Self-Help Shares

Bringing it Home in Asheville

By Jane Hatley and Mary Moore
  | Oct 19, 2017

Attendees at Bringing it Home Conference

Left to Right: Dewana Little of Self-Help, Marta Alcala-Williams, Jane Hatley of Self-Help and Annice Brown, small business consultant.

For the third year running, Self-Help Credit Union held the “Bringing it Home” conference in Asheville, North Carolina. The event brings together a diverse set of community advocates and entrepreneurs who care about building a local economy that works for everyone. This year’s conference attracted 160 attendees, ranging from Asheville’s mayor, Esther Manheimer, to teenagers aspiring to become successful entrepreneurs.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Connecting the Dots.” Self-Help’s Jane Hatley, Western Regional Director and conference organizer, said, “We wanted to create a forum where people working on common goals can come together to be inspired and begin to spark creative ways to collaborate.  The focus was on how we can build on our individual strengths while also drawing on the strengths of the community.” 

Panel on 'Built Environment Projects'

Marisol Jimenez of Tepayec Consulting, Jessie Maxwell of Self-Help, and Chris Joyell of the Asheville Design Center on the panel on "Built Environment Projects."

A moment on the panel entitled 'Our Youth, Our Future

Marta Alcala-Williams of the Asheville City Schools and Doriyan Johnson, a teenager entrepreneur, share a moment on the panel entitled "Our Youth, Our Future."

Workshops and panels at the conference covered a variety of topics, including the unique challenges and successes of entrepreneurs who are also people of color. Participants also heard about project funding, the results of a local economic development study, and the particular role of youth in economic development. The day included performances by a local spoken-word youth group, "Word on the Street." 

The keynote speaker, Deena Hayes Greene, one of the founding managers of the Racial Equity Institute, presented an overview of the racial inequities embedded in many of our societal structures and systems.  The day was capped by an optional opportunity to enjoy a tour of traditional African-American neighborhoods conducted by Hood Huggers International.

The conference was held at the historic YMI Cultural Center of Asheville. Self-Help is grateful to all who participated, and to the more than 20 partners who provided direct support for this event.

Check out the following photos taken by Franzi Charen, a founder of Asheville Grown Business Alliance. You can see many more photos of the event at

Keynote Speaker Deena Hayes-Greene

Deena Hayes-Greene, Managing Director of the Racial Equity Institute.

Lunch was served by local caterers.

Lunch was served by a “cornucopia” of local caterers.

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