Putting a Face to the Name

Our staff makes Kanuga the wonderful place it is.

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Meet the staff at Kanuga, comprised of skilled individuals dedicated to serving our guests and sustaining our grounds, community and programs.

To contact a staff member by phone, please call 828-692-9136 and then enter the extension number.

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Anita Whitmire
Housekeeping Manager
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2831
Anita Whitmire brought her passions for cleaning, organizing and helping others to Kanuga's housekeeping department in 1995 and was promoted to manager four years later. Under her cheerful but disciplined leadership, Kanuga consistently maintains an A sanitation grade from the NC Division of Public Health. She especially loves getting to know guests and seeing her staff embrace the value of teamwork.
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Barry Phillips
Director of Food Service
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2833
Barry Phillips came to Kanuga in 1994 as the assistant manager of the kitchen and was promoted to food services director in 2000. Embracing Kanuga's commitment to environmental stewardship, he works with local produce distributors to supply Kanuga's dining hall with seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables whenever possible. “I love the peaceful Christian community at Kanuga,” he says. “I enjoy ensuring that guests enjoy every aspect of Kanuga, but especially the food and service they receive while here.”
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Chris Lynn
Adult Conferences Program Director
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2818
Chris Lynn officially joined the staff as the adult conferences program director in 2012, but she has been actively involved in the success of Kanuga's conferences for more than 15 years. She served for many years on Kanuga’s program committee, most recently as chair of the Christian formation planning team. Since 1996, she has been involved with the success of Kanuga’s Christian Formation Conference as staff, workshop leader or coordinator. She brings to Kanuga 21 years of experience as director of Christian formation at the Church of the Advent in Spartanburg. She is responsible for planning and orchestrating Kanuga-sponsored events including the Lansing Lee Conference, Knitting and Quilting Retreat and Renewal Conference.
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Clint DeWitt
Environmental Projects Manager
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2823
Clint DeWitt joined Kanuga in 2006 as an instructor for the Mountain Trail Outdoor School. Now serving as Kanuga's environmental projects manager, Clint brings his passion for learning and environmental stewardship to this important role. His responsibilities include Kanuga’s trail system, its solar hot water systems, the organic garden, as well as other green initiatives. In addition, Clint serves as an administrator for MTOS. Originally from Black Mountain, NC, he graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education.
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Connie Holliday
Director of Group Sales
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2808
A Clemson University graduate, Connie Nuckolls Holliday has an extensive background in resort hospitality and sales. Her experience includes 11 years with Marriott International, four years at Grove Park Inn and three years with Biltmore Estate. Her expertise includes cultivating new group revenue opportunities in all areas and developing loyal clients. She has proven success in sales management, customer relations and leadership. Connie is a recognized member of the Association Executives of North Carolina and the South Carolina Society of Association Executives—being the first member to sit on both boards simultaneously. When not working, she enjoys spending precious time with her husband Tim and their four children.
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David Schnitzer
Camp Kanuga Director
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2840
David Schnitzer loves camp! He has 11 years of full-time professional camping and youth ministry experience but has worked at camp every summer since he was 15. Before coming to Kanuga in 2012, he was the program director for Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, GA, where he created two leadership development programs for teenagers, grew the staff by more than 100 percent and organized training programs for more than 130 staff members. A graduate of the University of Georgia and the National Outdoor Leadership School, he is in the process of completing a master’s degree in Christian leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. An avid outdoorsman, he is the author of Great American Outdoors, Nature at its Best.
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Eden Lewis
Assistant Director of Sales
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2817
Eden Lewis has helped coordinate Kanuga-sponsored conferences and guest periods since 2009. A former counselor at Camp Kanuga, she spent several years coordinating and leading programs for high school and middle school students at churches in Winston-Salem, NC, and St. Augustine, FL. A graduate of Flager College, she has a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in youth ministry. She loves both the guest and staff communities at Kanuga and views her job as the ministry of hospitality.
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Eric George
Reservations Manager
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2809
Raised in Western North Carolina, Eric grew up in a conference and camp environment. “I have always been a part of a community like camp. I cannot imagine my life any other way. I love how Kanuga affects lives and cultivates development.” Since age 13, Eric has worked in every department he could: kitchen, guest services, maintenance, recreation staff, reservations and management.

Beginning with living and working overseas after his senior year of college at a boarding school in South Korea, Eric has travelled, worked and participated in outreach trips to India, Philippines, Borneo, Costa Rica and all over Southeast Asia. Through these opportunities, he has developed a cultural appreciation and the ability to regulate stressful situations.

