On June 15, Julie Lehman begins her tenure as Montreat fund and major gifts director after having served for ten years in a similar capacity at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa.
Though certainly not new to these mountains and though she has a distinguished career as a development officer, she sees this new direction in her life a significant and somewhat “predestined” challenge: “For the past 25 years, my family, my church, and I have encountered God with every visit to Montreat. Directing the Montreat Fund gives me the perfect opportunity to return thanks as well as ensuring such encounters for the many youth, families and churches yet to venture through the gates.”
She came to Warren Wilson in 2005 as director of church relations after the Rev. Fitz Legerton retired from that position. In 2013, she transitioned to the position of development director. Under her leadership, the college gained new support from a variety of national and regional faith-affiliated individuals and organizations. She significantly grew its scholarship and endowment funds.
She ran the G.D. Davidson annual lectures, bringing nationally recognized speakers to campus to tell their stories of vocational exploration and discovery. She secured financial support for the college which enabled it to endow a faculty position and add new academic buildings to the campus.
The Warren Wilson College administration praised her for her engaging personality and her contagious enthusiasm – and success – in helping people, church congregations, and other resources find their level of financial support that is both appropriate and a challenge.
Lehman has degrees from Davidson College and Columbia Theological Seminary, where she studied environmental theology and ethics. She is married to the Rev. Michael Poulos, associate pastor for youth and outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Asheville.
Lynn Tuggle Gilliland, vice president for development at Montreat Conference Center, is excited that someone with her background and talents is taking this new position with the conference center: “Her experience as a development officer, her commitment to the church, her engaging personality, and her love for and history with Montreat make her a perfect fit for this position.”
And the feeling is mutual.
“I can’t wait,” says Lehman, “to meet the many patrons who make Montreat’s mission possible and share what we love about this mountain retreat ministry.”