Women Making Music – Abby Bryant

Women Making Music – Abby Bryant

We’ve been “friends on Facebook” for the past few years, but we’d never met in person until a few months ago. We were invited to a mutual friend’s house with several other female musicians. Abby’s aura is warm and inviting. Everyone’s taller than me, but she’s a good bit taller. She bent down to keep me from having to stretch up for a lovely-to-meet-you-in-person hug, and a gesture like this is not lost on me.

Post release of Abby Bryant and the Echoes’ 13 track debut, Not Your Little Girl, she called me from the road for our interview. We began our conversation before a show they had that evening and she’s excited, blessed and grateful for the large audiences they’ve been attracting. 

My aim for this feature is to skip the incidentals. You can read her bio on her website. What I want to do is dig into each of the tracks on NYLG, giving my reaction to each one, and getting her responses to share with you. Abby agrees and clears us for take-off. 

The debut album is heavy emotionally, but throughout there’s hope, joy and liberation. “Challenges expressed in an inspiring way” is how she summarizes the crux of the record.

Track: Not Your Little Girl

P:  This feels like a celebratory liberation song; especially when the horns kick in.

A:  I wrote this song as I was first navigating the music industry. Especially because I’m young, I often hear conflicting voices spouting every type of opinion. I liberate myself from the opinions of others as best I can. This song is me finding my own voice in there. The horns especially express the positive take I’m going for just the same.

Track: Tried

P:  Confronting the conundrum of breaking up and how taking the high road is a good strategy when faced with questions from friends about the reasons why. 

A: Of the different facets of breaking up, the social piece of the break up is hard. When someone can’t control what you do or say anymore, they’ll respond to that by trying to control how other people see you. While that can be hurtful, time will reveal the truth as long as you stand there with integrity.  

Track: Better Now

P:  Now you’re feeling trust again. 

A: It’s about a mix of core people in my life. Allowing myself to trust means I allow myself to thrive. It’s also about my business partnership and longstanding friendship with Baily Faulkner (her co-founding friend, co-writing partner and lead guitarist). 

Track: When I’m Gone

P:  I’m inspired to call this an “exit” anthem. That trying to hold you back in any situation, only makes you want to break free. Here’s another example of you taking the high road with someone who’s been oblivious to accountability. While listening to this, I actually pictured you throwing open the storm door of your house, sauntering down the steps and onto a side walk, and as you stroll you begin boogying to the beat of your own song.

A:  What you’ve imagined is right on with what I was intending with this song. But I also hope people take what they’re hearing and imagine what they will, cause I’m okay with any interpretation. 

Track: Had To

P:  Being you, doing you is not a slap in the face to anyone. Sometimes you have to make decisions based on the natural next step in your life. 

A:  That’s very true. It’s about making tough choices and sitting in your own resolve about what you need to do in your own life, in your own career. But it’s also about the pain that comes in the aftermath of changing something that wasn’t working. 

Track: Hold Me

P:  It’s such a fine, melancholy groove. “That you’ll long for me, way after I’m gone” from the chorus struck me. That use of the word “way” really sticks with me. The vocal improvisation at the end too, was super compelling.

A:  We spent a long time on that ending with the backing vocals and it’s a special moment on the album. It’s about deeply connecting with someone even though circumstance and lifestyle can’t sustain it. It’s a song of longing and hoping I stay on that person’s mind.

Track: Roll with Me

P:  The first time I ever heard your band was from a YouTube video, and you’re performing this one live on the ‘Floyd Fest Bus Stop.’ I thought what an appropriate tune to choose to do on the bus! 

A:  (Laughing) I get happy just thinking about that bus stop recording session! We had just played to one of our biggest crowds when they invited us to play on the bus. We ended up winning the “artist on the rise” prize that year. It was a really big day for us; even more then I realized at the time. 

Track: Love Crush Blues

P:  I hear a double meaning on this one. It’s a revelation every bit as much as it’s an accusatory lament.

A:  It’s a song that describes a sort of pre-teen, preconceived notion that I was going to one day be magically swept away by love and romance. And I come to realize that that doesn’t necessarily happen for everyone. “If I want love, I can only love myself” is the bottom line.

The Last 3 Tracks

A: *Keep Moving is about our resilience and our determination as a band. *Time Wasn’t on Our Side is the most personal and vulnerable track. It’s a mournful acceptance of when things don’t align. 

