2017-2018 YPA BOARD

Meet your current Young Professionals of Asheville board members!

Jonathan Hunter

President

12647325_10153950524092386_5934610357437148743_nBorn and raised in Asheville, Jonathan attended Asheville High School and Belmont Abbey College outside of Charlotte NC, graduating with a BS in Business Administration.  He began his professional career working with Skyline Properties as a real estate appraiser and eventually formed his own firm, J.A. Hunter, Inc.  In 2013, Jonathan switched gears and moved to the brokerage side of the real estate business. He joined Keller Williams Professional Realty as the Lead Sales Professional for the Streppa Team.  In 2015, Jonathan formed the Asheville and Associates team at Keller Williams and has been a multi-million dollar producer since starting the team.

Jonathan is a true Ashevillian who resides in Haw Creek with his wife, Karen Edey, a recent PharmD graduate from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy satellite program at UNCA. He is also dedicated to several area organizations and sits on the Board of Directors with the Young Professionals Asheville, Green Opportunities, and the Agent Leadership Council at Keller Williams.

 

O.E. Starnes

Immediate Past President

A723207_O_E__Starnes_v1_0-1A native of Asheville, NC, O.E. spent 10 years working around the globe specializing in institutional asset management and securities trading.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, O.E. served as the Director of Marketing & Investor Relations for JL Squared Group, LLC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Cornerstone Acquisition & Management Company, LLC in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. From 2006-2008 O.E. was part of a small team of professionals that founded and successfully launched the first Middle Eastern domiciled hedge fund management firm within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as Director of Marketing & Investor Relations for Argent Financial Group International, LLP and was subsequently appointed to the Firm’s Executive Committee. From 2003 – 2005 he worked as an Institutional Sales Trader & Market Maker specializing in convertible securities for McMahan Securities Co. LP in Greenwich, CT.

O.E. is a graduate of Asheville High School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Megan Allustiarti

Secretary

Megan received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, and moved to the Asheville area in 2011 after finishing up a contract at the University of Seville in Spain. Megan has worked in banking since shortly after her arrival, and is passionate about economic development in Asheville, working with small business and commercial customers to support their business needs, whether it’s a startup or business expansion.

Megan is an active hotline volunteer with Helpmate and enjoys finding the time to organize corporate outreach events to Helpmate and Manna Foodbank. She is also an avid runner, leading her team to win their division of the Asheville Chamber 5K. Megan can’t wait to see how Asheville will continue to grow in the years to come.

Melody Isis Herman

Professional Development Co-Chair

image2It is both Melody’s personal and professional mission to help others thrive and connect! She believes key pieces of professional development are linking one another to opportunities for growth and encouraging stronger bonds. 

As an entrepreneur, young professional, and 1 Million Cups Asheville Organizer, she is tapped into the pulse of the fast growing startup and business community.  She is passionate about helping others utilize the incredible resources available in the city of Asheville in order to learn, enhance personal and business relationships, introduce talent to new opportunities, and expand the young professional network. 

She says, “We are all in this together; by supporting one another in life and business, it is only then that we can truly make an impact!  As Professional Development Co-Chair, it is my honor to assist in driving this mission forward in any way I can.”

Melody is deeply involved in her family’s business; Pine Street Insurance, and Insurance Specialties, Inc. as a Broker and Director of the Small Business & Startup Division, and is the Founder and Entrepreneur’s Agent for Pop Benefits.

Carol Steen

Membership Co-Chair

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Carol Steen has served on the YPA board since 2012. She has held various roles, including Membership Chair, Vice President, President, Past President, and now in her last year as Membership Chair. Carol is the Director of Human Resources for the Mountain Area Health Education Center, Inc. in Asheville. Her involvement in YPA is fueled by her desire to continually support the local workforce and enhance the Young Professional experience in Asheville.
Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Management and Society from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA with double‐concentrations in Financial and Services Consulting Management from North Carolina State University’s College of Management. In addition, Ms. Steen completed coursework for a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Duke University. She became certified as a Professional in Human Resources in 2011 through the Human Resources Certification Institute and received her SHRM-CP in 2015 from the Society of Human Resources Management. She has been featured in the Triangle Business Journal as a 2009 MBA Game Changer and more recently, she was listed on Verve Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 List and Biltmore Beacon’s Top 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders. In addition to YPA, Carol serves on various non-profit boards in the community, including the WNC Human Resources Association, WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition, and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gabe Offermann

