Who We Are…

MountainWise is all of the Western North Carolina region. The people that make up the heritage and rich cultural fabric of our communities are who MountainWise is and what it represents. Facilitated by Macon County Public Health, MountainWise is supported by each of the Health Departments in our region:

The MountainWise team consists of four program-specific Regional Coordinators, a Communications and Development Coordinator, Bilingual Lifestyle Coach for Diabetes Prevention Program, a fiscal lead and one Project Director. These folks are based in Health Departments throughout the region, but are usually out and about doing great work in their communities.

Sarah Tennyson, MPH

Project Director

While she may originally be from Charleston, SC, Sarah has thrived while living in the mountains. After earning a Masters in Public Health from Georgia State University, Sarah worked for OurVoice and Western NC AIDS Project as a health educator responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a variety of different HIV and violence prevention strategies. Now at MountainWise, Sarah wants to keep our mountain communities healthy by supporting the existing efforts of people that have been taking care of each other, growing their own food, and working hard for centuries.

Hakuna Matata

While you may have heard the phrase "hakuna matata" from the movie, Lion King, William has confirmed for us that it really does mean no worries for the rest of your days. He uses this phrase often to describe his living and working in the mountains. Thankful for the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of residents of WNC has been his most enjoyable experience of working for MountainWise.

William Pertet, MHSc, RD

Regional Minority Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator

While the mountains of WNC may not have anything on the peaks of his hometow, Ngong Hills, Kenya – William enjoys exploring the beautiful mountain trails, towering waterfalls and the vast lakes that make our region so exciting to visit. Relocating to WNC in August of 2011 to attend school – obtaining his Associate of Science from Young Harris College and later receiving both his Bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University with a concentration in Dietetics and Master’s of Health Science in Nutrition from Western Carolina University. William brings a unique approach to providing support to our region’s partners with his background in clinical work as a Dietitian.

Joining the MountainWise team in July of 2016. William has enjoyed the opportunity to connect and collaborate with various healthcare professionals and other partners to ensure our communities are empowered to lead strong and healthy lives. William enjoys his current role as the Regional Minority Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator, where he helps to identify community organizations to support their efforts in expanding the diabetes prevention program and recruitment of priority populations.

Working Wise

When she's not collaborating with our regional partners - you can find Nan spending time with family and friends or better yet, she might just been hanging out with her adorable little Havanese, Murphy, cooking, knitting or spending majority of her time exploring the very thing that lead her to calling WNC home - the beauty of the mountains!

Nan Kramer, MPH

Worksite Wellness Coordinator

Nan always knew the mountains of WNC held a special place in her heart, from summers spent rock hopping and exploring all of the beauty from the rivers and waterfalls, to the hiking trails during family vacations. Originally from Charlotte, Nan felt a connection with the mountains – rich with culture and beauty abound -“I just couldn’t wait to make this area my forever home!” Relocating to the area in July of 2007, Nan studied at UNCA and received her BA in Health and Wellness Promotion, after which she went on to attend East Tennessee State University where she obtained a Masters in Public Health.

This passion for health and wellness landed her a role with MountainWise in July of 2016, serving as the Community Health Coordinator to now serving as the Worksite Wellness Coordinator. Coordinating Workwise Employee Wellness Programs throughout the region means working with numerous sites within our 8 county region to provide tools and resources to help shape the culture of the work environment around health.

Tobin Lee

Regional Tobacco Prevention Manager

After growing up in Ocala, FL, Tobin’s favorite thing about living in western North Carolina is the mountain seasons. He received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Science Education with a specialization in Community Health Education from the University of Florida. Tobin was happy to leave the heat of Florida behind and now enjoys working at MountainWise and making new friends in the mountains.

Shaina Clark, MA

Communications and Development Coordinator

Everyday, Shaina loves exploring in the beautiful weather of WNC. Originally from Greensboro North Carolina, Shaina studied at East Carolina University (ECU) where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication.  She went on to complete her Master’s in Communication with an emphasis in Health also from ECU. She loves MountainWise because it has afforded her the chance to build partnerships that not only support her in her role but also makes her job more meaningful. “When we can come together as one unit to meet the greater needs of the communities we serve.”

Jenni Irwin

Youth Tobacco Prevention Coordinator

Jenni hails from Pierre, South Dakota – just a couple of hours east of one of the most historic landmarks in U.S. history, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Jenni obtained her BA in Nursing from Jamestown College located in Jamestown, ND were she went on to work in mental health and substance use prevention with a primary focus on work with at risk youth and families. Moving to Murphy in November of 2003, she says one of her favorite things about living in WNC is “THE MOUNTAINS especially during the fall – the colors are amazing!” If you ask her what she thinks about working for MountainWise, she’ll simply stay “The staff – if you haven’t had a chance to meet them – they are so much fun and they welcomed me into the family immediately.”