*I’m Telling You has a jubilant groove. It contrasts the struggle with its joyful sound. It mirrors my personality. There’s a lot going on in my mind and there’s always a lot I could complain about but I’m also pretty good at laughing things off cause riding the highs and lows of this business is so crazy and it’s so easy to get caught up in that rollercoaster ride. It’s a tough skill to master, but the middle ground for me is laughing with my bandmates. 

Visit her website for tour dates and links to streaming platforms and to pre order the album: abbybryantandtheechoes.com 

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter.
For vocal coaching email her at
peggymarie43@gmail.com

When Only The Best will do

When Only The Best will do

Biltmore Executive Support Team (B.E.S.T) is a dream come true for entrepreneurs, high-level executives, affluent individuals, as well as big and small businesses alike. More than just your average professional organizer, B.E.S.T is your proud partner in business management, bookkeeping, professional organization, and customized business support services. They help your business thrive in the most efficient way possible to “get you where you need to grow!”

Their team of professional organizers is specialized in office systems and design and they collaborate with their clients to create a highly functional and peaceful work environment. They are Asheville’s only professional organizers who are certified by the American Society of Professional Organizers AND specialize in accounting. B.E.S.T is certified in QuickBooks and payroll, and they offer professional bookkeeping through their sister
company Accounting Office Management, Inc.

Not only do they help you organize and declutter your physical environment, but they also help create functional paper management, organize emails and digital files, and maintain bookkeeping systems. They do every tedious and overwhelming task that you can think of such as organizing medical records, financial statements, and setting up bill payment schedules. Even CPAs love B.E.S.T because they streamline end-of-the-year tax preparation, saving time for accountants, and reducing hefty fees for clients. They also help executives who are relocating or downsizing by acting as compassionate coaches in the purging and decluttering process.

Linne Warner has always had a clear passion for business and a thirst for creativity, which makes her a hugely successful boss-babe and the multi-talented founder of B.E.S.T. Her story began on a ranch in Chino, CA where she was riding horses before she even learned to walk. This perhaps, is what helped spark her love of adventure in life and business, and her entrepreneurial spirit.

Linne began working at the Coca-Cola Company in her early twenties, where she first became acquainted with the corporate world. Armed with a more refined sense of business, she left the company at age 22 (during the later stages of her first pregnancy) and started her first small business called, Linne’s of Palm Springs, in Santa Barbara, CA, where she produced and sold her own line of hand-painted clothing.

Linne diversified her education by completing her studies in multimedia arts and technology, which allowed her to have a focus on graphic design and marketing. Linne juggled a great deal while accomplishing her educational goals, raising two small children, having her own businesses, including maintaining the accounting and administrative needs of her family’s electrical contracting business, and eventually working full time as a marketing director for a national wholesale floral producer. Her 10-year experience as a director helped her analytical skills and creativity flourish. It also tapped into her adventurous spirit and allowed her to travel to Hong Kong and China several times a year.

The next door on her career path opened while traveling home from one of these business trips. A man sitting next to her on the flight observed her as she worked and was impressed by her keen focus and drive. He recruited her to work at Select Staffing, where she excelled as the Santa Barbara branch manager. She became educated on staff and client management, accounting, and was a devoted student of Steven Covey (author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

The next stop along her career path was working as the Vice President of Marketing for the Third Age Foundation. This non-profit organization was developed to help elders in the third stage of life to have longer, happier, and more fulfilled lives. Linne loves helping disadvantaged people find their direction by supporting their personal development. This is why B.E.S.T loves working with elderly executives that need help getting organized, especially if there is any cognitive decline or chronic illness.

Linne is also fierce when it comes to empowering her team members.
Because of her staffing experience, she has learned to look beyond the face value of the resume and encourages people to exceed all expectations. Her team is the foundation of her business and she loves to showcase their many talents. Her executive assistant, Olivia, is even certified in Feng Shui! Linne also does her best to support the local economy by using and recommending businesses here in town. Even her own office is outfitted in art and décor from local shops.

Linne says, “We don’t need to bring others down to succeed! There is enough to go around in this life. God gives us everything we need, including ALL the gifts and blessings that should be used to assist and elevate others whenever possible!”

