Katie George sees her daily challenge to make herself and others better.
Louisville-native George graduated from Assumption High School where she played volleyball for Coach Ron Kordes. She received several volleyball sports accolades and was featured in the 2010 Faces in the Crowd in Sports Illustrated magazine. Among her many accomplishments and recognitions, George led her team to the Regional 7 Tournament Championship twice, was named in Under Armour’s All-American Watch List, and was also named Region 7’s Player of the Year.
George came to the University of Louisville volleyball team and quickly moved to a starting position. She spent her summer overseas for the USA National Collegiate Team, winning the silver medal at the European Global Challenge Tournament in Pula, Croatia.
Having no previous experience in beauty pageants, George was crowned Miss Kentucky USA In 2015 and competed in the Miss USA pageant, finishing in the top 15.
The 1993 tragic murder of their daughter, Mary, thrust Pat Byron and her husband, John, into advocacy work for domestic violence victims.
Mary was shot and killed by the assailant who previously raped and stalked her, the very same day he was released from prison. Mary was not aware he had been set free. This flaw in the system led the Byron’s to create the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system. Known as VINE, the system calls crime victims any time there is a change in their offender’s status.
Honoring their daughter’s memory, The Mary Byron Project was established in 2000. For 8 years, Byron served as its president before her designation as president emeritus.
She has earned much recognition for her work, including the Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice and Safety Dean’s Award and the Honoring Excellent Role Models award from Today’s Woman magazine.
Byron’s husband, John, is a registered professional engineer, and served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Today, he is retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers –Louisville District.
Tyrone Cotton’s love of music and desire to create fuels his music and the songs he writes.
Cotton is a Louisville musician and songwriter. Inspired by his grandfather, a preacher, and singer, he fused his sound from blues, jazz, folk, and rock. His mother loved gospel and R&B, and at a young age, BB King thrilled Cotton with his playing. Later, he would study Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy and Mississippi John Hurt.
Cotton began playing guitar and by his early 20s, he was playing clubs and dives. His work has taken him all over the world, and he’s sat in with Lady Rizo and the legendary composer/singer David Amram.
With a unique and original sound, Cotton has played at a number of momentous venues, including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, BB King’s Blues Club in Times Square, and the Motherlodge Festival, where he opened for Johnny Winter.
Today, Cotton plays original work and still covers many artists who influenced him.
Robin Miller grew up in a family active in politics and the community, spurring her to serve in the public sector.
Miller serves as the executive director for downtown Louisville’s Main Street Association, a business and historical preservation company. She also recently launched her own community marketing firm.
Miller has worked within the public education, social service, and business association sectors for 20 years. She pursued a career in the public sector immediately after college. Her first professional post was with the American Federation of Teachers, a teachers union where she and a colleague led the public advocacy efforts around a national campaign to raise the standards of achievement and conduct in public schools.
She has been a member of the Louisville Bar Association, the Advertising Federation of Louisville, the Kentucky Science Center, and the Home for the Innocents. She volunteers regularly with many area groups and was peer-selected as the National Executive Director of the Year for the American Advertising Federation.
Miller was named one of Business First’s “Forty Under 40” and is a graduate of Leadership Louisville’s Focus Louisville, Bingham Fellows, and Leadership Southern Indiana.
She loves Halloween, vacationing in Mexico, and throwing theme parties. Miller and her husband, Dave, live with their daughter in Southern Indiana.
A love for horticulture inspired Lee Squires in his career managing the 300-acre Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky.
Squires was the general manager of Cave Hill Cemetery for more than 40 years (1975-2015). He was its 5th president since the cemetery's founding over 150 years ago, in 1848. He also acted as president of the Kentucky Cemetery Association and is the past executive director of the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association.
Squires is the current president of the Kentucky State Council of Trout Unlimited, monitoring and conserving fish and cold-water fisheries of Kentucky. He is a 1965 graduate of Waggener High School and a 1969 graduate of the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture with a Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture.
He enjoys fly fishing and growing Bonsai trees.
Diane Medley and her business partner founded their CPA firm to treat people in a way that they can achieve their dreams.
When Medley became managing partner of Mountjoy Chilton Medley, she was named the first female managing partner of a CPA firm in this U.S. region and the only female managing partner of a Top 100 firm, as well as a founding member of a firm.
