About Us

Ruth BirgeVision Henderson County is led by Executive Director Ruth Birge.

Birge relocated to Hendersonville in 2002 from Lakeland, Florida to serve as Publisher of the Times-News, a position she held until December 2008. After 22 years in the newspaper business, Birge became Executive Director of the United Way of Henderson County in 2009, a position she held until March of 2015.

In addition to her role as Vision Henderson County Executive Director, she advises the Hendersonville Lightning, a locally owned weekly newspaper, on strategies for sales, marketing and circulation.

Birge was the 2015 recipient of the Sauer Charitable Award, the Community Foundation of Henderson County’s highest honor awardd to individuals who provide outstanding leadership through their personal philanthropic efforts in Henderson County. In 2016, she was honored with a lifetime membership into the North Carolina Press Association due to her distinguished service in the field of journalism and newspaper publishing.

A native of Indiana, she is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, majoring in Advertising and Marketing.

Vision Henderson County participants meet the 2nd Thursday of each month, September through May. Each day-long class is spent meeting with local officials, community leaders and touring businesses and organizations that make Henderson County viable. Vision covers local government, economic development, business and industry, law enforcement and public safety, cultural resources and arts, the environment and natural resources and education.

Among the skills participants become familiar with are:

  • Inclusiveness - learning to listen and include persons who look, think and act differently than themselves.
  • Trusteeship - people who see the common good and make decisions with many perspectives in view.
  • Vision - moving from an understanding of the past and "how it's always been done" to acting on strengths and creating and acting on a shared community vision.
  • Change Agent - learning to live with change, ambiguity and common diversity.