I love working with people who have the same goals, values, passions and interests that I do. But I also love learning from others... being a part of something bigger than myself, seeing others' talents at work while expanding my own. Leaders are more than people at the heads of efforts, companies and causes. They are the voices that actually lead us to think better, not just bigger, and I've been privileged to work with so many, a few of whom thoughtfully wrote about me below. I hope you'll check out their businesses and causes and find ways to plug in yourself.

I love Cathy’s West End Bakery Cookbook for many reasons. The lay out is great with usually only one recipe per page which makes it easy to stay focused. The recipes are not too complex and lend themselves to interpretation, substitution, and creativity while using simple and easily accessed ingredients. All that I have made from this book has turned out tasty and happy. Ten thumbs up. I can’t wait for the next one.

This cookbook has been a god send and a go to guide for me at our farm noon time dinner. We are a motley bunch with big appetites and varying dietary practices. I have found many recipes that have fed and pleased vegetarian, vegan, meat eaters and more.  One of our favorites this past summer was pad thai style salad that we replaced the noodles with spiraled zucchini. Delicious. Next book please.
— Isaiah – Owner of Flying Cloud Farm
I grew up cooking Hot Pockets in the microwave, so when I took over cooking for my three young kids, I was really at a loss. The West End Bakery Cookbook quickly became one of my main sources for figuring out what to feed my family. Most of the recipes are easy enough to make while helping with homework and are made with ingredients that we stock, so it wasn’t a huge extra undertaking at dinner time - or an extra errand.

I grab Cathy’s cookbook at least once a week. Some of the recipes have become our family’s comfort food.”
— -Scotty Utz, Non-Profit Executive Director and Blacksmithing Instructor -Weaverville, NC

I’d always admired Cathy for her contribution to the transformation of West Asheville as one of the founders of West End Bakery, but it was not until I had the chance to work directly with her on a project that I really got to know her and experience all that she brings to the table (A LOT!!). I had the pleasure of working with Cathy on the NC Organic Bread Flour Project, which eventually led to the launch of Carolina Ground — a flour mill dedicated to closing the gap between farmer, miller, and baker in the South. Cathy was one of a handful of bakers that attended that first meeting where we pulled our chairs into a circle and began the discussion of what it would mean to connect the farmer, miller, and baker in the NC. Three years later Carolina Ground was born and I honestly cannot imagine pulling this off without Cathy’s contribution. She is a doer, a team player and a leader. She is my favorite person to organize an event with partly because she always does what she says she will do (plus more) and she can handle difficult people! Cathy is simply a gem.
— Jennifer Lapidus, Founder Carolina Ground

Find out more about Jennifer and Carolina Ground carolinaground.com


Find out more about Jodi at www.jodirhoden.com

I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy in many different capacities over the course of two decades. Her dedication to community food security and celebrating the harvest in so many ways is at the heart of all of her work, from how she sourced and managed ingredients at the West End Bakery (where I worked for three years as a baker), to her support of and leadership in organizations such as FEAST and Bountiful Cities, to her books celebrating the rich traditions of farm-to-table cooking. Cathy’s spirit of joy and collaboration is contagious, and her insightful and thoughtful approach to both cooking and community has made Asheville a better place. 
— Jodi Rhoden - Writer, baker, activist, and entrepreneur

I have known Cathy Cleary for 7 years and in many different capacities. I have known her as a friend, a boss, a co-worker, a volunteer and just as a person. I first count Cathy as friend, but she was also my boss and supervisor at West End Bakery and through FEAST. She was always there for me (as well as all of her employees) and is the best boss you could ask for. She is confident and smart as well as kind and understanding. Even when you make mistakes (like using salt in your cookies instead of sugar!), Cathy is the first one to help you fix it. She does not get easily upset, instead she works to solve whatever the problem is and works to make things better. Cathy is an amazing woman and I am so thankful to count her as a great friend!
— Nan - Regional Community Health Coordinator with Mountainwise

Working alongside Cathy to promote school gardening and healthy eating has been a treat. She’s the real deal — an educator devoted to children learning how their food is grown and prepared, and about equity around food choices in our diverse community. She has been a tireless advocate for poor and disenfranchised families, and has worked hard to raise funds for education around nutrition at the k-8 level. Oh, and did I forget to mention that she’s an amazing cook? She is!
— Lisa-Gaye Hall, Founder & President, Asheville North Star Recovery