Front Porch Blog

New faces, fresh perspectives

Please join us in welcoming two new members to the Appalachian Voices team!

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Leigh Kirchner, Development Coordinator

Leigh grew up in beautiful Rockbridge County in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where her roots go back many generations to a Monacan Indian on one side and German settlers on the other. A first-generation college student, she earned a B.A. in English at Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.A. in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University.

While in graduate school, Leigh developed an interest in protecting the Appalachian region from exploitation. She worked at Washington and Lee University and the University of Virginia prior to joining Appalachian Voices.

Leigh will be playing a critical role in managing integrated development projects, enhancing team synergy and products, and bolstering our membership program.

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Maya Viknius, Controller

Maya was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine, and spent her summers in a rural country village where the residents were mostly self-sustainable. She moved to the United States at the age of 21, living in the Midwest and on the West Coast before settling in the mountains of North Carolina in 2011.

Maya earned a minor in economics from Kiev’s University of Economics, a B.S., in business administration/accounting from Southern Oregon University, and completed the CPA examination in 2013. She feels strongly about environmental sustainability and social justice, and feels fortunate to intimately know and draw from two very different cultures. She currently lives with her husband Brian and two sons, Nicholas and Souren, near the beautiful Watauga River in Sugar Grove, N.C.

Maya will serve as our controller overseeing the financial operations of the organization.

Welcome, Leigh and Maya!

Jamie is an Appalachian native with a deep and unshakeable love of the mountains her family has called home since the mid-1700s. With a background in journalism and communications, she has worked as AV's Senior Communications Coordinator since 2008, and served as editor (2008-2016) and consulting editor (2016-present) for The Appalachian Voice.