Meet SPARC’s Board Chair – Lissa Brown

Above – Lissa Brown with SPARC’s ED, Jackie Latek
Below – Post Board meeting fun with Board Treasurer, Veronica Edwards + new SPARC swag! 


What brought you to Western North Carolina?
In 2016 I was looking for a next good place to live. After visiting Asheville as a possibility, I was immediately drawn to the mountain surroundings, climate, and eclectic community of people living here. The calling was secured by finding a beautiful property in Marshall NC which was actually affordable (a thing of the past). I packed my bags and left WV and have never regretted it.

You have shared your love for the great outdoors with us – where are some of your favorite local spots?
There seems to be no end to great local spots to explore! I hike almost every day because my home is near the Sandy Mush Gamelands which provides endless acres of exploration. I like to find the hidden trails that are not popular with tourists. I love a good paddle on the Green River, a bike ride along the French Broad, or a day skiing at Cataloochee.

How did you learn about SPARC, what keeps you stepping up for service and what are your hopes as Board Chair this year?
I learned about SPARC after attending the SPARC After Dark event in 2019. I was so impressed by the organization, its people, and the work they were doing that I wanted to be a part of it, so I asked to join the Board of Directors.
    SPARCs programs are filling such a needed niche in our community and this work is critical to the health and wellbeing of our local community. As the Board Chair my hopes this year are on sustainable growth of the organization. SPARC has increased capacity significantly in the past year and this increase leverages more potential outreach and impact in our area and the outlying counties in need. Fundraising and financial opportunities are a big part of securing and maintaining this goal.

Careerwise, you’ve had wonderfully diverse experiences – from early childhood education and school administration to founding a coffee shop and working with an environmentally focused nonprofit. What would you say that list of careers tells us about you and what you care about?
   Yes, I have done many things, but all roads lead to being a part of a positive impact on the planet and the people. My story is one of caring about the environment, creating community and healthy belonging, and nurturing all these things. My current career is grounded in the belief that excellent education is key to building a better society and influencing positive change.

How would you describe a dream day in Western North Carolina?
 My dream day is watching the sunrise from my home, pulling up a map of nearby trails and wilderness areas over a good cup of coffee and picking a new place to explore. The evening might include a meet-up with friends at a local brewery (I’m partial to Zillicoah) and a great show at Salvage Station. I kind of think that everyday here in WNC is a dream day no matter what it holds. 

Thanks for your time and service, Lissa!