I am a 3rd generation native of Asheville, with a deep love for my city and the tenacity to influence positive changes for disenfranchised communities. I am passionate about strengthening and empowering the marginalized communities of Asheville and Buncombe County. I am currently the Marketing and Administrative Associate for Self-Help Credit Union, where I have developed several community development programs: Wealth building, Faithful communities, and Successful Transitions. I worked as the Water Quality Educator and Community Engagement Coordinator at Asheville GreenWorks for 4yrs prior to my current job. During my time at Asheville GreenWorks, I developed and managed the Youth Environmental Leadership Program, which is a paid internship for marginalized youth. YELP in its 4th year and had grown from a 5 intern summer program to a 20 intern year around program. I was a major advocate for recycling access for low income communities which resulted in the implementation of recycling in 5 public housing developments within the city. I am the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Green Opportunities, the Co- founder of Positive Changes Youth Ministries, a member of the COA’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, New Economies Coalition, a member of the Board of Directors for the YMI Cultural Center, and NAACP. I was also the Chair of the COA’s Blue Ribbon Committee that was tasked with the development of the Human Relations Commission.
My vision for Asheville is for this city to become a model for the nation of what “Equity and Inclusion” more specifically “Racial Equity and Inclusion” looks like in every category. A city that lives the definition “A state in which all people in a given society share equal rights and opportunities”, “Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares Power”. The ABCLT is a step in the right direction and I am committed to seeing the vision realized.
This board appointment will enable me to further my work with marginalized communities to address the affordable housing issues that is quickly gentrifying POC out of the city. It will also allow me to strengthen existing relationships and develop new ones to support the vision of the ABCLT. In this position I will be gaining new skills while expanding on existing ones to further empower community. I will be able to continue to work with community on wealth building through housing and improved living standards. All of this goes to helping me to achieve my long-term goal of “Having a positive Impact on a million lives, plus”.
Ms. Kyles is the mother of an eight year old daughter. Libby graduated from Western Carolina University in 2000 and received her bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a minor in psychology. Receiving her National Board Certification in 2011, she graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2013 with a masters degree in Educational Leadership. In August 2014 she became a founding member of YTL Training Programs, Youth Transformed for Life, an organization that has provided summer programming for 12-19 year olds for the past 5 years, after school programming for Middle and high school students for the past two years and began summer programming for girls ages 8-12 this year. Ms Kyles has also been a teacher in Asheville City Schools for the past 14 years.
Ms Banks is a lifelong resident of Western North Carolina, coming from several generations of Buncombe County natives. Graduating from AC Reynolds High School with high honors, Ms Banks has been involved in recent years with the struggle for affordable housing in Asheville.
A board member since December 2020, she first joined ABCLT in November of 2019. She began attending board meetings and volunteering with the Community Relations Committee and Governance Committee before being voted onto the board.
In addition to serving on the Board of the community land trust, she is a member of the Asheville City’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, which advises the City Council on policies and projects revolving around affordable housing for Asheville residents. She is also a member of Just Economics of WNC, where she sits on the Policy and Advocacy Committee and part of the Affordable Housing Strategy Team. Additionally, she has previous experience with organizations like Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Real Asheville Initiative and is a regular attendee of city council meetings.
Personally, Ms Banks has experience with the housing crisis in Asheville. As a single woman on disability, she has experienced extended homelessness on multiple occasions. She has had to navigate the difficult, and at times dangerous, housing situation in Asheville. Her dedication to pursuing affordable housing policy with a focus on equity is rooted in a personal understanding of the real cost of this issue.
Ms Banks is excited to join the community land trust in seeking innovative solutions to the housing crisis in her community.
Born and raised in Asheville, NC. Graduate of Asheville High School, attended UNC-Asheville.