Linne has two amazing children. Her daughter, Lindsay Rae, is a successful hair and makeup artist, who has worked in Beverly Hills for the past 12 years. Her son, Lucas, will be taking over the family electrical contracting business in C.A. She gets to see her children often because B.E.S.T also caters to clients in the Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara areas.

Linne married the love of her life, Chris Warner, in 2011. The two are wildly adventurous and madly in love. “He supports me 120% in every crazy idea I have or adventure I suggest. I am so grateful that he has been blessed with some sort of divine resilience, and an extraordinary amount of patience, to put up with my never-ending flow of wild ideas!” The two love to explore together, which is how they ended up in Asheville. They sold all of their belongings and hopped into their RV for a 10-month long road trip from C.A. to N.C. They purchased 17.5 acres of land in Candler, N.C., and built their dream home where they’ve had a horse, a pig, goats, chickens, two tortoises, two dogs, and a cat!

In Linne’s spare time, she loves to ride her horse and is an annual pass equestrian member at the Biltmore Estate and Asheville’s Adult Riding Club. Linne says her source for everything is her faith in God. She is an ordained minister, an Officer of the Court of the Catholic Daughters of America, and a child and hospitality minister for St. Joan
of Arc Church in Candler.

B.E.S.T

Biltmore Executive Support Team

asheville-oms.com/best

828-785-2695

79 Woodfin Place, Suite 205A
Asheville, NC 28801

Special thanks to Jim & Barbara Whitmer, Owners of Encore Stables, for graciously granting us access to their farm, encorestablesinc.com

For the Love of Raspberries

For the Love of Raspberries

For Stacy Fields, life is all about family, faith, and raspberries. Her Hendersonville based farm, Raspberry Fields, is in its fifth growing season.  It provides organic and fresh raspberries, fruit preserves, raspberry vinegar, and delicious baked goods to tailgate market shoppers, local CSA’s, wholesalers, restaurants, cafes, beer and cider brewers, bakeries, and other local merchants in Henderson and Buncombe Counties. Their offerings typically include pies, cobblers, muffins, sourdough bread, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, pinwheels, cookies, and pastries galore. They even cater to vegan and gluten-free diets!

Stacy’s agricultural roots began in Crumpler, N.C., where as a child she tended to her grandmothers’ raspberry patches. Her family also grew Christmas trees, tobacco, and had large gardens that provided nourishment for the entire family. Being in nature and having a green thumb has always been a part of Stacy’s identity. In fact, her most loved activity is growing flowers and hiking through the wondrous Appalachian Mountains.

Although being in the garden has always been one of Stacy’s passions, she wasn’t always in the business of raspberries. Both she and her husband, Chris Fields, had been in the construction industry for many years, but during the financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, their sector had been hit hard. As a result, they decided it would be wise to diversify their streams of income and explore the farming industry. In 2015 they purchased 10.5 acres of land in Good Luck, N.C. (15 minutes from Asheville), and sowed nearly 3,000 raspberry plants, and thus, Raspberry Fields was born. They pride themselves on their organic and sustainable farming practices, as well as their beloved variety of Autumn Bliss raspberries. This bright red berry has a superior flavor profile, a long growing season, and endless health benefits.

Raspberry Fields operates all year long. They start harvesting their berries in mid to late June, and the growing season lasts all the way through October. When their fresh berry season is over, they continue selling all of their preserves, vinegars, and baked goods at the holiday markets from October through December. January is typically the month to catch up on paperwork and taxes. February, March, and April are all about the pre-season work ensuring a healthy harvest for the rest of the year. This includes cutting the briars back down while they are dormant, replacing water lines, weeding beds, adding mulch, maintaining irrigation systems, and conducting soil testing.

This Wonder Woman wears many hats. In addition to tending to her raspberries, you can also find her selling specialty windows and doors for Morrison Millwork by day, and baking pies and hand-crafted goodies for the farmer’s markets on evenings and weekends. Her most beloved job of all is being a full-time wife to Chris, and a mom to a big family of 4 children; Ashley, Jacob, Lydia, and David.

One of the most pivotal moments of Stacy’s life was when she and Chris had experienced the same dream. “We both had a dream that we were going to give birth to our son, and his name was going to be David.”  The dream was a profound experience for them both because at that time they had already had children who were in their teens and twenties. “We thought that we were passed that stage of our lives”, she said.

