Meet your speakers!
Interim President & CEO, West End Opportunity Partnership
Women in Leadership Panel
Laura Douglas retired from LG&E and KU in 2017 as the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs. She has stepped into several transitional leadership roles since then. In 2020, she was appointed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer as an interim co-director of TARC, and then tapped in 2021 to serve as the interim CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center.
Douglas attended the University of Louisville and became the first black woman to graduate from the Law School in 1974. Among service on several boards, being a grandmother, and her new role, Laura continues to answer the call to lead out of respect for the invitations and to give back to the community that helped to cultivate her.
Founder and Creative Director, The Presley Post
Women in Leadership Panel
Jasmine is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and wealth building strategist from Louisville, KY on a mission to help thousands of families become financially independent. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, and continued to self educate after college. Jasmine realized how the lack of financial education in the traditional setting causes obstacles on the path to financial freedom, so she created a lifestyle blog to document her own wealth building journey, share financial truths, and inspire others.
In an effort to maximize her impact, Jasmine became a licensed expert in the real estate and financial industries, uniquely positioning herself as a one stop for personal finance. She offers an array of services and advocates for business ownership, homeownership, and financial literacy especially in underserved communities.
Jasmine’s latest business venture includes the opening of The Presley Post, a new coworking space located in the heart of downtown Louisville. The vibrant yet elegant space was designed for Louisville’s entrepreneurs and creatives to connect meaningfully, create freely, and cowork comfortably. The Presley Post offers business services such as printing, WiFi, meeting rooms, and virtual mailboxes. When she’s not working, Jasmine loves to spend quality time with her three children who motivate her and inspire her to build a legacy. She also likes to travel, dance, and read.
President & CEO, Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs
Women in Leadership Panel
Anne Jewell is the President & CEO of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, an independent non-profit with the power to change lives and drive economic development across Kentucky by identifying, inspiring, and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. Storytelling has been at the heart of Anne’s career. She arrived in Kentucky as a reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville, where she earned multiple journalism awards. At the Belle of Louisville steamboat, she led marketing and public relations, and wrote Legendary Lady, The Story of the Belle of Louisville, the definitive history of the beloved National Historic Landmark.
In her 21 years at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Anne led the iconic attraction to record-setting attendance and revenues, while maintaining an exceptional guest experience. She also served as Vice- President for the museum’s parent company, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., helping establish corporate-wide
planning and strategies. Along with many wide-ranging exhibit storylines, Anne also wrote Baseball in Louisville and a children’s book, The Big Bat.
Louisville Tourism honored Anne with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. She recently served as a volunteer judge for the Technovation Girls Challenge, a global nonprofit program that equips girls and young women with skills to become tech entrepreneurs. Anne has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Denison University, and a Master’s in Psychology from Wake Forest University. Her interests include travel, art, history, and fitness.
Kish Cumi Price
President & CEO, Louisville Urban League
Women in Leadership Panel
Kish Cumi Price, PhD, has focused on strategic action to support youth and families for over 20 years. Her work has been shaped by evaluating systems, identifying gaps and braiding resources. As a first-generation graduate, former small business owner, and a divorced mom that had to work multiple jobs while completing a graduate degree, she is invested in helping people prioritize health and optimize educational and workforce opportunities.
She has worked to extend the lines of equitable access in her various roles as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Workforce Development and Special Advisor to the Governor, Senior Policy and Advocacy Director of Early Childhood and K-12 Policy at Kentucky Youth Advocates, Director of Education Policy & Programming at the Louisville Urban League, Founding Executive Director of Smoketown Family Wellness Center, a higher ed administrator, a school counselor, CEO and co-founder of Empowering Youth through Education, and trained in clinical mental health counseling as a practitioner, researcher and counselor educator.
Dr. Price firmly believes in Frederick Douglass’ proclamation, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” She is committed to helping others understand that we do not have the luxury of only doing the work that is “easier”, but we must simultaneously build and repair due to the plethora of systems strategically designed to oppress Black and Brown communities. Driven by the revelation that faith without works is dead, she leads with a solution-focused, action-oriented lens.
