Student Profile: Anna McCrary

As the first Upper School student to complete all of the requirements for the new Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Development (LEAD) program, Anna McCrary has been making strides on a project that she hopes will have a lasting impact on Ashevillians struggling with mental illness.

LEAD requires CDS students to work with local business, nonprofit, and B-corp leaders to learn vital skills for a multitude of industries. This semester, McCrary has been working under the wing of Executive Director Pam Jaillet at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to create a support group with the intention of destigmatizing mental health discussions within local Hispanic communities.

McCrary has learned much about professional communication and how to partner with several organizations to achieve her goals. She knows these skills will serve her well once she graduates, but her main focus is to create and leave behind “a safe space for people to come together and support one another.”

“[The LEAD program] has been such an amazing learning opportunity and I have been able to experience what the ‘real world’ of business and entrepreneurship looks like," McCrary says. "This has been an eye-opening experience and has made me more aware of what is happening in the world around us.”