Having spent years serving Kanuga’s visitors as Guest Services Assistant Manager, Eric transitioned to his current role as Reservations & Front Desk Manager, allowing him to continually develop his passion for hospitality. He has been with Kanuga for six years of growth and plans to continue to nurture himself and others in this special place. Eric and his wife Lindsay live on property and like to take time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.
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Gary Giniat
Vice President of Advancement
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2816
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Gary Giniat (pronounced “Jeanette”) brings proven expertise across the advancement spectrum—from non-profit marketing and building earned income to increasing charitable contributions. Gary is responsible for planning and overseeing all of Kanuga’s advancement programs—both development and communications functions—as well as assisting in the growth of all of Kanuga’s revenue producing areas from camps to conferences. Before joining Kanuga, Gary’s 30-year career has spanned from 10 years marketing at the St. Petersburg (FL) Times and eight years in senior leadership roles at Chicago Children’s Museum to being the executive director of Asheville’s Pack Square Conservancy reopening the new 6.5 acre park.
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Hannah Partridge
Reservations Coordinator
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2742
Hannah attended Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, GA) to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. There she delved into studying family life and social work, and it was there she heard about working summers at Kanuga. After working as the Assistant Director of the Children's Program during summer 2014, she fell in love with Kanuga and couldn't stay away. After three summers, she joined the Reservations department, where she enjoys and excels at friendly interactions with guests. People have told her they can hear her smile while she assists them with requests. Hannah keeps that smile going through researching what her future mini pigs will look like, updating her Pinterest boards and knowing that she shares the same initials as Harry Potter.
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Heather Cope-Borger
Payroll & Benefits Specialist
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2731
Heather recently joined Kanuga in June 2016 in the newly created role of Payroll and Benefits Specialist. She brings to a Kanuga experience in HR, payroll and business administration. Heather has vast experience working in many different business sectors: military-civilian, healthcare, education and private. She also possesses an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Axia College.