Dr. Price is a proud wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She is a National Holmes-, University of Louisville- and Wake Forest University alumna.
Interim President, University of Louisville
Women in Leadership Panel
Lori Stewart Gonzalez, PhD, was named interim president at the University of Louisville effective Dec. 13, 2021. She has served as executive vice president and university provost at UofL since April 2021. Her move to UofL was a homecoming of sorts.
A native of Mount Vernon in Rockcastle County, Ky., Dr. Gonzalez received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in speech-pathology and audiology. She received a Master of Arts degree in communication disorders from Eastern Kentucky University and a Ph.D. in communication disorders from the University of Florida.
Co-Founder & CEO, GoWild
Breakout: Networking Better
Brad Luttrell is the Cofounder, CEO of GoWild, a social commerce platform for outdoor enthusiasts. Luttrell was an award-winning writer, photographer and marketer before quitting his full-time job as a Creative Director to found GoWild.
A passionate networker, Luttrell has built relationships with the largest outdoor companies in the world, raised $6M in venture capital, and recruited and fostered the team behind an app with a growing list of accolades, including being GearJunkie’s social app of the year in 2021, and AndroidPolice’s fishing app of the year in 2022.
Professional Coach & Owner, Sweeney Coaching Group
Breakout: Slowing Down, Showing Up
Deryl Sweeney is a Professional Coach focused on helping people in all things business, life and leadership. He works with entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals helping them create the results they want personally and professionally.
Deryl has launched and scaled multiple businesses, developed marketing strategies for clients nationwide and raised millions of dollars as co-founder of a grass-roots charity fighting to cure cystic fibrosis. When he’s not coaching, you’ll usually find him having epic nerf battles with his two young boys, Samuel and Noah, or on adventures with his wife, Meredith.
SVP of Communications and Marketing, KY Chamber
Pitts has served as creator and managing editor of The Bottom Line, the news site of the Kentucky Chamber, since joining the Chamber staff in December 2014. In February 2017, she was promoted to the position of Director of Communications, spearheading communication efforts of the Chamber before becoming the organization’s first Vice President of Communications and Marketing in 2021 with the formation of a communications department.
Under her leadership, the Chamber’s communications efforts have gained national recognition and Pitts was named as one of the top 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders Shaping the Chamber Industry in 2021.
Prior to her work at the Chamber, Pitts worked as a political producer for a nightly political television show, cn|2’s Pure Politics. She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Pitts is a graduate of Leadership Kentucky and serves on the board of Jobs for Kentucky’s Graduates.
Steven Von Gerlachter
VP of Marketing, FireKing International
Breakout: Building Teams through Adversity
His Strengths finder strengths: Achiever, Positivity, Woo, Strategic, Individualistic / His weaknesses: Overcommitting, pulling punches
Away from work, Steve considers himself a lifelong learner and avid reader. He’s currently working on becoming a better Chess player and watching better movies. He lives in Crestwood with his family team: partner, Jen, and three children, Elise (5), David (3), and Kevin (4 months).
Founder & CEO, Canopy KY
Keynote: Challenge of Change, Leading through Continual Uncertainty
Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Scott Koloms attended the University of Louisville where he earned his BA in English and completed coursework towards an MA in Literature. In addition, Scott pursued his PhD in Literature and Rhetoric at Kent State University. Upon his father’s sudden death, Scott returned to Louisville to take over Facilities Management Services (FMS), the janitorial service his father purchased just eighteen months prior.
Maintaining his desire to teach and to have a positive impact on people and communities in his new role, Scott runs FMS in a way that prioritizes the wellbeing of his employees and focuses on making a difference in their lives, all while maintaining the financial bottom line. His personal growth through mindfulness and meditation has led him to incorporate new strategies into the practices at FMS. Over the course of 18 years, FMS has sustained significant growth, increasing its staff from 30 to 850 employees between 2001 and 2019.