In her role she determines and executes Mountjoy Chilton Medley’s strategic goals and has led the firm through several mergers and acquisitions. Under her management, Medley has helped make MCM the largest CPA firm in the region, with five regional offices and nearly 300 employees.
Medley, a graduate of the University of Louisville, actively serves on several chairs for local foundations and organizations. She holds numerous accounting credentials and has earned many awards, including Enterprising magazine’s Enterprising Woman of the Year and NAWBO Louisville’s Owner of the Year.
Medley is married with four children and five grandchildren. She and her husband reside near Louisville, Ky.
The exciting challenge of creating a sense of wonderment is what drives Louisville-native Wayne Hettinger to create memorable events on a grand scale.
Hettinger’s company produces special events on a spectacular scale for corporate, community and non-profit organizations. Since 1990, they have been best known for creating and producing Thunder Over Louisville, a waterfront fireworks event attracting 750,000 spectators every year. Thunder is the largest annual fireworks display in North America and it marks the kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival. The event has earned Hettinger three Emmy awards.
Hettinger’s company has also produced other public events such as Light Up Louisville, Louisville’s Veterans Day Parade, the Kentucky State Bicentennial, and the National Parks 50th Celebration. They were responsible for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial and the 2005 Muhammad Ali Center Grand Opening, as well.
Hettinger serves as a member, or in an advisory role, on many fundraising boards, including the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium.
He and his wife, Pamela, have five children and ten grandchildren.
Major General (retired) Robert S. Silverthorn Jr. credits growing up in a military family as his inspiration and drive to achieve excellence.
Silverthorn has served the United States in the military and as a counselor of law. He is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and was mobilized for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He also served during the Global War on Terror from 2001 to 2005. Silverthorn retired as Major General (2 stars) in 2008. He received many military decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, seven Meritorious Service Medals, and three Army Commendation Medals.
Silverthorn ran for election to the 30th Judicial Circuit in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 and 2009, he was appointed circuit judge to the Jefferson Circuit Court.
He is a graduate of the Brandeis School of Law and the United States Army War College. Silverthorn carries a lengthy civilian volunteer history in Louisville and has served on advisory boards for several charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army, Susan G. Komen Fund, and the American Red Cross. He has also appeared on television and radio as a military analyst.
An avid reader, his hobbies include flying planes, reading historical works, and playing golf. Silverthorn and his wife, Rusty, reside in Louisville and have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Matt Jamie’s motto of “Slow. Small. Simple.” guides his company in producing high quality, bourbon-based sauces.
Louisville-native Jamie established Bourbon Barrel Foods in 2006. Made in re-purposed bourbon barrels, Jamie uses Kentucky grown non-GMO soybeans, soft red winter wheat, and limestone-filtered Kentucky water to produce his soy sauce. The smoky, brothy, meaty sauce has a subtle sweetness, similar to fine Kentucky bourbon. Bourbon Barrel Foods has since grown to include smoked spices, artisan sugars, gourmet sauces and marinades, grill wood, sorghum, vanilla extract, and a Woodford Reserve® branded line.
Jamie’s studio is based in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville, Ky., and hosts cooking classes, chef-driven events, and corporate team building activities. He is an active Greater Louisville Inc. member and supports a pro-business environment. The company’s motto of “Slow. Small. Simple.” remains an important part of its culture and the artisan nature of Bourbon.
Jamie’s hobbies are tennis and fatherhood. He resides in Louisville and has two children.
As the owner of Joseph’s Salon and Spa, Kelly Flint Campbell sees the growth of her staff and client relationships as her inspiration.
Since the early 1990s, Campbell has been the owner and president of Joseph’s Salon/Spa in Louisville, Ky. Originally opened 40 years ago by her parents, Joseph’s set out to be a beauty destination with highly skilled professionals who have an unwavering commitment to customer service. Joseph’s has grown and now includes the Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa.
With her positive spirit, Campbell strives to make a personal connection with her clients. She has helped form an expert staff of 90, who share in her “give back” philosophy and desire to achieve professional expertise and superior service. Campbell works diligently on harmonizing beauty, well-being, and the environment for both clients and staff at the salon.
Campbell and her husband have two children and live in Louisville.
Terry Taylor’s drive to bring peace to communities, through understanding each other’s differences, powers his work.
Taylor is the recently retired executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, also known as IPP, a Louisville-based inter-religious, non-profit organization. His collaborative projects include working with countless of the religious councils and centers throughout Louisville.
