Resources for Resilience Leadership Team



Ann DuPre Rogers

Ann DuPre Rogers

Executive Director

Michelle Tyler

Michelle Tyler

Director of Operations

Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole

Program Director

MC Ellis

MC Ellis

Implementation Specialist

Madeline Ortiz

Madeline Ortiz

Program Coordinator


Coming soon!


Kerry A. Friedman, Board Chair

Resources for Resilience Board of Directors, Kerry Friedman

Kerry A. Friedman serves as the Resources for Resilience™ Board Chair. An Asheville native, he has practiced law with the firm of Patla Straus Robinson & Moore in Asheville since 1980 and specializes in business and non-profit law.

Kerry has chaired the Boards of a number of prominent organizations, including those of Pisgah Legal Services, Legal Services of NC, United Way of Asheville-Buncombe County, CarePartners Health Services, the CarePartners Foundation, Congregation Beth Ha Tephila, the Jewish Community Center of Asheville, and the WNC Jewish Federation. He also served as the Secretary-Treasurer for the 28th Judicial District Bar from 1984 to 1986.

In addition to his Board leadership experience, Kerry has also served as a Board member for the UNC Asheville Foundation, the Community Foundation of WNC, Meals on Wheels of Asheville/Buncombe County, Caring for Children, Carolina Day School, and the YMCA of Western North Carolina.

Evan Richardson, Board Secretary

Resources for Resilience Board of Directors, Evan Richardson 

Evan Richardson serves currently as the Board Secretary for Resources for Resilience™. She is also the Director of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at Mountain Area Health Education Center. Evan has worked in healthcare for more than 25 years as a nurse, midwife, and administrator.  She is passionate about resiliency work and its role in individual and community health and wellbeing.

Laura Jeffords, Board Teasurer

Resources for Resilience Board of Directors, Laura Jeffords

Laura Jeffords serves as the Resources for Resilience™ Board Treasurer. She is the Executive Director of the Mediation Center, a nonprofit that provides conflict resolution and supervised visitation services in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, and Polk Counties, including re-entry mediation at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women. Laura has been a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Community Mediation since 2012. She has a Master’s in Public Affairs from Western Carolina University, where she is an adjunct faculty member teaching Nonprofit Leadership and Sustainability. Laura is especially interested in programs that tap into the power of communities to solve problems using internal resources. 

Noreal Armstrong, Board Member

Dr. Noreal Armstrong earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s CACREP-accredited program; she is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LMHCS), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S, TX). Dr. Armstrong has taught secondary and postsecondary students, in addition to owning a private counseling practice; she also has a passion for working with the deaf population. Dr. Armstrong demonstrates her passion through service work, presentations, and workshops on today’s current issues.

Noreal is the Department Chair of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Montreat College. During her time at Montreat, she has been instrumental is attaining CACREP accreditation, restructuring the course delivery format, and creating new master’s programs. Dr. Armstrong has served the counseling profession for eleven years and, in that time, she has over 30 professional presentations at the local, state, and national level. She has three peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and numerous newsletter publications. Dr. Armstrong is active in her community, providing mental health training and services to local churches.

She is an active member in the following organizations: American Counseling Association (ACA), Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES), and the North Carolina Counseling Association (NCCA). As member of these organizations, she has served in leadership roles. Dr. Armstrong currently serves as AMCD Vice President of the Women’s Concern Group and was AMCD secretary for the 2019-2020 year. In February of 2020, Noreal was awarded Administrator of the Year by NCCA, recognizing her many accomplishments as Department Chair.

Dr. Armstrong has a strong research agenda in the areas of multiculturalism, deaf populations, substance abuse, adolescent development, and women in the professorate. She is passionate about advocacy, mentoring, and educating future counselors. Noreal believes mentorship is key to her success and the success of those new to the profession. Dr. Armstrong uses her platform to share knowledge, tips, and networks for the next generation of counselors. She is very active in the community, serving as an Advisory Committee Member for the non-profit organization, A Therapist Like Me, and is a Resource for Resilience Board member.

Beth Fountain, Board Member

Dr. Beth Fountain has lived in the Asheville area since 2008, fulfilling her dream of returning to the mountains where she was born. She has enjoyed a long career in audiology and deaf education. Hiking, church volunteer work, gardening, and fixing up her older home are her current interests. To date, she has participated in 10 audiology/deaf education related mission trips from Nepal to Kenya to Haiti. Beth is excited about her involvement in Resources for Resilience because of the life-altering impact it has for those who have endured acute childhood trauma.

Dawa Hitch, Board Member

Resources for Resilience Board of Directors, Dawa Hitch

Dawa Hitch leads the City of Asheville’s award-winning Communication and Public Engagement (CAPE) team where she has the opportunity to put her passion for community decision-making to work. With national and state awards in Citizen Participation, Video Production, Marketing Efforts, the City’s employee website and the City’s external news blog, the CAPE team integrates communication and engagement efforts across the organization.

Prior to joining the City, Dawa facilitated Strategic Planning in the private sector and led communication and community engagement in the fields of Natural Resource Management, Sustainable Communities and Education with a focus on underserved communities.

In addition to the RFR Board, Dawa serves on the Program Development Team for Leadership Asheville. She is also a member of the International Association of Public Participation and the City County Communication and Marketing Association.

Joseph Jamison, Board Member

Joseph Jamison recently joined the team at the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County as Equity and Network Development Specialist. He spent the last 10 years working alongside youth and their families in a variety of settings across western North Carolina. Joseph is a proud graduate Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and holds both a business degree and Master’s in Public Affairs from Western Carolina University. He enjoys spending his time off from his work in the community by exploring the outdoors with his wife and son. 

Aisha Shepherd, Board Member

Resources for Resilience Board of Directors, Aisha Shepherd 

A native of Asheville, NC, Aisha Shepherd is a proud employee of Buncombe County. She serves currently as a team liaison and facilitator and is a member of the Community Engagement Team. Her experience as a social worker spans 13 years, and she continues to use her passion for social work and community advancement to impact the lives of children and families in her community.