Little did they know that it would take them 3 years until their dream of baby David would come to fruition. Stacy had struggled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which had made it difficult to conceive, and after lots of heartache and struggle, they finally found a supportive and compassionate team of healthcare practitioners at Carolina Fertility and Asheville Integrative Acupuncture. Stacy was finally able to become pregnant with the son that she had dreamed of, literally!

David is now two months old, and her journey to get him here has given her the insight that everything happens exactly when it’s meant to happen. “I’ve learned that timing is everything and it always works out the way it’s meant to. If we had gotten pregnant with David right away, we wouldn’t have had the time to build this network of love and support that we have today. It would have been much more difficult to do everything that we do on a day-to-day basis, without the friendships we have built over the past few years.” Stacy’s favorite bible verse, one that she refers to often, is Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

“Our family trusts in the gospel, that Jesus came to pay the debt we could not, and all the promises of God. We attend Biltmore Church and attempt each day to live in a way that brings honor to the Lord”, Stacy said.

You can find the Raspberry Fields bounty at the Hendersonville Farmers Market on Saturdays, the Etowah Farmers Market on Wednesdays, and the Flat Rock Farmers Market on Thursdays. Be sure to savor the taste of the fresh raspberries, jams, vinegars, breads, muffins, cobblers, and cheesecakes. Stacy’s berries are also included in the CSA for TRACTOR, a nonprofit food hub in Burnsville. You can also pick up some products at Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery, a sustainable grocery store in Greenville, S.C. Raspberry Fields has big plans for the future and they hope to open up their farm for events, which will be perfect for all the destination weddings in the Asheville area.

Raspberry Fields

localraspberries@gmail.com

raspberryfieldswnc.com

Facebook and Instagram
@raspberryfieldswnc

Monica Rousseau

Monica Rousseau

Monica Rousseau is an innovator, a mentor, and a leader that has helped shape her community in positive ways with her optimism and forward-thinking attitude. She is a proud mama of 5 kids, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and an example of everything you can achieve when you believe in yourself.

She takes great pride in her work as principal broker at Realty ONE Group Pivot, one of the fastest growing real estate firms in Western North Carolina. Monica opened the office in 2019 because she wanted to offer a different kind of firm, one that is edgy and dynamic. She says it’s more of an “UNbrokerage” firm, where brokers can grow their businesses and provide for their families in an encouraging atmosphere that is agent-centric. Her business thrives on a culture of connectivity and support. “A rising tide raises all ships”, she says, and when one of her team members is thriving, the entire team is a success. The hallmark of her company is the mentorship and coaching approach she takes with each agent, becoming a teacher, confidant, and friend. This approach truly allows the team to become ONE family. Her brokers also utilize the most advanced technology tools to grow their businesses. For example, they were already strongly established in the online platform, so when Covid-19 hit and the industry had to make huge transitions, Realty ONE Group Pivot didn’t miss a beat and it has been business as usual throughout the pandemic.

Realty ONE Group Pivot is a full-service concierge brokerage firm that works with new construction, residential, land, and commercial spaces. They do everything for their clients from cleaning out spaces, coordinating services, estate sales, and introducing them to the best local hangouts. They anticipate their clients needs and they keep the process as seamless as possible in order to remove any stress factors. Monica’s favorite part of the job is building relationships with agents, clients, and the community. Buying and selling real estate, in particular, someone’s family home, is one of the most stressful events in life. “This job allows us, as brokers, to be a part of the most intimate space in a person’s life…their home. It’s so special to be a part of that.”

When this boss babe is not running her business and supporting her team of 36 brokers, you can find her advocating for her community through programs like Safelight and serving on various committees for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. One of Monica’s proudest accomplishments was starting GAFA Studios, a non-profit dance studio in Wilmington, NC. Her daughter is an accomplished dancer and when her dance studio closed down, Monica decided to open up her own space. She has always been passionate about empowering children and is a strong advocate for their wellbeing, as well as an activist in ending child sex trafficking. The studio served as a means to accomplish that by helping boys and girls find their intrinsic worth, to know their gifts, and to feel good about themselves. “Everyone has greatness inside of them and I love to help other people find that greatness.”