Employed by Change Healthcare-Pharmacy Enrollment Representative
President of East End Valley Street Neighborhood Association
City of Asheville Volunteer of the year 2018
1st Vice Chair of Precinct 1
President of St.James AME Lay Organization
Steward Board member of St.James AME Church
Member of Women for Change with Change Healthcare
Former Faith Ambassador Consultant for Democracy NC
Former 2nd Vice Chair for the Democratic Party
Voter registration education Coordinator
Former Western NC District Coordinator Lay Organization
Board member of the Rosa Walker Educational Initiative
Former member of the Stephen’s Lee Advisory Board
Board Member Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust
Nicole graduated with a BA in an Art Therapy concentration in 2004 from Eckerd College. Since 2004 Nicole has worked in the nonprofit sector initially within organizations supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. From 2004-2010 Nicole held positions such as Art Teacher, Comprehensive Education Teacher, Community Services Coordinator, and Executive Director. Since 2010 the focus of Nicole’s nonprofit work has shifted toward working with women and families experiencing economic inequities. From 2010 to the present Nicole has held the position of Program Director for two organizations working primarily to support and enact individual, community based, and systems wide change and growth in the realms of health, food security, economic development, housing, and the justice system. Currently Nicole is serving as Program Director for Bountiful Cities, Asheville and Buncombe County’s urban agriculture resource organization.
David is a native of Waynesville, NC and currently works as an Attorney for Pisgah Legal Services. Before returning home to WNC, he worked with the Georgia Legal Services Program and Atlanta Legal Aid. David’s work focuses on housing law, administrative law, and community economic development. David has a Juris Doctorate, graduating Cum Laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he served as Executive Director of the UGA Law Public Interest Conference and clerked for the Honorable Steve C. Jones. David was appointed to the Citizens Transit Board in Richmond County and was a member of the Georgia Prison Re-Entry Initiative. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Western Carolina University and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Georgia Institute for Nonprofit Organizations.
Sasha Vrtunski is an Urban Planner with the City of Asheville. In her position she works in both long range and current planning and serves on the city owned property team. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she has lived in West Asheville for 19 years with her husband. They have a son who is currently at Asheville High.
Leonard is employed with Buncombe County Health and Human Services Finance. He enjoys photography, studying history, and spending time with family. As a lifelong resident of Asheville and a recent home buyer, Leonard understands the challenges of securing an affordable and safe home. His desire is to be a part of the solution to help residents and especially natives of Asheville to achieve home ownership.
Robert Thomas is a 33-year-old native of Asheville, N.C. He is an experienced Community Leader with a
knack for innovation, who centers his work around advocating for those most impacted by the inequities
of the Criminal Justice System. As a former Justice involved individual himself, he understands the
negative impacts and disparities faced by people of color in the carceral system. With over 10 years of
direct experience, Robert has now narrowed his focus to racial justice, decarceration, and activism
around police accountability. In addition, Robert is the newly named Community Liaison for the Racial
Justice Coalition of Asheville and a partner of a minority-owned Equity Consulting Firm.
Kieran has lived in Asheville and been executive director of the nonprofit Hendersonville-based conservation organization Conserving Carolina, and its predecessor the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), since 1999. As the CMLC’s first full-time staff person, Kieran helped grow the organization into a strong force for conservation in the region, one which prior to its consolidation with Pacolet Area Conservancy in July 2017 had protected over 34,000 acres in Henderson, Transylvania and parts of neighboring counties and had partnered with public agencies to create and expand places such as DuPont State Recreational Forest, Chimney Rock State Park and Pisgah National Forest. Kieran has a BA in Anthropology and MLS in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. He serves on the board of the Transylvania County Community Land Trust, the Mills River Partnership and the Buncombe County Land Conservation Advisory Board. He is also leading a partnership with the nonprofit Housing Assistance Corporation to create a conservation-friendly 40-unit workforce housing development in Polk County adjacent to a 300-acre nature park.
I am delighted to have worked 24 years with the US Government. In 1992, I served in the United States Air Force. Changing gears later into my current role as a Revenue Officer in 2014. I hold a Masters of Science in Business Management from Troy University. My collective experiences have been used as a platform to influence and connect others. I am excited about the volunteer work I have done with organizations such as the Association for the Improvement of Minorities at the IRS (AIM-IRS) Board Member; National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) General Member and CoThinkk – A Giving Circle and local grassroots organization. One of my most recent volunteer roles has been serving as a general board member with Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust (ABCLT) and Chair of the Community Relations committee. I am grateful for this opportunity to pay it forward by serving our local communities.