Jim Bowers: Chairperson

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College, Jim began his career as an analyst with First Union Securities in the Capital Markets Group. In 2001, he progressed to the Fixed Income trading floor of Wachovia Securities, with the Investment Grade Origination Group. Looking for an opportunity to work with individual investors, he moved to Asheville to join A.G. Edwards & Sons in 2007. Desiring the industry’s greatest resources available for his clients, he joined Merrill Lynch in 2015.

Jim participates in many of Serve To LEAD’s Asheville youth programs and joined our international service team to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2018. Jim feels one of the most rewarding benefits of Serve to LEAD is seeing the changes in the children involved.

Since volunteering his time with Serve to LEAD he says his life has forever been changed. “I’ve worked with other non-profit organizations throughout my life and have not had one change my life in a way like Serve to LEAD. I’ve been inspired and motivated. I believe the leadership and structure of Serve to LEAD to be the source. I believe this organization has created a unique culture that starts with helping our kids, in our community, to understand greater challenges around the world and take action, thus creating young leaders. STL is a stand alone non-profit on the cover, but in the story, it is a non-profit that helps the Asheville community while helping other communities around the world. That is something I want to be a part of.”

Jim and his wife Elizabeth currently live in Swannanoa with their two children Lily and Beau.

Lesli Hollowell: Secretary

Lesli moved to Asheville in 1990.  She studied at DePauw University and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Communications.

As a member of Central United Methodist Church in Asheville, Lesli has served as Chair of the Administrative Board, Chair of Central’s United Methodist Women and co-chair of the Missions Council.  For over 16 years she has been delivering hot meals for Meals On Wheels.  Two months each summer, she and her husband open their home to six college students who come to Asheville to serve as Carolina Cross Connection mission project team leaders. Lesli has participated on medical and construction mission projects in the U. S., Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka.

Lesli works part time as a bookkeeper for Haywood Street Congregation.

Bradford D. Burlingham

Brad has lived in Asheville over 20 years and I work professionally as a CPA. He has enjoyed serving with several non-profits in the area, including:

President of Dominican Crossroads USA. Partnering with others in Asheville and Atlanta, I have led and helped to administer annual mission trips to the Dominican Republic since 2005. In addition, I have helped other organizations and donors to participate in work with the poor in the DR, including feeding programs, medical ministries, construction ministries, prison ministry, and a scholarship program.

Treasurer of Western North Carolina Medical Society Foundation, which seeks to improve access to healthcare in the counties of western North Carolina. (current)

Asheville Christian Academy – served as Board Member and sometime Treasurer from 2013-2015 and 2006-2012.

Bethany Christian Services (Adoption and family services) – Board member, 2009-2010.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tulane University and an MBA from Emory University. He attends Trinity Presbyterian Church, and is married to his wife of 31 years and has two children and one grandchild.

Blake Wagner

Blake Wagner is one of the founders of JESUS missions, an international mission service organization dedicated to providing mission service opportunities for youth and families . He has organized and led multiple service trips to the Dominican Republic since 2003, with the latest in 2016.

Blake currently serves on the board of Dominican Republic U.S.A.

He has worked with a multitude of local community organizations including ABCCM and Homeward Bound.

Blake has been an International flight attendant for American Airlines since 1978 and is the managing director of Living H2O Holdings which owns and develops residential neighborhoods in Asheville and the US Virgin Islands. He also is the managing director of Atlantic Wave which owns and manages low income housing providing a path to permanent housing for the homeless here in Asheville. Blake has lived in Fairview since 1997.

Jody Halstead

Jody is a native of Western North Carolina. She graduated from Western Carolina University with a BSN and enjoyed a career in nursing for 30 years. Her last position in nursing was at Haywood Street Respite where she served as the first program manager. In 2015, she left the nursing profession to finally respond to a call to be a pastor. Currently she serves as pastor of the Sardis /Reeves Chapel United Methodist Churches, two small vibrant churches who are committed to transforming the world through action and relationships. For the past 12 years she co-leads a Bible study at the Buncombe County Detention Center. She is passionate about and committed to social justice.

Eric Stoneman

Eric is a native of Greensboro, NC and a graduate of North Carolina State University. For the past 15 years he has held management roles in private golf communities and for the last 10 years, he was the Director for Champion Hills Property Owners Association in Hendersonville, NC. Eric has been with Merrill Lynch for the past 3 years.

Eric joined Serve To LEAD because he is supports the mission of the organization to increase youth leadership and decrease poverty in our local area and around the globe. In his free time, Eric enjoys golf, hunting, baseball and spending time with his family.

Karen Walter

A native of Iowa, Dr. Walter is a graduate of the University of Iowa. She earned her medical degree at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in California and completed her pediatric internship and residency at Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Following her residency, Dr. Walter was drawn to the mountain culture of Asheville and joined Mountain Area Pediatrics in the summer of 1999.

At the practice, she loves watching the children grow and be successful. “Children inspire me every day, and their parents are amazing,” Dr. Walter says. “Mountain Area Pediatrics’ loving, caring nature makes it a pleasure to work here.”

She and her husband, Mark, have raised two children in Asheville and relish in the adventure sports the area offers. Section hiking the Appalachian Trail, cycling, kayaking, skiing and hang gliding are some of her choice outdoor quests. Dr. Walter finds great fulfillment in being a mother, volunteering with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, and serving as faculty member at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Our Executive Director

Learn more about Jessica Tripp, here.