After leaving a successful marketing and management career in the computer industry, Marie Hefley sought ways to broaden her perspective beyond the world of business. As a liberal arts undergrad, she had learned much about the world outside her window, but twenty years in business had narrowed her focus to products and numbers and customers. When the opportunity presented itself, she sought the MLAS program as a means of widening her focus and perhaps discovering new areas of interest.
Marie had been out of the academic environment for thirty years when she took the plunge. The classes “knocked off the rust in short order” as the rigor of the program demanded sharp critical thinking and communication skills. “The professors presented new ways to think about old ideas and encouraged us, at every turn, to challenge ourselves and our beliefs.”
A big believer in reinventing herself “every ten or fifteen years to stay fresh,” Marie pursued the general curriculum until taking a creative writing class halfway through the program. “Nothing else grabbed my interest that semester, so I thought, why not?” From that point on, she took nothing but writing classes, a plan which launched her on a new trajectory. Her new craft prepared her for her current stint as a writer and editor of The Great Smokies Review, the creative writing journal of UNC—Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program.
A “Jersey Girl,” Marie came to the Asheville area twenty-six years ago and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She is married with two step-daughters and one grandson. When not writing or editing, Marie loves to cook (and eat!).