Under Scott’s leadership, employee turnover has decreased from 120% in 2014 to 69% in 2017 in an industry with an average turnover rate of 250%. In November of 2016, this business model allowed FMS to become Kentucky’s second certified B-Corporation and the first B-Corp janitorial service in the world. The certification requires that the business meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and Transparency.
In early 2017, Scott began working with others to pass legislation in Kentucky to recognize Public Benefit Corporations as legal entities, and in July of 2017 the law went into effect. FMS became Kentucky’s first Public Benefit Corporation on July 1, 2017. In May of 2017, Scott founded Canopy, a nonprofit organization aiming to make Kentucky first in good business. Its goal is to create a strong network of socially conscious and impact driven businesses that work to make lives better in Kentucky.
Every year since 2018, FMS has been recognized in the inaugural RealLeaders 100 – a ranking of the 100 Top Impact Companies in North America. FMS became a part of an incredible set of companies – an exciting segment of the economy that is demonstrating that every transaction has the potential for prosperity and profit to manifest.
#1 Amazon Bestselling Author of “Fail to Success”
President and Owner, Jim Reynolds Asphalt Contractor
Breakout: Generational Leadership
Chelsea Ellis-Hogan is a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of “Fail to Success”, award winning third-generation owner of Jim Reynolds Asphalt Contractor, Inc. and keynote speaker. Chelsea is known for her creative leadership skills that encourages entrepreneurship. She continues to help others learn how to create generational wealth.
Chief Party Officer, Saltwater Woody
Breakout: “Professionalism” in a Virtual World
Paul Heintzman is a cofounder and the Chief PARTY Officer at Saltwater Woody. They create the world’s best tasting spirits and cans all cut to proof with saltwater. Paul manages sales across the entire country for the brand, and is a native Louisvillian.
What is Saltwater Woody Rum? Well, it’s a project Paul and his two co-founders have been working on for quite a while now. We have created an American rum that is handcrafted in small batches and cut to proof with saltwater. Salt in a drink highlights the sweet, resulting in a brilliant drink that demands another sip. But that’s not all–we also have a grapefruit flavored rum that uses REAL grapefruit juice that’s so good you can have it straight or with a splash of soda.
And the woody is our mascot–imagine how it feels to drive an old, woody convertible down the coast, and that’s how it feels to sip a Saltwater Woody.
Breakout: Holistic Wellness
Lauren is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Life Coach. Lauren received a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Administration at the University of Louisville and a Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Webster University. Lauren has over 15 years’ of experience providing services in a variety of settings including home and school-based services, adult corrections and juvenile detention, inpatient hospital settings, and community-based organizations.
Lauren is also very passionate about being involved in her community. Lauren serves on several community boards as a board member including Sponsor 4 Success and Seeds of New Leaf . She is also the Vice President of Kentucky Counseling Association. Lauren is also the Executive Director of MindFest , a mental health festival. In addition, Lauren is a certified grant writer with strengths in relationship building and communication. As a public speaker and facilitator, Lauren utilizes her experience to educate and engage others on mental health and wellness topics in corporate, school, and community settings.
Lauren has a strong passion for helping children, adolescents, individuals, and families through various life transitions in her community. Lauren believes in reducing the stigma of mental health within the community and helping others to overcome barriers to achieving success. Lauren is passionate about helping others become the best they can be despite life’s challenges. Lauren believes it is essential to create a comfortable space for each individual to be heard and express themselves freely.
In addition, Lauren is the co-founder of the Show Up Movement. This movement empowers women to show up authentically in all areas of life including their careers, relationships, as well as, mind/body/souls. The Show Up Movement hosts a women’s summit annually in September featuring over 175 women.
