prestigious summer internships and provides year-round leadership development through community service. Since its inception in 2007, Erika has worked with more than 100 Asheville High School students, the vast majority of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Erika is a graduate of the Georgetown University Institute of Public Policy, and credits her mother Polly – who recently retired from a 40-year-career as a child advocate – as her lifelong role model.
Nancy moved to Asheville in 1994 after graduating from The University of Richmond with a B.A. in Psychology. In 1997 she completed her graduate work with a M.A.Ed. in School Counseling. Following an internship at Sand Hill Venable Elementary and 3 years working as a school counselor at Brevard Elementary, Nancy changed careers by buying The Baggie Goose, a paper and stationery store in Biltmore Village. Ten years later Nancy left the paper store and is currently active as a full time mom to her 3 daughters and as an OpenDoors volunteer.
Scott Wilkerson received his M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee and worked for Ford Motor Co. as a Zone Manager before starting his own business. Today he is a partner in TDC Capital, a private investment firm specializing in automobile dealerships, including Harmony Motors. Scott says, “I was drawn to the mission of OpenDoors because I believe creating opportunities and equality for all kids is our duty.”
Scott continues his search for “real happiness” for himself and for many others and promotes a business model that reflects his philosophy of giving and awareness. He draws from the work of M. Scott Peck, Lou Tice, Steven Covey, Tony Robbins, Peter Senge, and Bill Shore, and helps OpenDoors to build a stronger Asheville along side his wife Linda and four children.
Matt has worked for both small and large companies in the areas of business development, marketing, and sales. He has served on several private company boards focused on biotechnology and life science research. Matt strongly believes in OpenDoors and that the secret to a better life for children is through better education and more opportunity. Too many of our kids are left behind and are not provided the appropriate tools to succeed in life. “If we can meet these needs, we will have an everlasting impact.”
Eric earned an Associate’s of Science degree from Georgia Military College, a Bachelors of Social Work from Mars Hill College, a Masters of Social Work from the University of South Carolina, and is currently working toward a Doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He has worked in all spectrums of the social work field, from early childhood to older adults. His areas of interest are issues of diversity and culturally relevant teaching strategies, with a goal of bringing all communities together by empowering our youth and creating more tolerant and respectful communities. He believes in the power of education and knows that when you have high expectations, culturally relevant teaching strategies, and respect and dignity for all students, then EVERY student has a chance at realizing their dreams.
Erin’s hometown is Louisville, KY. He received a BA from the University of Richmond, in Economics and Spanish, and graduated from the University of Montana Law School. Erin came to Asheville in 2009 to become a staff attorney at Pisgah Legal Services with the HEALS Project, and has also worked for the Legal Aid of North Carolina.
Erin was previously a high school All-American soccer player and played professional soccer from 1999-2001. He is fluent in Spanish and has lived abroad in Bolivia and Spain and traveled extensively. When he’s not changing lives through his work, Erin enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and playing soccer.
Libby is a native of Asheville and graduated from Asheville High. She has a bachelors in Elementary Education from Western Carolina and a Masters in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University. Libby serves on the board of OpenDoors because it fits her personal philosophy of nurturing the whole child. In August 2014 she became a founding member of YTL Training Programs, Youth Transformed for Life!
Denise and her family moved to Asheville in 2001, after living in Atlanta for 15 years. She is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for RHA, a health services company that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues.
Denise is a committed volunteer with Asheville City Schools where she has served on the ACS Foundation Board, Positive Behavior Support Team at AMS, and various PTO and sports “team Mom” positions. Denise credits her public-educator parents with instilling her desire to help all children succeed and says that she strongly believes in the Mission of OpenDoors, and is grateful for the relationship with her OpenDoors “extended family”.
Theo is originally from Columbia SC where he also went to college, and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He moved to Asheville in 2013 to continue his career as a Network Engineer for Verizon Wireless. Theo got involved in OpenDoors because of his interest in showing kids with limited opportunities how much they can achieve given the right tools and support, and he strongly believes in what Open Doors stands for. Though Theo recently relocated to Charlotte, he continues to serve on the board and provide support for our young men who are college bound.