He was instrumental in Louisville’s designation as a Compassionate City. In 2013, Taylor played a significant role in the planning of Louisville’s three-day hosting of the Dalai Lama.
Taylor’s global travels include attending a ceremony marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, heading to Israel on a peacemaking mission, and visiting Egypt and Syria as a guest of the National Peace Foundation and the Islamic Society of North America, to name a few.
He authored “A Spirituality for Brokenness,” published by Skylight Paths Publishing.
Louisville’s Center for Women and Families honored Taylor as its “2011 Man of Distinction,” and he received a Community Service Recognition Award from APPKI, a Louisville-based Pakistani philanthropic group in 2012.
Karen Morrison sees her job as president and CEO of Gilda’s Club as winning the job lottery.
Gilda’s Club is a cancer support community, for families and patients, helping them live with joy. Morrison joined the organization eight months before the clubhouse opened in 2007. The Louisville Chapter is its 22nd club.
Prior to Gilda’s Club, Morrison spent 17 years as chief operating officer for the American Red Cross, directing programs for the Southern Arizona Chapter, and then as development director for the Mid-Rio Grande Chapter in Albuquerque. She also served as the major gifts officer for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society in Louisville, and as the chair of the Cancer Support Community Affiliate Council, an advisory group that works with more than 50 Cancer Support Communities in the U.S. and Canada.
A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Morrison is a participant of the Kentucky Institute of European Studies and is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Louisville.
Morrison is an avid volunteer, serving as a Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana board member, and with many other organizations. She and her partner, Audrey, have three daughters – the oldest of whom is a cancer survivor.
Pam Darnall focuses her professional life on helping children and families facing abuse and violence.
Darnall was named president and CEO of Family & Children’s Place in 2014, setting the vision, leadership, and coordination of all the organizational. From 1994 to 2008, Darnall served as president of The Family Place. She played an essential role in the merger of The Family Place and Family and Children First to create Family & Children’s Place.
Her prior experience includes 10 years with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in a supervisory and training role for Child Protective Services.
Darnall has worked or served on many prominent community service committees. These include The Early Childhood Task Force – known as “KIDS NOW” quality rating system, the Center for Non-Profit Excellence Advisory Committee, the Mayor’s Violence Free Neighborhood Advisory Committee, Louisville Metro Department of Public Health Committee, among others. She has testified before state legislative committees, has been a mediator for Jefferson County Family Court, and has presented on various topics relating to child abuse and non-profit mergers.
Darnall was a recipient of a Leadership Fellowship through the Community Foundation of Louisville and is a graduate of Leadership Louisville.
In her free time, Darnall is an avid marathon runner. She is married to Danny Darnall, an attorney practicing in Elizabethtown, Ky.
A commitment to environmental responsibility as a principle of her faith powers everything Heather Warman does.
Warman is the executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation. She speaks regularly on green building, sustainable design, recycling, and reuse.
Warman is an avid proponent for green building initiatives in Kentucky. She has volunteered locally with American Cancer Society, the U.S. Green Building Council, Bluegrass Junior Women’s Club, and American White Water which focuses on river protection issues.
Warman’s commitment to help in the community is not just limited to Kentucky. She has traveled to over 21 countries to bring proper sanitation and nutrition information to developing countries. Warman has also worked with Habitat for Humanity for over nine years, Habitat for Humanity International for one year, and has served on several boards of directors and councils.
She has served on the Board of Directors for the Home Builders Association (HBA), was the Chair for the HBA Green Council, and 2012 Chair of the Mid-West Energy Conference. She currently serves as an education committee liaison for the US Green Build Council.
Warman lives in Lexington, Ky, with her daughter Emma.
Judge Erica Lee Williams sees discipline and community service as core values grounding her career.
Williams was a practicing attorney when she was appointed to serve as district court judge of the 30th Judicial District in Division 17 by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in 2009. The following year, Williams was elected to a full term, and then was re-elected in 2014. She currently serves as presiding judge for teen court in Jefferson County.
Williams holds numerous professional accolades, such as being named one of Louisville magazine’s 2014 50 Most Powerful People, as well as a 2013 Enterprising Women to Watch and a 2012 Forty under 40, both in Business First. She has served as the 2010 Honorary Chair for the second annual Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now and helps in many other charitable community associations and boards.
Williams and her husband, Jason, reside in Louisville with their daughter.
