Meet a WNC Woman

There are so many fascinating, dynamic, creative women in western North Carolina and we want you to meet them! Every month we will ask four women one question that relates to that month’s theme and print their responses along with a photo and their name… and what they “do” whether business, social service or taking care of kids or elderly parents.

This month’s question:
How do you define, and how do you build Family?

Katrina Ohstrom: Though I love my biological relatives, my definition of family transcends the genetic. I’m beyond lucky to have brilliant friends scattered all over the globe, who I absolutely consider family. One of my greatest joys in life is introducing people I love and admire, weaving more threads into the mesh of support and solidarity. It’s rough out there, we need to take care of each other.

Judi Jetson: “I grew up in a large family, but we’re scattered across the country now. I consider family a group of people who genuinely love, trust, care about and look out for one another. So now I have lots – my work family at Carol L. King & Associates, my fiber family at Local Cloth, and my friends family in Weaverville where we get together for holiday dinners and parties.”

Lee Warren: Family is a selectively chosen group of cultural pioneers committed to creating neo-tribal systems of support, engagement, accountability, and encouragement for both personal and trans-personal liberation. I have built this family through a 25-year commitment to activism and intentional community living. In 1999, I settled at Earthaven Ecovillage where I built an off-grid, sustainably-built Co-housing neighborhood; founded a 5-acre pasture-based cooperative farm; and co-founded the SOIL, School of Integrated Living. It’s been hard work with good company!

Marilyn Ball: The definition of community to me is a group of people with unique shared values and behaviors who actually interact with each other. And the interacting portion of the program is critically important. Community is about connecting. As you’re building community, you want to ensure everyone is a participant. When you make your community about all people and everyone has a voice, you build trust and become part of something bigger than yourself. Communities grow stronger by building relationships and through all the little and big actions everyone takes everyday.

Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker