As the son of a career Marine Corps Officer who was often deployed I grew up surrounded by women, my Mother, Dorothy and my two sisters, Beth and Sharon. I have always respected and admired strong, independent women who could not only get things done, but do it in a way that included others and most of the time never taking credit for achievement.  I learned the secret to their success is that women are more relational, better at nurturing and are more about team accolades as opposed to individual recognitions.

I’ve found that style of leadership carries over into the philanthropic world as well and I have had the pleasure of working with two such women here in High Point who lead with humility, grace and conviction.  Both of these women accomplish truly transformational things done for the betterment of our community and are always focused on the greater good.  One is an interior designer, Christi Barbour and the other is local furniture advertising director, Ashley Williams.  They both share the gifts of vision, efficiency, and most of all, big, generous hearts. They are both heroes to me because of their sincerity and effectiveness and are very adept at flying below the radar, so I want to take a few moments to share why these ladies are so important to High Point.

I met Christi several years ago when our Superintendent, Sharon Contreras took over for Mo Green. I noticed during my first meeting in her Eugene Street office that Sharon’s office looked a lot like one of those 1950’s bomb shelters complete with a chair leaking cushion foam. I told her High Point was the furniture capital of the world and I thought we could do better than that.  Enter Christi Barbour and Ashely Williams who not only came up with the floor plan but also arranged for all the furniture to be donated.  I walked away from this project very impressed with these creative women’s talents, but even more impacted by their generosity and humility.

Sometime later I began hearing about someone in High Point who wanted to change our community’s image through a blog called High Point Discovered.  I learned it was Christi who was almost singlehandedly changing High Point’s image digitally by creating unique and positive conversations that open doors! I should also add she did this with her own money, time, vision energy and it has very quickly transformed how the world sees High Point. If you have not seen it, you need to today… it’s pretty spectacular.  Christi is the Founder and Partner of Barbour Spangle Design, she serves in leadership with the Market Authority, High Point University and the YMCA.

Then we have Ashley Williams who grew up here in High Point and is the 4th generation of Davis Furniture.  Philanthropy is engrained in Ashley; it is part of her culture and she feels that it is her responsibility to give back to this community as she has watched generations do before her.  After college she moved back here because she believes in High Point. Every day Ashley makes a difference in this city through the community outreach work with Davis Furniture.  She serves or has served on multiple boards including Forward High Point, High Point Community Foundation, GO FAR, and being a strong advocate for both the YWCA and YMCA.

There you are; two strong, committed women who make a real difference, who understand that leadership is about serving others and who realize this often means planting trees whose shade they may never personally benefit from for the betterment of an entire community. Quiet heroes…