Elizabeth Kitzito sees her cookie business as a way to provide for her family here and in Uganda.
Born in Uganda during the 1950s, Kizito moved to America in 1975 to attend school. Unfortunately, civil unrest and war in Uganda prevented her from returning. She moved to Louisville in 1978 and began making and selling cookies – originally as a way to pay for her son’s birthday present. She started selling cookies downtown and within a few years, in 1989, she traded her cart for her own bakery on Bardstown Road.
Kizito’s heritage plays a large part in her life and business as she sells cookies from a basket atop her head, while dressed in traditional African attire. She can regularly be seen at local concerts, sporting events and festivals in Louisville selling cookies, brownies and biscotti. Her products are also sold at many restaurants and stores throughout the area. Today, many locals affectionately refer to her as the “Cookie Lady.”
Each year Kizito travels to Uganda to provide financial assistance to her relatives. In 2003, she was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by the Louisville chapter of NAWBO. Kizito has two sons, and resides in Louisville.
Summer Auerbach is committed to local independent businesses and leads Rainbow Blossom Natural Foods.
In 1977, Auerbach’s parents started the first Rainbow Blossom Food Market in Louisville. After growing up in the business, she decided to go away to school and travel extensively.
Auerbach graduated from Bentley University in Massachusetts with a degree in international studies. She had plans to serve in AmeriCorps and help in disaster relief. However, when her father became critically ill, Auerbach came back to Louisville to help with the store. She ended up staying for ten years, bringing the business back from the brink of bankruptcy, at a time when two national natural food chains opened stores a mile from her flagship store. She overcame these hurdles, expanding the business to five stores, eventually taking ownership of the business.
Committed to the local community, Auerbach was on the ground floor building the Louisville Independent Alliance, focused on buying local first, which now has over 700 members.
She has earned several recognitions for her work, including a 2013 Member of Bingham Fellows, 2011 Today’s Woman magazine’s Most Admired Woman in the Food and Entertainment category, and one of Business First’s “Forty Under 40” in 2010. She also serves on several boards in the area and co-hosts a local food podcast called “Mighty Fine Farm & Food.”
Dr. Donna Hargens’ unwavering belief that every child can learn serves her as she leads the country’s 28th largest school system, with more than 101,000 students and nearly 17,000 teachers and staff.
In 2011, Hargens began her position as the superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). She quickly brought the community and education communities together with a series of ongoing forums dubbed the Superintendent’s Summit. These valuable meetings allowed the School Board and her to initiate a five-year plan for the district’s future.
Hargens has proven to be a distinguished and caring educator, and was chosen by the US Education Secretary as the featured superintendent at the 2012 National School Turnaround Summit.
Previously, Hargens served as the interim superintendent and chief academic officer for Wake County school system in North Carolina, where she focused on reinventing struggling schools and achieved unprecedented academic gains. Before moving to the administrative side of education, she taught Spanish and English in Lomira, Wisconsin.
Hargens loved to read as a child in Wisconsin and she was determined to become a teacher. She is the first college graduate in her family. She serves the community on many boards, including the Fund for the Arts and the Mohammed Ali Center.
Hargens and her husband, Jeremy, have two adult children and one grandchild.
Jim Allen cites leadership by example as his style leading Hilliard Lyons.
Allen is the president, chairman, and CEO of Hilliard Lyons. After joining the firm in 1981, he has devoted his entire working career to the same company.
In 2003, Allen was named the president of Hilliard Lyons and a year later, he was elected chairman and CEO. Allen oversees more than 70 offices in 12 states and assets management of over $40 billion. He founded and served as president of both the Hilliard Lyons Growth Fund and the Hilliard Lyons Research Advisors. The firm is consistently included on “Best Places to Work” lists.
Allen is heavily involved in civic engagements throughout Louisville, and serves on several community boards and committees, many of which are education related. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Joseph W. Kelly Award from the Kentucky Board of Education, and he has been named to the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame.
Allen and his wife, Missy, live in Louisville.
Matt Thornton cites his desire to win as the trait that drives him in his roles leading Thorntons and contributing to the community.
Thornton is president and CEO of Thorntons Inc., a leading, independent gasoline and convenience chain retailer with well over 170 stores. Originally founded by Thornton’s father, James H. Thornton, the first location opened in Clarksville, Ind., in 1971.
