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Just Economics’ Board and Staff Retreat 2022

Board of Directors 2022

  • Philip Cooper, Chair
  • Pat Horrocks, Vice Chair
  • Katrina Griffin, Secretary
  • Don Cole, Treasurer
  • Julia McDowell, Ex officio
  • Diane Allen
  • Gennie Gonzalez
  • Alikhan Salehi
  • Hector Salgado
  • Sam Stites
  • Brandon Vellines
  • Tawnya Watts


Vicki Meath, Executive Director

Vicki comes to Just Economics with a background in community organizing. She has worked on environmental, social and economic justice issues ranging from responsible oil and gas drilling to protecting health and human services in the Ohio state budget. In 2006, Vicki worked with Let Justice Roll and Cleveland Jobs with Justice on the successful campaign to raise the state minimum wage and continued to work with Jobs with Justice on the Cuyahoga County Living Wage Campaign and other worker justice issues. Vicki has a strong commitment to and passion for economic justice work. Vicki has a teenage daughter and has lived in the Asheville area since 2007. Vicki has been involved in a variety of community activities and lives in West Asheville.

Carmen Ybarra

Carmen Ybarra, Community Organizer

Carmen Ybarra is passionate about the work of Just Economics. As a first generation American, she was taught the importance of creating and supporting community. She is focused on doing what she can to improve the lives of others. She is an advocate for affordable housing and for better transit here in Asheville. She is currently on the board of the Buncombe Partnership for Children. Additionally, in 2013, she started SPOT (Supportive Parents of TransKids), and has an activist art project called More than a Hashtag. Currently, she is creating a space for the community to gather monthly called Community Sundays. In her free time, she enjoys photography, teaching Spanish to children, hiking, and spending time with her dog.

Claire Clark, Housing and Wages Organizer

Claire Clark comes to Just Economics with a background as a community activist and organizer, and a passion for building worker power.  A lifelong low wage worker, she has been a worker-leader with NC Raise Up, a member of Reject Raytheon AVL, and is active in the struggles for LGBTQ liberation and reproductive justice.  Claire lives in West Asheville and spends as much of her spare time as possible hiking and indulging her obsession with fly fishing.

Eric Smythers, Living Wage Program Coordinator

Eric comes to Just Economics after spending ten years operating a small business in Asheville.  As a managing partner of Second Gear in West Asheville, Eric led the push to make his business Living Wage Certified.  Eric came to Asheville initially in 1997 as a student at Warren Wilson College, and previously worked for Mountain BizWorks for several years – first as a full-time employee and then as a Board Member.  Eric is passionate about finding a new and just economic model for Western North Carolina that is sustainable for small businesses and employees alike.  In his free time, Eric enjoys word games with his wife Laura, cookouts with his neighbors, walking on the beach with his dogs, and camping with his friends.

Meredith Hammerslag, Young Adult Volunteer

Meredith joins Just Economics through a service year with the Young Adult Volunteer program (YAV) returning once again to Asheville, previously she served fall 2019 up to the pandemic at AHOPE Day Center doing direct service with people experiencing homelessness, this service expanded her understanding of who experiences the struggles of low wage work, housing insecurity, and food scarcity. Beyond direct service, this work also informed her desire to understand the system-wide problems that continue to exacerbate poverty, racism and the growing wealth gap. Meredith graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2018 with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Music Performance. In her free time she enjoys exploring her new mountain home, reading, and baking sweet treats for friends and family.

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