The most important thing to Monica is her beloved family. Her greatest joy in life is when her and her husband get to watch their 5 kids do all the things they love to do such as football, softball, dance, and track. They are a family of athletes and her eldest son loves competing with her in the Spartan race (Monica is currently training for a triathlon). She will often bring her kids with her to the office to help educate them on the ins and outs of business operations.

Monica spends her free time training for races, playing golf, swimming, surfing, and skiing. She also loves to cook and is a huge jokester. “If it’s not fun, I’m not doin’ it”, she says.  She doesn’t take herself too seriously and she strives to live from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. “I have faults and I make mistakes. It’s okay to pick yourself up, dust your knees off, and keep moving forward every day”, she says. She knows that we are all still learning and becoming the best versions of ourselves. “I get up in the morning to help people reach their goals, that’s what drives me the most”, she says.

MONICA ROUSSEAU
Principal Broker
319 N King Street
Hendersonville, NC 28792
m: 828.676.7264
o: 828.595.2494
https://linktr.ee/rousseau

Trish Luzzi–Going the Extra Mile

Trish Luzzi–Going the Extra Mile

Trish Luzzi has been on the back of a motorcycle since she was 16 years old. Her love of freedom and exploration has given her the reputation of being a gypsy among her family and friends. Her openness to adventure is what led her from Canada to the United States to pursue her career in the media and real estate industries. She is passionate about encouraging others to take chances and follow their dreams. Helping people achieve their goals is what makes her the dedicated, determined, and savvy real estate advisor that she is today.

Trish has a great team of professionals at Engel & Völkers, and she feels blessed to work with Bethany Behrmann, their amazing broker in charge, who guides and encourages the team daily in their professional careers. Trish has lots of personal experience with buying and selling homes which motivated her to get her real estate license in 2018. Real estate is a way for Trish to help people settle down and get to where they want to be on their journeys. She wears many hats in the industry and enjoys both sides of a real estate transaction, whether that be selling someone’s home or finding them their next dream home.

To Trish, it’s not just about the brick and mortar of the home. It’s about going that extra mile for her clients. That can mean getting her hands dirty in crawl spaces and attics, understanding water and radon testing, being knowledgeable about septic systems and wells, and establishing trusting friendships with her clients. She goes above and beyond to make sure all the details are taken care of and her client can feel at ease throughout the process. She is able to get the resources her clients need so that they don’t have to sweat the small stuff. For instance, Trish had some out-of-state clients who purchased a home, but were not moving into the home for several months. Trish would check on their house every week and pick up their mail. Trish embodies everything you could want in a real estate advisor. She has keen negotiation skills, she’s detail oriented, a great problem solver, and to top it all off, she has a fun loving and charismatic personality.

Trish and her partner, Jim, also co-own Aero Property Investors where they work with people who want to get into the real estate game, but don’t want to handle all the aspects of property management and house flipping. Their company’s goal is to maximize their client’s funds by helping them invest in local and affordable real estate. They also work with realtors and clients to clear out homes in preparation for closings.

Trish’s journey began in Hamilton, Ontario, where she served as the Community Relations Representative for the McDonald’s Corporation. One of the greatest achievements of her career was serving on the board of directors to build a Ronald McDonald House in her home town. While raising money for the project, she met Don Luzzi, her future father-in-law and mentor, and the person that catalyzed her career in the media industry. Don was the president of two radio stations in Hamilton & Toronto and Trish was impressed by his sharp negotiating skills, cleverness, and refined business sense. She knew from their first meeting that she wanted to work for him and had asked him for a job at his station. After a few years of working for different radio stations, Don hired her at his station for sales and marketing. His integrity and leadership skills separated him from the rest of the pack and the skills Trish learned from him early on in her career left a lasting mark on her for years to come. She has been divorced from her ex-husband for a long time, but she continues to remain close to Don, and he continues to be one of her closest advisors.

Trish’s own father passed away when she was just a little girl, and her mother taught her and her siblings to always be strong willed and autonomous. When Trish went through difficult times in her life, her family reminded her to stay true to her independent, spontaneous, and adventurous spirit. This sentiment is what inspired her to get her motorcycle license. She was determined to be the driver of her own destiny, not just a passenger along for the ride.

Trish’s sense of adventure led her from Canada to the United States, where she became a permanent resident and lived in Florida and Connecticut, eventually settling down in North Carolina. She has managed teams of account executives whose focus was helping realtors market themselves in the digital world. She also worked with big companies such as Sotheby’s and Coldwell Banker to assist them in utilizing their marketing dollars to attract buyers and sellers. While living in Connecticut, she became the Senior Director of Sales Operations for Hearst Connecticut Media.

