| By Anita Riley |
If you ask Brandi Hillman where she gets her tenacity, she’ll tell you it comes from her mother, who learned it from her mother. “My maternal grandmother was from a large, tobacco farming family in Madison County, and my maternal grandfather was from a very large family with long-term roots in Jackson County. All the women in these families were strong influences in creating a true connection to Western North Carolina’s independent attitude,” Brandi said. Wanda Stephens Herren set an example for her daughters that if you want something, you go out and do it. She never let anything stand in the way of her goal. Brandi recalls her mother overcoming obstacles as a single mother with a dream. If there was something she wanted she would find a way to raise the money to get it. She earned her real estate license and her contractor’s license so that she would have the means to support her family.