Heather loves to cook and considers her first love to be a well-seasoned cast iron pan. She also is an avid reader, seamstress and enjoys a good hike. When she is not crunching numbers, you can find her leading a troop of boy scouts or thinking about going to the gym.
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Jason Sampler
Director of IT
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2819
Jason started as IT Director at Kanuga in 2016 and brings over ten years of experience in Telecommunications and Information Technology, working for both managed IT service providers and within the nonprofit sector in Western North Carolina. He holds an Associate in Arts & Sciences degree in Computer Network Systems, along with several vendor-specific certifications. Jason grew up in Central Florida and came to the Mountains in 2003.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, playing guitar and enjoying music, traveling, and exploring the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.
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Jennifer Sharpe
Retail Manager
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2802
Jennifer Sharpe is the Retail Manager at Kanuga. She oversees all aspects of The Shop at Kanuga, Charlie’s Canteen, Fleming’s Lakeside, the Bear’s Den at MTOS, the Eagle’s Nest at Camp Kanuga and online sales. Originally from Delaware, she lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina with her husband and two children. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
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Jimmy Haden
Vice President for Community and Church Relations
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2810
Jimmy joined Kanuga in 1993 from the Adams Mark Hotel in Charlotte and is dedicated to the Kanuga community and its mission. He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a BS in communications and minor in business administration. After more than 24 years on staff, serving six summers and attending Kanuga since infancy, there aren't many areas of Kanuga that Jimmy hasn't touched. He brings to Kanuga extensive experience in employee engagement, executive leadership, hospitality and quality service. Jimmy works collaboratively with the President contributing strongly to advancement, program development and the overall culture of Kanuga. A cradle Episcopalian with an active spiritual life, he serves as an ambassador of the mission and vision of Kanuga and represents the organization broadly throughout the community and wider church. Jimmy and his wife, Catherine, are the proud parents of James. In his spare time, Jimmy enjoys working with his hands, exploring the outdoors and reading history books.
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Kate Bakko
Reservations Coordinator
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2811
On the Kanuga staff since 2003, Kate Bakko is a familiar voice and friendly face to many guests as they plan a trip to and arrive at Kanuga. She spent three years as a part-time Front Desk clerk before taking a full-time role in reservations in 2006. She brings an extensive background in the human services field, having spent 24 years working with adults with disabilities. "I enjoy watching what Kanuga means to so many of our guests and hope our mission will continue to inspire people to find peace in our community for years to come," she says.
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Katherine Parnell
Camp Bob Director
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2836
Katherine Parnell first came to Camp Bob, Kanuga's outreach summer camp, as a counselor in 2009 and has been growing and developing with the program ever since. With a bachelors degree in theater education and a minor in English from nearby Brevard College, KP brings her spirit and energy to Camp Bob's youth, volunteers, sponsors and staff year-round. After just one week of experiencing Camp Bob, she knew that her life had changed, and she feels a powerful connection with those who come through the program. “Camp Bob is a very energetic and supportive atmosphere. It allows everyone to be themselves and gives them the opportunity to try new experiences and grow not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.” Parnell is also a graduate of Brevard College's Institute for Women in Leadership.
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Kevin Manion
Resident Apprentice Program Coordinator
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2813
Originally from Syracuse, New York, Kevin graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education. He began with Mountain Trail Outdoor School in February 2012 as an instructor and was promoted to expedition program manager in January 2015. He now leads Kanuga’s Resident Apprentice Program designed to provide young adults an opportunity to develop skills and habits that lead to personal and professional success. From leading 28-day expeditions with high school students in the Southwest to working with an inner city after-school program, Kevin brings a wide array of experiential education and leadership skills to Kanuga. “For me, being at Kanuga means working with fun, good-hearted people, being surrounded by the peace and beauty of nature, and being able to share all this with the people who visit here,” he says.
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Kim Moree
Manager of Board Relations
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2806
Kim earned a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from Indiana State University and brings more than thirty years of professional experience to her role as board relations manager at Kanuga. She worked ten years as an operations trainer in the banking industry followed by more than 20 years in press relations and administration/executive assistant roles in real estate, the mortgage industry, and the non-profit sector. Most recently, Kim served as the administrative and financial manager for a church in Asheville, NC, helping to implement the church's capital campaign.
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Laura Moushey
Human Resources Director
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2807
Laura holds a master’s in human resources development from Western Carolina University and an undergraduate degree in business administration from Meredith College. She brings to Kanuga an extensive background in HR with significant experience in employee relations, recruitment and staff development. Laura is responsible for both the strategic and administrative roles in the areas of human resources. Her history includes serving as employment manager at the Grove Park Inn, which gave her an understanding of the unique needs of staff working in hospitality.
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Leslie Hartley
Director of Marketing and Communications
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2822
Leslie brings more than 12 years of communications and marketing experience, six of which were spent as the online content manager in the marketing department at Biltmore in Asheville, NC. While at Biltmore, she defined and guided the editorial voice and quality standards for all online content for their website, e-newsletters and other online marketing initiatives. Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s degree in social and behavioral science from Minnesota State University at Mankato. She received Columbia University’s Gold Circle Award for her journalistic work while serving as news editor at UNC Charlotte.
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Marcella Thompson
Vice President of Finance
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2803
Marcella Thompson joined Kanuga in 2011 and enjoys working where she can join two of her passions ― accounting and providing excellent customer service. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery and received the accounting achievement award from the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants in 1997. Her extensive accounting background includes serving as a manager for one of the largest CPA firms in the Southeast and as the controller for the largest nursing home in the state of Alabama. She enjoys meeting the challenges brought on by handling the day to day accounting needs of Kanuga.
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Mark C. Upright J.D., M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2804
With over 30 years of experience in the field of treatment and educational services for children, Mark joins Kanuga with a depth of nonprofit leadership experience, as well as provides the valuable knowledge of practicing law. Mark came to Western North Carolina in 2002 as the chief executive officer for Eliada Homes and Foundation. During his 13 year tenure, he grew Eliada into an $11 million dollar operation, which is noted as one of the most innovative treatment programs for children and youth in the Southeastern region. Prior to Eliada, he successfully led two premier nonprofits in and around Philadelphia. Mark has a law practice that provides assistance in the areas of family law and nonprofit business services.
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Marty Blair
Reservations Coordinator
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2741
Marty joined the front desk staff at Kanuga in March 2016. She began pitching in to assist the reservations department and shortly thereafter joined the department full time. Born and raised in Ohio, she also lived in Kentucky and Florida. Marty is part of a large musical family, and has played in orchestras and for beach weddings all along the Gulf Coast. Her professional background ranges from providing administrative services for the Town Manager & Property Owners Association at Rosemary Beach, FL; Event Services at the Town of Seaside, FL; processing real property appraisals and serving as office manager for an interior design firm. Most recently, she served as office manager at the Community Foundation of Henderson County. She has a deep commitment to leaving a positive impact wherever she goes and finds great satisfaction working with people who focus on making a difference in the lives of others. “That’s why I love it here at Kanuga.”
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Meghan Hull
Director of Mountain Trail Outdoor School
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2839
Meghan has experience in outdoor education, traditional classroom teaching and camp management. Before holding the director position, Meghan served as an instructor at MTOS for three seasons and as assistant program director for Camp Bob. She has also taught middle school science and math in Florida. Meghan obtained her bachelor’s degree in integrated science education from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She is a native of Michigan and enjoys working with all of the schools that MTOS serves.
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Michael R. Sullivan
President
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2805
The Rev. Michael Radford Sullivan became Kanuga’s 10th president in November 2016 after serving as Rector of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Parish in Atlanta.