Community Service Co-Chair

Gabe Offerman grew up in and around the multi-cultural fast-paced city of Chicago and went to college in Greenville, SC for 6 years where he earned both a bachelor’s degree in Accounting (with a minor in Psychology)(’10) and an M.B.A. (12’) with a focus on Intraprenuership. Before and during his college career Gabe spent a few years working in accounting within manufacturing companies in the greater Chicago area: Food and Steel manufacturing. After graduation, the mountains of Western North Carolina called drawing him to Asheville with its cultural, fair-paced life and foodie scene to start his post-graduation business career while being able to join a Church re-plant in Arden. Starting at Jim Barkley Toyota in 2012, Gabe worked in the Accounting department learning to assist in keeping the books eventually learning about dealership I.T. administration along with e-Commerce web-copy and online inventory uniting to provide a quality brand representation. In 2014, as a side gig, Gabe had the opportunity to work more in-depthly in coordinating back office e-commerce integration and branding with writing much of the original web-copy for Barkley’s Mill on Southern Cross – an Appalachian Grown Certified company recently featured in Southern Living magazine after winning a best food award. Most recently Gabe transitioned into Internet Sales Management with the Anderson Automotive Group while still serving at their Asheville are Toyota dealership (formerly Jim Barkley Toyota). When he makes room for down-time you’ll find Gabe trying out new restaurants, learning by listening to books, watching most things sci-fi, helping at Church and participating in community service events. Always looking to learn and serve. Have fun keeping up!

Trent Hall

Vice President

Trent Hall was born and raised in the great southern city and state of Birmingham, Alabama. Both his entrepreneurial parents and brother continue to work and live in his home town and visit Asheville regularly.

Upon his graduation from Auburn University, Trent worked in the financial industry for many years and after great success finally decided that it was time for him to follow his true passion and experience the real estate industry first hand. In 2013 Trent moved to Asheville, North Carolina and met his beautiful wife, Amy with whom he has a son, Elliot. Before Elliot’s birth in 2015 Trent and his wife fostered two children through Buncombe county DSS. While they are not currently fostering, they maintain their licenses so that they may be available when their family is ready to love another child in need, likely after their son grows a little older.

In his spare time, Trent enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, mountain biking, riding his motorcycles, piloting airplanes and traveling to new places. He loves being both a listing and buyer’s agent because he knows that selling or purchasing a home can be positively life changing for most people and he enjoys sharing the experience during such a joyous and exciting time in peoples’ lives! Trent is also a real estate investor with a growing business portfolio and owns several residential properties in his hometown in Alabama.

 

Natalie Ray

Social Co-Chair

IMG_4014 copyNatalie Ray is the Marketing and Professional Relationships Director for Asheville Periodontics.

In 2014, Natalie moved to Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, Justin, a musician that plays both locally and internationally, and teaches Jazz at UNC Asheville.

Natalie and Justin fell in love with the arts and culture of Asheville, and decided it was the perfect place to settle in and raise a family.   They welcomed their first son, Wyatt, in 2014 and are expecting their second son in early spring this year.

Natalie is in her second year serving as Co-Chair of the Social committee on the YPA board.

Zeno Lancaster

Social Co-Chair

A native to western North Carolina, Zeno was born in Asheville and raised in nearby Canton.  He attended Pisgah High, before obtaining a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, class of 2004.  As planned since he was fifteen or so, Zeno went on to become an attorney, obtaining his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, FL, in 2007.  Zeno is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, the American Bar Association, The North Carolina Bar Association, the Asheville Downtown Association, Young Professionals of Asheville, the 28th District Bar, the Buncombe County Chamber of Commerce, and counting.

Zeno currently lives in downtown Asheville with his sweet mutt, Daisy.  He enjoys the many festivals, restaurants, musicians, artists, and people that make up this jewel in the mountains.  He is very close with his family and enjoys spending time with his nieces and nephews and nearby family members. You might find Zeno around town at various restaurants and breweries. He is somewhat of a nerd – loving Star Wars, 80’s music, and all things James Bond. He’s also a sports fan, supporting his UNC Tar Heels and other teams.

Erica Canada

Social Co-Chair

After graduation college I traveled the country as a rafting and ski photographer. I lived in some of the most beautiful spots in the country; Vermont, Alaska and Crested Butte, CO. I resided in CO for the past 6 years running the photography company on the mountain. The Carolina’s have always been home so after my nephew was born I decided to come home to my roots. I moved to Asheville a little over a year ago and work as the Event Coordinator for the Asheville Home Builders Association. 

Michael Diettrich-Chastain

Membership Co-Chair

Michael Diettrich-Chastain is founder Arc Integrated, an independent Organizational Consulting and Professional Coaching firm. Through a focus on emotional intelligence, leadership and communication, Arc Integrated aims to empower individuals and organizations to achieve optimum performance and true sustainable change.

Michael has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish as well as a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Michael is a Licensed Professional Counselor in North Carolina. In addition to his background and experience in psychology, Michael is also a Certified Communication Coach as well as a trained facilitator in the Advanced Insights Profile, Actualized Leadership Profile and Group Culture Profile.

Austin Pullicin

Membership Co-Chair

Austin began his professional career in 2014 at Northwestern Mutual here in his hometown, Asheville, North Carolina. Over the past 3 years, his priorities have been to grow his business while continuing to further his financial education. He recently was awarded the CLU designation after completing the required courses and exams. His next priority is to pass the CFP exam. Helping to bring financial structure and knowledge to the community is the heart of his work and the meaning behind his business. On the weekends, he and his wife, Kathleen, enjoy going new places, drinking new beers and taking in the endless, local beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.