Kelly C. Shanafelt, Executive Director
Kelly Shanafelt brings 20 years of non-profit management and fundraising experience to WNC Superheroes. She has served as an Executive Director, Interim Executive Director, Development Director, and Program Manager in some fantastic non-profits throughout WNC, including the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, Asheville Community Theatre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Warren Wilson College, and MAHEC. She is also a consultant with Sims & Steele Consulting. Kelly has also served as a Board member for several organizations throughout the region, and currently serves on the Board of the WNC Association of Fundraising Professionals. “I am proud to have been working with WNC Superheroes since it began and am excited to continue working to grow this incredible organization. The mission of WNC Superheroes is close to my heart. We all need a hero at some point in our lives, and we can all be a hero to someone else!”
Board of Directors
Tyler Brisbon, Founder, Board President
Tyler has worked as a professional pilot for 30 years, Tyler worked in the community as a Guardian ad Litem for seven years and has volunteered in the Prevention, Education, and Outreach Program at Our VOICE, Asheville’s rape crisis center. Mr. Brisbon is passionate about helping families and preventing a short-term crisis from becoming a long-term problem.
Monica Antonazzo, Board Member
Monica has worked with non-profits off and on for 18 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University in Women’s Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Western Carolina University. She served in the peace Corps in South Africa from 2006-2008 in the HIV/AIDS Community Group Capacity Building Project. Formerly, she was the Director of Prevention, Education, and Outreach at Our VOICE, Asheville’s rape crisis center. She has taught at Western Carolina University, AB Tech, and Carolina Day School. She is currently the Executive Director of Horizons at Carolina Day School. Horizons is a summer enrichment program for low-income families, held on the campus of Carolina Day. Monica is passionate about helping people with limited economic means access education and other opportunities in order to make improvements in their lives and in the lives of their families. She is keenly aware that people’s basic needs must be met in order for them to focus on future goals. She looks forward to helping guide the mission of WNC Superheroes in harnessing the goodwill and generosity of the community to help families in their moment of greatest need.
Joe Barber, Board Member
Joe went to school, worked, and lived in Western North Carolina since 2001. During that time he has worked for the YMCA of Western North Carolina, in the insurance field, and most recently spent three years working in video and marketing for Bclip Productions. Currently, Joe is working to earn his teaching license from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and plans to begin teaching middle school social studies in the near future. Joe has enough energy and excitement to share with any and everyone he meets. Joe is passionate about working within his community in order to help those that need it most.
Cara Carlson, Board Member
Cara has worked as a Recreation Therapist (CTRS) for the past 17 years, and is the founder and facilitator of Low Cost AVL Area Happenings. It was initially started in 2014 to help a small group of Veterans find affordable leisure alternatives and has since expanded to assist the WNC community. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Illinois University in Recreation Administration, Therapeutic Recreation, and Psychology. While working on her degree, she worked and volunteered with multiple non-profit organizations. Since a young age, it has been her passion to help others. Whether that happens through giving her time, donating to an important cause, or connecting someone with a person or resource that can meet the need, she is ready and willing. While she loves her career, her dream job is to someday be a full-time volunteer. She currently volunteers with Heart of Horse Sense, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, and Asheville Humane Society. Cara has lived in the Asheville area since 2008. While born and raised in Northern Illinois, she has had a love for the Blue Ridge Mountains for years and is thankful to now call it home.
Stephanie Kelley, Board Member
Stephanie is an Early Childhood Professional with 15 years experience in the field. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and serves as the Center Director at Verner Center for Early Learning's East Campus. Stephanie's passion within Early Childhood Education lies in Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP). ERP was developed at Bank Street College in NYC by Lesley Koplow. Emotionally Responsive Practice is built on a deep understanding of child development, research on the effect of social and emotional experience on the developing brain, and the proven positive effects of working partnerships between educators and school-based clinicians. When she isn't working, Stephanie enjoys kayaking, crafting, spending time with friends and family, and camping. Stephanie lives in South Asheville with her husband Robert, 2 children Elliot (18) and Evangeline (10), and 2 Chihuahuas, Moose & Maggie. Stephanie is excited to join the board at WNC Superheroes and looks forward to helping connect the WNC Community to resources and funds to help make their days brighter and their stress load lighter!
Jim Lowe, Board Member
Jim has been a tax professional in the Asheville area for over 20 years. He, with his wife and daughter, own and operate AVL Tax Professionals. For many years, Jim has volunteered on church mission trips and adult & teenage retreat weekends. He has a deep conviction to help those in need and is grateful to be adding his professional experience to enable WNC Superheroes connect those in acute need with a Superhero in WNC to meet that need.
Whitney Smith, Board Member
Whitney Smith brings over 15 years of social work and advocacy experience with her to WNC Superheroes. She serves as the Director of Family and Community Engagement at Verner Center for Early Learning. She carries a deep passion for building bridges between communities, advocating for families, and empowering individuals; weaving diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into everything she does. She is excited to be a part of WNC Superheroes, witnessing the amazing work that has already laid the ground work for our community, she is eager to nurture that growth alongside her fellow superheroes!