Build Your Best Business (non-profit)

Kim Conner is the founder of Fairywood Thicket Farm, a program specifically designed to help active duty, returned veterans, and civilian contractors deal with their rehabilitation from injuries and disabilities, including physical, psychological, and emotional. It is not only beneficial for the veteran, but also for spouses, parents, children, and extended family members.

The program uses the healing powers of a horses to help with emotional and physical development. It seems like a simple statement, but the back of a horse is the best place for the heart of a person.

Kim is currently looking at adding an Intern House to assist 1 – 2 homeless vets make a transition and get on their feet. The plan is to teach them the basics of equine care as well as how to help other vets with horses; such as a Mentor program to become PATH certified and be able to continue the work, as well as have a little rest and a chance to get on their feet. Instead of a hand out they will be helping the facility help others and be a major part of every day operation.This part of their program is in the planning stage and will require a lot of support from sponsors and benefactors.

Fairywood Thicket Farm is a brand new facility with 2 Registered PATH International Instructors and a Crisis Counselor.  They also have 22 amazing horses ready and able to assist vets and their families in any way possible. They will also offer  Team building and their same assistance to Police, Fire and Medical.

Direct download: 6-3-2013_The_Better_You_Network_Kim_Connor_.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Margarita Moldovan was raised in Atlanta and was given her first opportunities to perform at Cross Keys High School under the direction of James T McRaney and Janet Hirschberg, where she learned that performing is wonderful, but creating a show that transcends its components is hard, rewarding work.

Margarita holds a BA in Literature from GA State University and a MAT in Drama from SCAD. Her passion is teaching young people how valuable the “invisible” people are and watching as her students turn new skills into art. You may learn a bit more at www.performingartsnorth.org or “like” us on Facebook at Performing Arts North.

Performing Arts North is a not-for-profit 501c3 educational theater company with programs for children, teens and adults. Their mission is to provide a safe space where anyone in the community can come and exercise creativity, take creative risks, and learn from each other while fostering a sense of belonging and understanding of the arts. They believe that art is for everyone and everyone has something valuable to contribute.

Direct download: 6-3-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Margarita_Moldovan_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Since its inception, the Andrew Oswald Memorial Fund has been blessed with tremendous community support, enabling the following accomplishments:

  • More than $20,000 in support of teen safe driving
  • $44,000 for 11 Andrew Oswald Memorial Scholarships ($4,000 over 4 years to Georgia high school student-athletes playing lacrosse in college)
  • Nearly 500 lacrosse equipment rental packages to encourage new players to try the sport without initial investment in equipment
  • Grants of approximately $35,000 to support lacrosse programs and individuals across the Atlanta area

AJO4LAX encourages all lacrosse players to:

  • PLAY LAX
  • MAKE GOOD CHOICES and
  • CELEBRATE LIFE
Direct download: 5-27-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Kathleen_Oswald_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

David Epstein's pas­sion for com­mu­nity and the well being of his neigh­bors spurred the vision of Atlanta Con­tact­Point (ACP), a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion estab­lished in 2012 to engage chil­dren and adults through the power of play and support and engage the community with wellness programs such as sports, fitness, nutrition, and social responsibility.

David, known affectionately as "Mr. David", is a preschool teacher and tennis coach who loves working with people of all ages.
He has been work­ing with chil­dren at his neigh­bor­hood preschool, as well as on the fields and courts for over 8 years. "Mr. David" runs sum­mer sports pro­grams in Atlanta and directs a ten­nis pro­gram in upstate NY for 7 weeks. He enjoys play­ing ten­nis, base­ball, and roller hockey.

“Mr. David” is a grad­u­ate of Lehigh Uni­ver­sity where he received a BS in Finance. He lived and worked in NYC for 3 years before mov­ing to Atlanta in 1995, which quickly became home.

Direct download: 5-27-2013_The_Better_You_Project_David_Epstein_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sarah Schober is the Manager for BioNetwork at A-B Tech.  She works closely with the Center’s natural products testing and manufacturing programs and assists natural product and life science entrepreneurs with laboratory manufacturing, and regulatory practices.

BioNetwork at A-B Tech delivers education, outreach and laboratory programs that promote life sciences.  Educational topics include, but are notlimited to, current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for dietary supplements and personal care products; basic and analytical laboratory skills; and customized industry training.  Our diverse outreach programs aim to support life science endeavors and awareness through community and educational partnerships, both outreach and education programs may be geared toward K-12 students or adult learners.  Analytical assistance for botanicals includes constituent, microbial, and pesticide detection and quantification.  Well-equipped laboratory space is available for rent to those interested in product research, testing, and development.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Sarah_Schober_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Amy Hamilton, herbalist, farmer and mother is living her dream of farming medicinal herbs in western NC, where she's lived for nearly 20 years.

She is a founding member of Appalachian Botanical Alliance (ABA), a cooperative of herb growers, formed in 2012 with a mission to continue the legacy of Appalachian sourced medicinal herbs. ABA is focused on cultivating western and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs of high quality and in consistent supply.  Amy's farm is Appalachian Seeds Farm & Nursery. She grows heirloom tomato seed and medicinal herbs.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Amy_Hamilton_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Dr. Jeanine Davis is a horticulture professor with NC State University located at a research facility in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.  For over 25 years, her program has been dedicated to helping farmers improve the profitability of their farms by growing new crops, transitioning to organic agriculture and adopting more sustainable practices.  Her current efforts are focused on woodland botanicals, Chinese herbs, hops, truffles, broccoli, and organic heirloom tomatoes.  You can learn about her program on her website at http://ncherb.org which has links to her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Ms. Alison Dressler is a Research Assistant in the NC Alternative Crops and Organics program at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center.  Her efforts are dedicated to helping grow the agricultural sector of the natural products and medicinal herb industries in western North Carolina.  She is currently involved with helping a new medicinal herb cooperative, a natural products branding effort, and a growing bloodroot for dye project.  She recently completed a 168 page report on special forest botanicals in Southern Appalachia.