Trish had always been determined to move to the Carolinas and when she met her partner, Jim Fritz, they were able to make that dream a reality. Trish and Jim share a love of adventure and motorcycles, so the winding and scenic mountain roads of Western North Carolina were a major draw for them. “It doesn’t take much of a nudge from either of us to drop what we are doing and go for a ride any month of the year.” A typical ride for them lasts from 3 to 10 hours and they can end up in another state just to go to lunch.“We have covered all of the Northeast, including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont. Our best trip so far, was a 6-day trip from Connecticut to the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia with a group of friends.” Her true home is on a bike, boat, or a horse, and is where she finds her ultimate peace of mind. Tragedy struck when Trish had a bad car accident a few years ago and she found herself apprehensive about getting back on her bike. With the support and encouragement of Jim, she is determined to get back to riding and becoming that adventurous free spirit once again.

Trish hasn’t let go of her media background and is also an account executive for AVL Media Inc. and does freelance work for SOFIA magazine. She is proud to be a part of the publication because it focuses on local business women and has featured some great gals on the cover, many of whom she works with in her industry.

On a personal level, Trish is super optimistic and there is no place for negativity in her world. She can always find the good in any situation. While she strives to be the best version of herself, she knows it’s also important, especially for women, to love ourselves the way we are, and be comfortable in our own skin in order to truly give to others and to be of service. She is a Rotarian with the Hendersonville Rotary Club and some of her major goals for 2021 include completing 30 charitable activities (she has a food drive set up in her neighborhood for Manna food bank in February), as well as taking 30 hikes, and 30 motorcycle rides.

Trish Luzzi
Real Estate Advisor
ENGEL & VÖLKERS Asheville
trish.luzzi@evrealestate.com
trishluzzi.evrealestate.com
828-423-0248

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
For more
information, visit acuwellhealth.com

Sabrina West – Helping Others Attain Their Dreams, One Mortgage At A Time

Sabrina West – Helping Others Attain Their Dreams, One Mortgage At A Time

Sabrina West’s ambition has been stirring in her since she was just a child. The story of where she came from, and where she ended up, with the twists and turns along the way, has helped cultivate the savvy business woman she is today. As a wife, a mother of 5 wonderful children (one of whom has special needs), a caregiver to her elderly parents, a fitness guru, and a lioness in the mortgage industry, this powerhouse of a woman is truly a self-made success.

Sabrina’s roots run deep in these mountains and her relatives have been in the Asheville area for generations. She comes from a good hearted, salt of the earth, working class family. Her father, a disabled veteran, did his best to provide for his family, despite experiencing tremendous financial hardships. As a child, there were times when they went without heat, and would gather in the living room with sleeping bags to keep warm by the fire. The financial challenges during her upbringing were offset by her family’s perseverance and strong bond. Their struggles also served as the fuel she needed to trailblaze her own success story.

Sabrina’s mother has been a huge influence on her life. She’s been a devoted wife for 58 years and is the epitome of a saint. Her strength, nonjudgmental attitude, and enduring patience has been a guide for Sabrina throughout her life. “I was a rebel, so I challenged her, but she has always accepted me for who I am. She knows the right words to say all the time, and her enduring positivity and kindness comes from her faith in God.” Her mom has taught her to stay motivated, and stay true to her path, even when things get tough.

At age 12, Sabrina began assisting her mother with bookkeeping at her fathers’ garage, and then at age 15, she started a job in accounting at Paty’s Building Company. Numbers became easy to her, out of necessity. If she wanted something for herself, she had to know exactly how much money was required and how hard she needed to work for it. As a teen, she would write herself notes with positive affirmations, and stick them all around her room. She would read these reminders daily, until she believed her own truth – that anything is possible if you live your life with dedication and intention. This mindset would help guide her throughout her career, especially when helping others actualize their own financial goals.

She graduated from AC Reynolds High School and was the first in her family to go to college. She went to East Tennessee State University, where she studied physical therapy, a path that was inspired by her father’s disabilities, but decided to shift gears. She came back to her home town and did course work at the University of North Carolina and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute.

