I attended Appalachian State University as a Teaching Fellow with a theatre education major. After graduating, I moved to Hickory to teach drama in elementary schools. I spent four years in that career before transitioning to work with my husband, Jon Eckard, in his commercial photography business. We’ve spent over a decade working together with many of the wonderful companies in Hickory, which has given us a bird’s-eye view of the industry here. We also spent several years working directly with the city to develop and curate the marketing website Hickory. Well Crafted, and we built a large catalog of photography to represent the city that has been used in countless print pieces as well as websites for the city and their partners, like the Catawba Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation. I also worked in the arts industry during this time, including teaching at Hickory Community Theatre and the Hickory Museum of Art. As producer of the play Almost, Maine, I worked with the United Arts Council of Catawba County and Bill Morgan to create a fund called the Theatre Arts Grant which defrays the costs of theatrical productions for high schools in Catawba County. We also made a donation to OUT Right Youth with the excess funds the play raised.
Two years ago Jon and I started the regional magazine Foothills Digest, which covers most of Western North Carolina with a focus on history, art and culture, as well as food and events. Publishing this magazine continues to introduce us to the people and ideas that are keeping our history alive and those that are right on the cutting edge of technology and thought. It also continues to foster a deep love of the area.
We are happy to raise our two boys, Max and River, in Hickory, and we find there are many enriching events and communities here. My personal goal for joining City Council is to foster growth and enrichment in Hickory, so that when my boys are choosing their careers, there are robust career opportunities for them here.
I spent two years on the Henry River Preservation Fund Board, which seeks to preserve the history of the Henry River Mill Village, but I resigned in order to have time to run for this office. I also recently completed my term as an ex-officio board member of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and was honored to be the 2017 winner of the Edison Project.
I am registered as Unaffiliated, and I do not ever plan on joining a party. I feel that the current climate in politics asks us to choose a side then vehemently fight the other side, and I’m just not interested in that. There are many things that I agree with either side about, but I find myself generally in the middle. Also, most of the driving things that divide us are National issues, and not things that the City Council votes on. I suspect you’ll find me to be rational, thinking about each issue individually instead of along party lines.
I’ve lived here 15 years and every day, I am reminded that I am home.