Board President, YPAL
Senior Associate, Terracon
Breakout: YP Group Best Practices
Woo Smith is a Senior Associate and leads the Environmental Department for Terracon’s Kentucky Louisville and Lexington offices. Terracon is an environmental, construction/materials testing, facilities, and geotechnical consulting firm with over 6,000 employees in 150 offices nationwide. Woo graduated from Emory University and studied Political Science and Environmental Studies with a focus on Environmental Policy.
She is currently a Master of Business Administration candidate at the University of Louisville College of Business. Woo is an industry professional knowledgeable in environmental procedures utilized by numerous federal agencies and has overseen the development of hundreds of Phase I ESAs, NEPAs, Wetland, Biological, and Cultural Reports.
In addition to helping manage a portfolio of national accounts, she oversees project execution, technical review, employee supervision, and quality control. During her free time, Woo leads the Young Professionals Association of Louisville as the current President and is a competitive powerlifter.
Founding CEO and Principal Consultant, Michele Shelton LLC
As an international speaker, author, executive coach, and thought leader on DEI, specializing in race and gender relations, Michele is a trusted advisor and well-respected for empowering courageous organizational leaders to confront and conquer the “-ism’s” that threaten both our humanity and the bottom line at work and beyond. Along with her team, Michele is unapologetically committed to creating experiences that challenge communities and organizations to “do the work” of creating inclusive, equitable cultures that acknowledge, affirm, and add value to the total experience of every person under their influence.
For more than 20 years, Michele has held leadership roles providing oversight to equal opportunity and diversity efforts as an entrepreneur, city and state government official, corporate executive, and nonprofit program manager of initiatives launched and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and National Urban League. She worked for the administrations of two former Louisville mayors and one former Kentucky governor. Michele is a member of the National Speakers Association, National Society for Human Resource Management, National Diversity Council, National Association for Female
Executives, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, and Leadership Louisville.
Michele was previously featured in Who’s Who Publications, The Louisville Defender, Courier-Journal, Today’s Woman magazine, as well as on podcasts, radio, and television. In 2020 she added Talenya’s Top 100 Diversity Trailblazer to multiple recognitions from business and community organizations for her work. Michele continues to make an impact by serving on boards and task forces advancing equal opportunity and equity in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Michele
currently serves on the board of directors for the Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI), Talenya international advisory board, and Health Equity Advisory Committee for the Kentucky Nurses Association, Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, and Have a Heart Clinic. She was appointed and elected chairperson of the Jefferson County Merit Board under the current Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration, and most recently elected president of the Dean’s Council for the University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences.
An alumna of the University of Louisville and Louisville Seminary, Michele holds a BA in political science and several certifications for diversity, leadership training, coaching, and ministry. A contributing author to three international anthologies, she is currently working on her fourth and solo title, The Simplicity of Diversity. For more information visit www.micheleshelton.com.
SVP, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Humana
Carolyn Tandy leads inclusion, diversity and equity efforts as the SVP, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana. She is responsible for elevating inclusion and diversity focus and infusing cultural competency across all corners of our company and in the communities where we live and work. Additionally, Carolyn oversees Humana’s enterprise culture initiatives to continue to strengthen our culture and engagement across the company.
Previously, Carolyn served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Texas Roadhouse where she led the company’s national diversity and inclusion strategy for more than 70,000 employees across 58 markets. She was responsible for leading the company’s culture-shaping strategies for corporate culture, workforce development, minority and women’s business development and driving forward community relations. By partnering with several external organizations to develop key relationships for community support and pathway initiatives for recruitment, hiring and retention, Carolyn was instrumental in helping Texas Roadhouse earn recognition as top employer for diversity and for women.
Additionally, Carolyn brings a wealth of experience in strategic initiatives and leadership development, serving for more than 10 years as the Director of Congressman John Yarmuth’s District Office and constituent outreach efforts. Earlier in her career she was the Director of African American Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and Senior Advisor, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Carolyn earned her BA degree at Gordon College and is a certified Diversity and Inclusion professional from Cornell University. She received her master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University.
When not leading the way at work and in her community, she can be found spending time with her husband, David, and three wonderful children.