Sabrina became a single mom at age 25, and was waiting on tables, while working on a plan to provide the ideal life for her baby girl. She found herself taking the first steps toward her 18-year career in the mortgage industry, first as a receptionist, and then moving onto accounting and loan processing. She received her mortgage broker license to diversify her stream of income, but in addition to sales, continued to work on the operations side of the business for several years.

During the financial crash of 2008, Sabrina temporarily got out of the business, and was inspired to teach fitness by her close friend and mentor, Kim Hreha. Sabrina has always been interested in her own health and fitness, and teaching at Kim’s strength training center, HF Center of Exercise Science, provided her with an opportunity to develop her leadership skills. Kim saw Sabrina’s strengths, and taught her to believe in herself, while empowering others to do the same.

With an ignited passion to help others, Sabrina had the confidence to open Guaranteed Rate, a residential mortgage company, in 2017. Her in-depth knowledge of the operations side of the business, combined with her sales background, bolstered a successful foundation for her company. She was able to build a strong, cooperative team of 7 VP ‘s of mortgage lending. “They are the best of the best!”, she says. Sabrina and her team assist their clients in making educated home buying decisions, and achieving their mortgage goals within 30 days or less.

“Our culture and industry have moved to technology where people no longer meet in person, and transactions are completed with online signing, emails, and texting. It is important to me to continue to make a personal connection and establish rapport with my clients. I talk to them on the phone or in person to solidify that trust from the very beginning. I work hard to find an individual mortgage plan for them”, she says. Her team continues to support their clients by ensuring that they understand each and every step of the lending process.

“This is not an easy business. You need a tough skin and quitting is not an option”, says Sabrina. She has been called a “fighter” because she works hard for her clients. If their dreams and goals seem out of reach, she helps them find practical ways to achieve them. She looks at their debts, helps them organize their finances, balance their budgets, and creates solutions. Her system is centered on highly individualized mortgage plans, which are unique to each customer.

Home-buying is among the most stressful life events (alongside death and divorce). Anxiety is a natural part of this industry, and these types of big life changes require the highest level of support. Finances are personal, and there is a great deal of vulnerability involved. Numbers are black and white, but it’s important to Sabrina that she relates to her clients on a humanistic level, outside of just the numbers. She thinks of herself as a time traveler because she meets people wherever they are on their journey. Whether her clients are first time home buyers, or retirees planning for the future, Sabrina knows that trust is a major component of their relationship.

Sabrina finds great reward in working with people who are going through major life changes. A memorable experience for her was when she worked with a divorcée whose 26-year marriage had come to an end. Her client had always been a stay at home mom, and was now faced with the task of redefining herself, starting over, finding a new home, and a new career path. It meant a lot to Sabrina to be able to empower and support her client through these massive transitions. “I believe God gave each one of us special gifts; helping people discover these gifts motivates me daily”, says Sabrina. 

Sabrina was the only female top producing branch manager in her region from 2017 to 2019 and her achievements led to recognition by Guaranteed Rate, as well as a feature in the Scotsman Guide as one of the nation’s top-producing mortgage lenders. “There are many strong women in this industry and I am so proud to work with some of the best realtors, attorneys, and lenders on a daily basis”, she says.

“We have to work hard every day in our fast-paced culture to find balance with work, life, kids, parents, spouses, and friends. We must live with intention, make choices we are proud of, take moments to share a smile, give a pep talk, breathe, and most of all, listen”. Sabrina came to this discovery after her near-death experience during the birth of her youngest son. He was recently diagnosed with Autism, after many years of searching for a diagnosis. This experience propelled her to focus on all his positive gifts, and nurture them to the fullest. It taught her to be optimistic, encouraging, and to never give up. Everything she has been through, and everything she has overcome, has brought her to a place of abundance in her life. When people say they can’t, she responds, “yes you can”. She is living proof.

When asked to shed some pearls of business insight to women who may be starting out or transitioning into new careers, Sabrina answered, “be coachable, ask lots of questions, educate yourself, be an expert in your field, and laugh at yourself. Challenges create character, and there are no mistakes, just new lessons to learn”.

Guaranteed Rate
30 Town Square Blvd Suite 206 Asheville, NC 28803 
(828) 778-4224  cell
(828) 412-4337  office
Sabrina.West@rate.com 
rate.com/sabrinawest

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