Direct download: 5-20-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Dr_Jeanine__Alison_Dressler_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The Melanie Thornton Youth Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization, develops leadership potential in youth through arts enrichment programs and experiences throughout the Metro Atlanta area.

Lois Thornton Chisolm has over 15 years experience developing youth arts enrichment programs and instructing youth from age 2 to 18 in a large variety of arts disciplines.  While living in Europe, Lois taught performance skills, image creation and dance to performing artists. Lois also choreographed for TV shows and live concert performances while she managed their careers.  Some well known artists Lois managed include La Bouche, Melanie Thornton, C-Block, Jemini and T-One.  These artists performed in numerous countries, sold over 12 million singles and albums and have been awarded gold and platinum sales awards in more than 25 countries around the world.

Throughout the years, Lois has used her skills, knowledge and experience to teach in a way that increases student’s self esteem and gives them a genuine appreciation for art forms.  Lois has developed exciting and captivating teaching techniques that keep her students motivated as they grow more poised, graceful and confident in themselves and their expression.   She started a small scholarship fund in memory of her most famous client and sister, Melanie Thornton, in 2002 and then developed and expanded it into the Melanie Thornton Youth Arts Foundation, Inc., an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The foundation’s mission is to develop leadership skills in youth, particularly those that are disadvantaged, by providing an opportunity to experience the arts and be inspired to do positive and creative things with their lives.  For more information go to www.foundationforyoutharts.org, The Melanie Thornton Fan Page on Facebook, Youthartsfund on Twitter and Youthartsfund Channel on Youtube.

Direct download: 5-13-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Lois_Chisholm_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Greg Cumberford, President and Co-Founder, Bent Creek Institute, Inc., is a botanical natural products industry executive. He co-founded Bent Creek Institute in 2006 to grow Western North Carolina’s role as a competitive sourcing region for medicinal plants and value-added botanical products. Prior to joining as BCI’s President in 2011, Mr. Cumberford worked as a senior manager for over 13 years with Gaia Herbs, a leading US grower and manufacturer of botanical extracts. He has BS degree from Stanford University. His avocational interests include natural horsemanship, running, and culinary travel.

Joe-Ann McCoy, PhD, serves as the director of the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) located at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC.  Joe-Ann completed her doctoral research in Plant Physiology from Clemson University which focused on the development of seed, rhizome, and in vitro propagation protocols for Actaea racemosa L. (black cohosh)and analysis of associated triterpene glycosides.  Her MS was focused on developing in vitro propagation and optimal HPLC extraction & analytical methods for Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort).  Prior to BCGR she served as medicinal plant curator for the USDA NCRPIS (North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station) and the NIH ISU Center for Research on Dietary Supplements in Ames, IA.  She has worked with various aspects of native and medicinal plant collection, cell culture, propagation, and analytical research for the past 16 years.

BCI’s mission is to grow an economic cluster in WNC rooted in reverence for our region’s unique biodiversity and botanical traditions, and expressed through scientific testing, research, strategic advisory, and horticultural collaborations. BCI helps their partners clear hurdles as they develop new natural products and grow new specialty crops in our region. The Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) of The North Carolina Arboretum is North America’s only gene bank dedicated to archiving, conserving, and storing medicinal plants and related endophyte germplasm for medical and horticultural research. Anchored by BCGR’s botanical research and conservation activities, BCI fosters sustainable jobs growth based on validated botanical medicines and integrative healthcare solutions that serve the wellness needs of our region, our state, and our nation.


Mary Lou Surgi is the executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Asheville, North Carolina—the region’s largest shared-use food processing incubator. After spending about 15 years working and living overseas doing everything from being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia to running a pig re-population project in Haiti, she decided to stay home and go to culinary school. Not wanting to work in a restaurant, and wanting to combine her international food and agriculture experience with food and economic development she found her dream job with Blue Ridge Food Ventures where  she has worked with hundreds of food entrepreneurs and farmers to help them start up their food businesses.  Mary Lou holds Masters’ degrees in Public Health and Food Systems as well as a Culinary Degree.

Chris Reedy is the Program Manager of Blue Ridge food Ventures.  He attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in finance.  After graduating, Chris went on to earn a MBA with a concentration in finance from Xavier University’s Williams School of Business in Cincinnati, OH.  Immediately after receiving his degree, he joined a Kentucky based holding company and worked as a project manager & financial analyst.  In 1997, Chris founded an import company and traveled throughout Asia working with small producers to sustainably and equitably produce and market their products.  In 2009, he was a founding member of the Southern Appalachian Hops Guild and began to work with farmers throughout the region to create an emerging industry.  His current position allows him to work with and consult with farmers, food artisans and natural product producers on all aspects of their products from intake of raw materials to finished product branding.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an 11,000 sq. ft. shared-use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility that offers support in product development, guidance through the maze of regulations governing safe production of food products and dietary supplements, advice on packaging and label design, and much more.

We're here to help people who dream--of getting their artisan food products to market, of running a baking or catering business, or even operating their own hot dog cart! We also help individuals and small businesses that want to make natural products and herbal dietary supplements, and get them into bottles and tubes and onto store shelves.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Chris_Reedy__Mary_Lou_Surgi_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT