Jeff Walz has a passion for excellence that drives him as the head coach of the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team.
Walz was hired as the head coach in 2007. Since then, he has helped the Cardinals burst into national prominence as one of the most competitive and successful teams. In his eight seasons with the team, the women Cardinals have gone to the NCAA Sweet 16 six times, had two NCAA Runner Up finishes, two All-Americans, 18 All-Conference selections, and five WNBA draft picks. His team has averaged 26 victories per season with a record 34 victories in the 2008 – 2009 season.
Prior to Louisville, Walz coached in Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Western Kentucky. As a student, he earned a basketball scholarship to Northern Kentucky University, where he studied secondary education and acquired a master’s degree in education. In 2008, Walz was named the WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year.
Walz and his wife, Lauren, reside in Louisville, Ky., with their four children.
Heather Howell’s desire to inspire her children and fear of failure power her in selecting her projects and in growing beverage brands.
As director of innovation for Brown-Forman Corporation, Howell is responsible for developing the global portfolio expansion strategy and acts as brand leader for Collingwood, a premium blended Canadian whiskey. Howell joined Brown-Forman in 2015.
She previously worked for Rooibee Red Tea, where she served as chief tea officer, CEO and, board member, helping take the organic tea brand from the farmers market to the national market.
Howell has been recognized numerous times, including Ernst & Young’s 2013 E.D.G.E. Award, a 2014 Enterprising Woman to Watch Award from Business First, and a 2013 finalist for the Business Leader of the Year Award. She is also president emeritus of the National Association of Women MBAs and serves on the board of Republic Bank.
She resides in Louisville with her husband, Dr. Steven Howell, a pediatric eye surgeon, and their two children: son,Teague, and daughter,Juliana. A favorite quote of Heather’s is “You make time for what is important; I will rest when I am in the grave.”
Driven by conscience and seeing challenges as possibilities drive Jackie Ford as she leads the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana.
Tennessee-native Ford brings over 25 years of non-profit experience to the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. Previously, Ford served as the executive director of Literacy Volunteers of America in Connecticut for 10 years.
In 1988, she began her career with the Girl Scouts as director of membership and marketing in southwest Connecticut and moved on to COO in 2002. A few years later, Ford was named CEO for the Girl Scout Council of Savannah, Ga, and moved on to Girl Scouts services officer in historic Georgia.
Ford was then elected as COO for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio in 2012, where she was responsible for all operations. In 2015, she came to The Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, where she was named CEO. In this position, Ford helps provide strategic direction and leadership.
Ford has two sons, Sean and Ryan, who live in the metro New York area.
Emily Cleveland has a passion for helping children see past disability through friendship.
Cleveland is the Kentucky state director of Best Buddies International, providing direct support for the state’s school-based programs. These programs create opportunities for youth and adults, with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities and disorders, though friendship pairings.
Best Buddies of Kentucky has seen significant growth since Cleveland has been with the organization. The number of school-based programs has doubled. She helped secure a $100,000 gift from the NASCAR Foundation, and revenue increased by 27% for the annual Friendship Walk. Her goal is to grow to 30 school-based chapters by June 2016 and she aims to increase private revenue and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness for the anticipated growth.
Cleveland was recognized as the 2014 Best Buddies International Program Manager of the Year.
She resides with her husband, Ryan, in Louisville, Ky.
Vickie Yates Brown brings passion to all of her projects – from shaping health care policy to the Nucleus project.
Brown is an experienced health care law and finance attorney. She worked on planning, development, and finance for Nucleus: Kentucky’s Research and Innovation Center alongside the University of Louisville Foundation and U of L President James Ramsey. Brown was named president and CEO of Nucleus in 2008.
Brown also serves as the chair of the Health and Life Sciences Practice Group at Frost Brown Todd LLC. She is the chairwoman of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association, vice chair of the Health Enterprises Network, and sits on the editorial board of the BNA Health Law Reporter.
Brown served on the advisory council for the Human Genome Project and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestion and Kidney Disease, and has co-authored three publications on health care law and government regulation.
Brown and her husband, Col. Shawn Glisson, M.D. (Ret. USA), reside in Louisville, Ky.
David Nicholson learned the importance of community involvement from his late father, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge S. Rush Nicholson.
In 1991, Nicholson joined the Metro Criminal Justice Commission and in 1998, became its executive director. During this time, the commission, which helps first responders, received millions in grants. This included a multi-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, which captured national headlines.
In 2006, and again in 2012, Nicholson was elected and re-elected Jefferson County circuit court clerk. He manages a staff of over 300 employees and operates from eight locations.
Nicholson’s community involvement within the Louisville area has a strong and lengthy history. He has served on the Board of Directors for Kosair Charities, the Kentucky Association of Counties, and the National Association of Counties.
Nicholson and his wife, Debra, have two children: one who is an attorney and the other a student at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.
Creativity in food, atmosphere and service fuel John Varanese in his career as chef and restaurant owner.
After an impressive food and restaurant background, Varanese opened Varanese on Frankfort Avenue in 2007. Eight years later, he announced his second restaurant, River House, located on the riverfront. Later that year, Varanese announced another restaurant at the River House location, Levee, which would feature live entertainment and a unique cuisine, a completely separate experience from River House.
Starting at age 14 in Cleveland, Ohio, Varanese credits Dino De Franco as his mentor and teacher for what it takes to be a good chef and business owner. He learned the business side of the restaurant, discipline and from scratch cooking.
His first executive chef position was at Azeala restaurant in Louisville, Ky. Within three years, Varanese began making plans to open his own restaurant. He is passionately committed to sourcing local food for his restaurants.
Varanese has won numerous awards and was invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in NYC. He serves on the Kentucky Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors, was named Restaurateur of the Year by KRA, and was honored as one of the country’s top culinary talents in the premier edition of Best Chefs America.
Varanese also stars in and co-produces his own television show, Big World of Food.
The show focuses on educating viewers on the importance of local farms to the food on their tables.
John and his wife, Gina, reside in Louisville.
Love for family drives both Patrick John Hughes and his son, Patrick Henry Hughes, to expand possibilities.
Patrick Henry was born without eyes and without the ability to fully straighten his arms and legs, making him unable to walk. He has overcome these physical issues to excel as a musician and public speaker.
Musician Patrick Henry has flourished with the support of his family. His father, Patrick John, sees his blessings with family as his driving inspiration to serve them each day.
Patrick Henry played in the University of Louisville Marching Band for five seasons with help from his father, who tirelessly maneuvered Patrick Henry’s wheelchair through the formations during practices and games. During this time, his dad spent his days attending classes on campus assisting his son and working the overnight shift. Patrick Henry speaks fluent Spanish, and in 2010 graduated from U of L magna cum laude.
The pair made appearances all across the USA and even shared their story internationally. They were featured on ESPN, “Oprah,” “The Ellen Show,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “The Today Show,” and many others. Their book, “I Am Potential,” was turned into a feature-length film by the same name. Patrick has also recorded two musical CDs.
Patrick Henry resides in Louisville with his father and mother (Patricia), and has two brothers, Cameron and Jesse.
Terri Foster knew from a young age she had musical gifts, and now seeks to use her gifts to help other young people develop theirs.
Since 2007, Foster has been named artistic/executive director of the Louisville Youth Choir. She directs the Chamber and Aria Choirs at LYC, as well as the all-female Adult Alumni Choir. Under her direction, the Louisville Youth Choir performed with the Moscow Ballet in their U.S. touring production of “The Great Russian Nutcracker.”
Conducting since 1993, Foster was formerly the conductor of Bella Voce and the Louisville Children’s Choir, which performed at Carnegie Hall. She also conducted at both public and private schools. She was a voice teacher at Sacred Heart School for the Arts, the Choral Director at Sacred Heart Academy, and has a private voice studio, as well.
Her professional vocal career includes performing with the Kentucky Opera, the Stephen Foster Story, community theatre groups, and solo engagements with churches and at private events.
Foster is a member of the Kentucky Music Educators Association and the Kentucky American Choral Director’s Association.
Michael Blowen’s fear of horses grew into a deep love for horses, and for saving their lives.
Early in his career, Blowen was a writer and movie critic for The Boston Globe. He eventually held the enviable position of movie critic, which gave him contact with film stars and celebrities throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.
A chance outing in 1997 to Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts proved to be a life-changing event. Wanting to learn more about horses to improve his chances to win at the track, Blowen asked to work the stables for free, and he fell in love with these majestic animals.
In 1999, The Boston Globe offered Blowen and his wife, Diane, also a Globe columnist, a retirement buyout. He took it and joined the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which rescues horses and provides them with safe homes. A year later, he moved to Kentucky to help the foundation.
Blowen then founded the non-profit organization Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, a retirement and rescue facility for pensioned thoroughbreds. In 2002, Derby winner Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan, gaining national outrage. This influenced Blowen to focus on at-risk racehorses, giving them a comfortable place to live out their years and also providing the public a chance to meet these formerly famous racehorses. Old Friends is open to the public and attracts nearly 20,000 visitors each year.
Blowen and his wife reside on Old Friends Farm and like the retired thoroughbreds he cares for, he too will be buried on the grounds of the farm, when his great day comes.
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.