For eight years, Thornton served as vice president of operations. During this time, Thorntons revolutionized the convenience store industry with a new award-winning prototype store, featuring a wide variety of fast food products, groceries, and beverages within a well-lit, customer-friendly environment. In 2001, Thornton was named CEO of Thorntons Inc. He practices “lead by example” in his role and it is not uncommon to see him picking up discarded items to ensure a clean store for his customers.
The company is proud to be an ongoing member of Forbes magazine’s list of largest privately held companies in America, and for their peer-awarded recognition as the Most Admired Convenience Store Chain in North America.
Thornton also founded a private equity real estate firm, L3, targeting urban retail investments within first tier US markets. He has served as chairman of the Waterfront Development Corporation and chairman of the Metro United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society. In addition, he has served on the boards of several organizations including the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, and the Crusade for Children Foundation.
Thornton lives with his wife, Fran, and their three children.
Cathy Fyock’s belief in being true to your heart sparked her career as an author and human resources consultant.
Fyock launched her author-consultancy business, named Your Possibility Partner, to provide professionals with coaching support to help them cut through the daily distractions of everyday life and find the focus they need to write their books. She has provided keynotes and workshops for hundreds of clients and has authored six books, including “On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in 6 Weeks.”
Fyock was an employment strategist with several business and HR consulting firms before leading her own company, Innovative Management Concepts, for more than 20 years. Fyock also sang professionally with the Kentucky Opera for two seasons.
Fyock received her undergraduate degree in music from Western Kentucky University and her master’s in human resources from the University of Louisville.
Christen Boone is a community connector, social entrepreneur, and leader in nonprofit development and strategic philanthropy.
In 2014, Boone was named the president and CEO of Louisville’s Fund for the Arts. Fund for the Arts supports a range of arts organizations and drives accessibility across neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and public spaces.
Boone also leads The Boone Group, which focuses on building strong and vibrant communities through the power of collective action and the spark of strategic philanthropy.
Before starting The Boone Group, she served in leadership roles within the Greater Louisville Project, 21st Century Parks, Fund for the Arts, Actors Theatre of Louisville, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Fine Arts Fund in Cincinnati.
Boone has served on several boards and has received many community service honors. She was named the 2005 Outstanding Volunteer for Safe Place Services and a “Forty Under 40” leader by Business First. She has also served on the Kentucky Governors Scholars Board of Directors and Foundation.
Boone lives with her husband, Mike, and their three sons.
Tom Partridge thrives on helping businesses secure capital for projects that will have a positive impact on their communities.
Partridge is responsible for 45 bank branches of Fifth Third Bank in the greater Louisville and Lexington areas, and well as over 2.5 billion in assets. He oversees the growth and strategic direction of four lines of business, including commercial banking, branch banking, consumer lending, and investment advisors for the affiliate.
Partridge began with PNC in Cincinnati straight out of college. In 1997, he moved on to be a vice president with Fifth Third Bank. He took care of operations in Northeast Ohio and became president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank Kentucky in 2010.
Partridge has served on numerous Louisville community boards, including Fund for the Arts, the Louisville Orchestra, and Leadership Louisville, among others. He rises at 4:30 each morning, six days a week, to work out, and reads extensively on leadership.
Tom Fawbush began in broadcasting as a teenager.
He has been the General Manager at WBNA TV, an ION affiliate and the only locally owned station in Louisville, for over 10 years. He sees the impact, and responsibility of the impact, that broadcasting has on the community as a calling. The channel strives to present positive and entertaining programs. Fawbush transitioned the station from a network run entity to an independently run station.
He previously served as the operations director at Clear Channel Louisville and in sales for ION Media Networks.
Fawbush is a Louisville-native and graduate of the University of Louisville.
Tim Laird loves interacting with people and sharing experiences with food and beverage.
Laird is an authority on wines and spirits, as well as a gourmet chef, and a master at entertaining and execution. He makes hundreds of appearances a year on radio and television programs and has appeared on multiple news programs. In his current role as the chief entertaining officer of Brown-Forman, Laird serves as its brand spokesperson.
He also hosts three weekly television shows: “Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs,” “Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live,” and “Secrets of Resort Chefs.” Laird is a featured columnist for Louisville’s Food & Dining magazine and is also a published author.
Laird is an active volunteer, serving as a board member for Winston Industries, as an honorary board member for the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, and as a member of the advisory board for APRON, Inc.