We Welcome a New Executive Director

After more than three decades of advocating for the French Broad River and its watershed, Asheville-based RiverLink will have a new leader. Dr. Lisa Raleigh hails from Colorado and holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Oklahoma. A geologist and hydrologist by training, Raleigh has had an extensive career in marketing and PR, and in the nonprofit sector where she spent over a decade as the Director of Advancement at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, and most recently worked as a nonprofit leadership and fundraising consultant. 

Lisa Raleigh in her native Colorado Habitat.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the RiverLink team as the new Executive Director as it is the perfect culmination of all my professional skills and personal passions. Given RiverLink’s rich history and legacy promoting the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and watershed, this is a tremendous responsibility and one that I look forward to sharing with the talented and dedicated staff and Board members.” says Raleigh.

Dr. Anne Keller, RiverLink’s Board Chair shares, “RiverLink is incredibly fortunate to have a great new leader in Lisa. She is passionate, experienced, knowledgeable about rivers and watersheds, a successful fundraiser, and generally a wonderful addition to the Asheville community. She is also warm, caring and engaging, so I know that Asheville will embrace her quickly.”

As only the third ED in the organization’s history, Raleigh is committed to carrying forward the vision and transformational work of founder Karen Cragnolin, who championed the river’s cause for three decades. Raleigh follows Garrett Artz who led RiverLink for the past five years including successfully navigating the challenging times of Covid. 

As the team looks forward to RiverLink’s next chapters, the organization remains committed to conservation, education, and experiencing the river and watershed first-hand. From RiverCamp, to the Central Asheville Watershed Project and the Woodfin Greenway & Blueway Project, immediate opportunities abound for ongoing positive impact, and soon we will bring Karen Cragnolin Park to fruition. Dedicated to RiverLink’s founder, this 5.33-acre tract of land in the French Broad River park corridor has gone through a significant transformation from former junkyard to reclaimed, open greenspace, and will become another critical piece of the 17-mile Wilma Dykeman Riverway. In the near future, RiverLink will share more information regarding the park’s next implementation steps and how you can support our efforts.

Raleigh will arrive in mid-September to officially take the reins, but has been working remotely on RiverLink’s behalf since early August. On the personal front, Raleigh is deeply committed to human rights and environmental issues. An international traveler passionate about most things outdoors, she is an avid hiker, road biker, and climber. Raleigh is also the proud mother of daughters Sunni and Belle, both of whom were born in Cambodia, and now are attending Smith College and Fort Lewis College, respectively. Raleigh and her husband Duane greatly look forward to immersing themselves in all that Asheville has to offer.