Chief of Staff to Executive Vice President and University Provost Interim Vice President for Community Engagement, University of Louisville
Dr. Douglas Craddock, Jr. serves as the Interim Vice President for Community Engagement/External Affairs & Chief of Staff for Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Louisville. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Alabama in Higher Education and Administration.
Dr. Craddock’s area of expertise is diversity, equity & inclusion, organization & administration, and community engagement. He has a passion for helping organizations and communities uncover practices, processes, and procedures that illuminate and elevate how individuals, teams, and groups can more effectively work together. In addition, he has in collegiate athletics and Historically Black Colleges and Universities focusing on varying administration and leadership models that exist across the spectrum of programs and institutions.
Dr. Craddock enjoys spending time with his wife, Bre and daughter, Zoë (Zoey), playing sports and volunteering in the community. He is an advocate and supporter in the idea of “lift as you climb” to help in areas of education and social mobility.
Canopy Certification Manager, Canopy KY
Stephanie Kelley is the Certification Manager for Canopy KY, a startup nonprofit dedicated to growing the Good Business Movement in Kentucky by educating, certifying and connecting a network of businesses that are taking care of their people, the planet and the future of the Commonwealth. A lifetime Kentuckian, Stephanie received her B.A. in History of Art from Vanderbilt University before returning home to complete her M.A. in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville.
While completing her graduate degree, Stephanie began her career as Sazerac Company’s first Archivist, managing the company’s historic collection at Buffalo Trace Distillery. Over time she became the company’s first Curator of Visitor Experiences, traveling to Sazerac’s various national and global facilities to tell the story of bourbon and other spirits.
After 7 years in the distilling industry, she felt a calling to pivot to the nonprofit sector. Stephanie landed at Canopy, where she and the team have launched the online Certification Portal and have begun the work of discovering and promoting the Good work that Kentuckians are doing all across the Commonwealth.
VP of Human Resources, American Printing House for the Blind
Maurice is an expert in aligning individual capabilities with strategic priorities, while ensuring compliance with applicable local, state, and federal employment laws and regulations. He has held previous leadership roles in HR in the public sector for state and local government, including both the executive and judiciary branches. Additionally, he has provided administrative oversight for business segments such as alcoholic beverage licensing, agriculture, and parks and recreation.
Maurice received his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Public Administration from Kentucky State University. He also received a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources Management from KSU. Maurice is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM). He currently resides in Louisville with his wife of 23 years, and has three sons: Taylon, Zach, and Gabe.
Vitale Buford Hardin
CEO, The Hardin Group
Closing Session: Inspiring Action
Vitale is a top leadership consultant, strategic advisor, and CEO of The Hardin Group, a leadership consulting firm. She believes that “who we are is how we lead,” so the real leadership work begins with ourselves. Vitale brings her training and concepts to life in a fun and relatable way, empowering teams and companies to transform the way they work, produce, and relate. She is an iPEC-certified executive coach, trainer, award-winning speaker, and author. Featured in The New York Times, she is the author of the book, Addicted to Perfect, detailing her struggle with perfectionism and how she overcame it.
Vitale’s area of expertise is perfectionism – specifically helping leaders and organizations overcome their patterns and cultures of perfectionism so they can lead with excellence. She also considers herself a change agent – working with organizations and leaders to transform their workplace cultures and leadership environments. Vitale has experience working with companies in myriad industries including Humana, NCAA, CenterPoint Energy, Logan Aluminum, University of Kentucky HealthCare, Toyota Tsusho, and Longship. She does this through custom training programs, strategic advisory, workshops, keynotes, culture change initiatives, and performance coaching.
Before starting her own business, Vitale spent 14 years impacting culture change and working in marketing and business development for a variety of industries and professional service organizations. She now lives her life purpose helping leaders and workplaces transform their cultures of perfectionism to cultures of excellence. Vitale loves traveling, Fleetwood Mac, morning walks, and lives in Kentucky with her husband, son, and dog.