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By Kim Anderberg

A hard act to follow: Honoring Gloria Anders at AHG

In 2017, the American Herbalists Guild turns an important chapter since its inception, creation and subsequent successes. It is with a fond and misty farewell that AHG honors the important work of Gloria Anders, acknowledging an enthusiastic herbalist and exceptional member of the community. In the past four years, Gloria has held title of office manager and events manager at AHG through considerable challenges and is considered to be a central strength for the organization.

An Asheville and WNC native, Gloria's love for herbalism began in her childhood, eating roots and plants, learning "what to pick and how to cook it," says Gloria. Her grandmother, who grew up near max patch, taught Gloria essential medicinal and foraging skills which have instilled in her a deep sense of respect and passion for this art and for Appalachia.

After two career changes and her mother's battle with Alzheimer's, Gloria decided to follow her true love and pursue herbalism. She attended The Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism and studied clinical herbalism under Corey Pine Shane. Gloria came into the fold at AHG in April of 2013. Beginning as an intern under the guidance of national director, Mimi Hernandez, Gloria was an instant fit. With such humble beginnings as AHG saw, Gloria moved through many changes and growth with the confidence to achieve their goals.

Over a short period of time Gloria became a central hub of organization and commitment to the diverse and amazing staff at AHG. With her great attention to detail and cool tenacity, Gloria has ensured the best possible outcomes in so many needs, including Symposium. In management, Gloria's daily tasks and responsibilities have been diverse and she has moved through a constantly demanding work schedule with grace and skill, loving the joy of working with inspired and dedicated people.

Mimi Hernandez recalls the importance of Gloria, as she states, "Through a natural progression, Gloria became not only office manager but also events manager….she takes care of everything office related, she keeps us all coordinated with all the tasks, and most importantly, Gloria is the first point of contact for all members and member issues."

Because of this close contact with its members, Gloria knows AHG intrisically and having been a main leader in organizing symposium, taking care of all of AHG's staff and member's needs, Gloria's dedication is deeply appreciated and will be missed.

"Everyone loves her," says Mimi, "and we love that Appalachian voice." A voice that hails from Jackson county, a voice that has helped connect AHG to its roots through her connection to these mountains.

Gloria looks back on her four years with AHG with a deep fondness and thankfulness knowing that she did in fact accomplish what she set out to do; find occupation in the field of herbalism in her home town. "I loved it because I love herbalism and what it can do for people," says Gloria at a lunch at Heiwa on Lexington Ave., "The American Herbalists Guild supports herbalists….It's a wonderful organization and everything about the AHG really resonated with me. I felt like, 'Yes!' this is what I want to do."

"Working with herbalists is unlike anything else I've ever done in my life," Gloria states with admiration. "They are these super-intelligent people who are so focused on what they are doing…"

Recalling working with AHG, Gloria describes the joys in connecting with so many leaders in the national and international community of herbalists and Authors. "It's all of the textbooks and all of the rockstars in these herbal schools… I'm getting to talk to the people, the people who wrote the books." Meeting her inspiration with her true talents, Gloria has been a jetsetter in ensuring the success of AHG's endeavors.

"It is really important to me to have an office atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and safe and have fun, feel productive, positive… Gloria creates this energy to the core," says Mimi. Although Gloria's position at AHG will surely be filled by another capable supporter, Gloria is an irreplaceable energy who has personally helped to build and fortify the organization.

"And she has great Feng Shui," laughs Mimi. Gloria's first career of 18 years was in interior design, a skill she applied to the growth and changes at AHG. Now, with all her experience in organizing other herbalists, Gloria looks forward to turning her own property into herbal farms, her own cabins into alchemical labs, her own labels onto bottles of carefully formulated healing love.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving," says Gloria. As she transitions her life from organizing herbalists to being a clinical herbalist, she says, "I am excited to finally get to be a practitioner on my families property. But I will miss AHG. The organization and its founders are all amazing."

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