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Our Staff

John Wingerter of Council on Aging
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Rachel Miller, Director of Agency
Ext. 1305   rachelm[at]
Team member since 2022

“As a multi-generation family caregiver, I am passionate about caregiver support and simplifying resource navigation.  I’m a Buncombe County native proudly living on the same plot of land where I was raised. 

I am a graduate of Western Carolina University with a BS in Communications / Public Relations.  Before joining COAbc, I was the Executive Director of DayStay Adult Day Services.

I am a past chair of the Buncombe Aging Services Alliance, a past representative for the Buncombe County Aging Advocacy committee, and I am a current member of numerous age-friendly and elder justice committees.”

Emily Benson, Director of Programs
Ext. 1316    emilyb[at]
Team member since 2021

“I started my journey of working with older adults at age 12 volunteering with the Adult Life Center in Conover, NC, and fell in love. I knew from that moment I wanted to make a difference in the lives of older adults. Working with the Council on Aging’s senior dining program does just that. Offering nutritious meals, activities, and solicitation with people in the same age group feeds people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

I grew up in Hickory, NC then attended UNC Charlotte for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I graduated with a Master’s in Gerontology. For the last 20 years, I lived in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Previously I ran a similar program in Iredell County.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my cat, listening to podcasts, and reading. I am really looking forward to exploring my new home!”

Abby Landry, Medicare Program Manager
Ext. 1304     abbyl[at]
Team member since 2023

“With more than 14 years of experience under my belt, as a Wellness Director in a retirement community, I have enjoyed positively impacting the well-being of older adults. I have learned just as much from them as they have from me – they truly inspire me in many ways.

I am a proud native of Western North Carolina and a graduate of Appalachian State University. My connection to the outdoors is what keeps me going, as I frequently immerse myself in nature through activities like mountain biking, hiking, trail running, paddling, and climbing.”

Maggi Mendoza, Affordable Care Act Program Manager 
Ext. 1327   maggim[at]
Team member since 2023

“I grew up in California, the youngest girl in a family of 5 siblings. My father was a bracero and worked in the agricultural industry. I attended 13 schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. I knew at 9 years old that I would serve people and be a helper.

I was a military spouse. As part of a special pilot program, I was afforded the opportunity to serve the public in multiple government programs across this country and abroad. I learned how to adapt to changes quickly and I fell in love with humanity. Every person I interacted with, in service, was like receiving a gift of knowledge and wisdom. I thrive on going to where the people are and providing information and resources. I also bake a mean lasagna.

In 2019, we moved to NC to take part in a transplant program at UNC. I met and connected with many diverse community groups with the same vision of helping the public. My partner passed away in Feb 2023. In May, I decided to stay here to continue my work with the communities of WNC and I joined the ACA Navigator Team at COAbc.”

Erin Spreng, Resource Coordinator
Ext. 1323 erins[at]
Team member since 2021

Erin holds a Master of Social Work degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has a background with AmeriCorps, departments of aging, hunger initiatives, and in clinics.

Steffie Duginske, Family Caregiver Support Specialist 
Ext. 1303   steffied[at]
Team member since 2022

“My career has focused on health and wellness programs pre-K through centennial in various areas including health & physical education teacher in public schools, public health educator via the health department and/or hospital setting focusing on leading community health assessments, preconception health, healthy living, and tobacco treatment, as well as Meals on Wheels supervisor with Health & Human Services.”  

Steffie holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Indiana University, a Health Coaching Certificate from UNC-Greensboro, and is a certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist through UNC-Chapel Hill/Duke.  “I’m a Midwestern Indiana Hoosier and have enjoyed living in the south for over 20 years – calling it home with my family.”


Jennifer Jacobs, Medicare Assistant
Ext. 1310   jenniferj[at]
Team member since 2023

Judy Wilson, Admin. Assistant
Ext. 1300   judyw[at]
Team member since 2023 

Greg Payne, Minor Home Repair
Team member since 2023

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