A native of Seneca, South Carolina, Michael holds a Master of Divinity from The University of the South–Sewanee, Tennessee; a Juris Doctor cum laude, from the University of South Carolina–Columbia, South Carolina; and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude, Wofford College–Spartanburg, South Carolina (Phi Beta Kappa).

“I'm elated to step into the work we are called to, building upon the foundations of past generations, while also trusting God to guide us as a bolder and stronger Kanuga for the future of the Church,” says Michael. “I look forward to working with the Board and all our family to continue the tradition begun in 1928."

Michael is the author of two books and numerous articles. Windows into the Soul and Windows into the Light, both published by Morehouse, a division of Church Publishing, explore the place of art in spirituality and how creativity can contribute to the richness of the Christian journey.

In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, smoking his own hams (something he hopes to do at Kanuga), fitness, hiking and writing.
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Miriam Walsh
Accounting Manager
828-692-9136, ext. 2801
Miriam grew up coming to Kanuga as a Camp Kanuga camper, guest period participant and youth conference participant/staff member. She graduated from UNC–Asheville in 2001 with Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and English Literature. She also has a degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont; the pursuit of which inspired her to move to wine country in California. After a 10 year stint there, she returned to her beloved NC mountains. During a visit with her parents during Autumn Guest Period, she discovered the accounting department needed some temporary help. Temporary turned into permanent, and she has continued to grow and develop, as evidenced in her recent promotion from Senior Staff Accountant to Accounting Manager.
When Miriam is not pursuing all the entertainments her eight-year-old son provides, she enjoys cooking, knitting and creating handmade gifts for those she loves.
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Patrice Suggs
Camp Kanuga Coordinator
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2732
Patrice is a graduate from Clemson University with a BS in Recreation, Parks and Environmental Resources. As a Marine Corps wife, she and her husband Phillip lived in Oklahoma, Virginia and Okinawa, Japan during the course of his career. The couple attended ministry school in Oklahoma and as ordained ministers, served as full-time missionaries with their children, Rachel and Zach, in Glasgow, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. Between her work at Kanuga and previous employment at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Patrice possesses ten years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including reservations, event coordination and group sales. She savors time with her family, hiking, painting and screenwriting. “It’s a joy to work with great people in such a beautiful and unique setting.”
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Ricky Varnadore
Vice President of Property
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2834
Ricky Varnadore joined Kanuga's property department in 1999, became the maintenance manager in 2006 and head of the entire department in 2011. He oversees the team of people responsible for taking care of all of Kanuga's buildings, landscaping and wastewater treatment facilities. While he is comfortable in all areas of construction, maintenance and renovations, he has a gained a true mastery of the complex field of electrical wiring.
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Stacie Loeffler
Advancement Associate
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2734
A Hendersonville native and UNC Charlotte graduate, Stacie has a varied background in customer service and support. She joined Kanuga after spending two years at home with her daughter. Her role within the Advancement division is to support the Vice President of Advancement and the President of Kanuga in their fundraising endeavors by managing travel and event planning, maintaining donor records and building relationships with guests and donors. She is thankful to be back home in the mountains of NC after spending eight years traveling North America with her husband and daughter as he served in the United States Air Force.
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Stephanie Watts
Manager of Event and Guest Services
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2830
Stephanie joined Kanuga in 2013 in the Guest Services department, building her leadership and management skills while progressing towards her role as manager. She has a passion for hospitality and enjoys leading her team to serve Kanuga guests. Stephanie holds a master’s degree in instructional technology from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina–Asheville.
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Wade Greenberg-Brand
Graphics & Media Specialist
(828) 692-9136, ext. 2825
Wade is a graphic designer, photographer, videographer and artist with a passion for creating captivating content. His experience includes freelance and contract work for a wide variety of clients, as well as several years in exhibit design at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York. He recently relocated to Asheville from New York, and is excited to be a part of the Kanuga community.