(Movers & Shakers is a regular section of the Biltmore Beacon. To submit staff additions, updates or achievements at your business, send information, including a photo, to thebiltmorebeacon@gmail.com.)

Sotheby’s International Adds to N.C. Sales Team

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty welcomes three sales professionals to the company’s North Carolina locations: Erin Blackman, Charlotte; Kial Afton Doumars, Asheville; and Josh Floyd, Blowing Rock.

“We are very happy to welcome these new sales professionals to Premier Sotheby’s International Realty,” said Budge Huskey, president and chief executive officer. “Their real estate industry experience, deep knowledge of the North Carolina region and commitment to excellent service lead to making customers for life. We are so pleased to work with these talented sales professionals.”

UNCA Alumnus Named 2021 Fulbright Finalist

Jordan Lor, a 2019 UNC Asheville graduate and 2019 Teach for America Corps member in Eastern North Carolina, has been named a Fulbright finalist to teach in Thailand for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The award comes from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Lor is one of more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2021-2022 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service.

“I was interested in teaching outside the United States, so I knew that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program will provide me just that and additionally build upon my leadership and expand my cultural world view,” said Lor. “In the Hmong community, many Hmongs believe that we do not have a motherland. My father and many Hmongs across the world consider Thailand to be our motherland, because they were born and raised there. I am very excited to use this opportunity to finally visit Thailand and learn all that I can about their rich culture and history.”

Lor’s award, pending final details, includes working as an English teaching assistant, and his goals are to earn his certification and work with students and staff at the college level – a goal that stems from his own experience as a first-generation college student from Mount Airy, North Carolina. He attended UNC Asheville as a Golden Leaf Scholar.

“I hope with my sociological background and experience, I can share with my host country a unique perspective of what it is like to be a Hmong-American in the United States. Additionally, I hope to bring back with me stories and experiences that I can share with others as well,” Lor said.

YWCA Asheville Names CEO

YWCA of Asheville and WNC is excited to announce the appointment of Diana Sierra as CEO.

“In the short time that Sierra has served as Interim CEO, she has made great strides in supporting our programs, staff, and community partners. You can tell she is a veteran of not just the YWCA but of our community,” said Jesica Hooper, chairwoman of the Board of Directors.

For Sierra, the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women aligns directly with her life’s work and passion as a social worker, as a Latina, and as the first generation in her family to be born in the U.s.

“I find strength when I think of my grandmother and the sacrifices she made for her family,” said Sierra. “Having seen my own family and childhood community struggle to overcome hardships, I know how valuable opportunities are, especially for women and women of color. The YWCA and the powerhouse team here inspire me to continue the work that creates opportunities for our community.”

Sierra most recently served as the head of Buncombe County’s Family Justice Center (FJC) and has almost six years of experience working within Buncombe County government, including Child Protective Services. While leading the FJC, a multi-disciplinary service center, Sierra oversaw community partnerships, including the longtime partnership with the YWCA. Through this role and her continued support as a donor, Sierra has never truly left the YWCA.

Before her work with the county, Sierra was YWCA’s director of Women’s Empowerment and as recently as 2018 was the facilitator for the YWCA’s Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World women’s empowerment program.

“Diana’s [more than 15 years of] experience in social work, leadership and community building give us the confidence that she will successfully transition our organization as both an insider and with a fresh perspective, a unique combination that we are grateful to have found. We look forward to her rejoining the team,” Hooper added.

Sierra has a bachelor’s in social work from James Madison University, a master’s in social work from Hunter College, and is a licensed clinical social worker.

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