For 20 years, Mike Berry has been at the helm of the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF), one of the nation’s largest and most notable civic celebrations.
The festival spans the two weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Berry oversees the planning and production of nearly 70 events on the official schedule. The festival attracts an estimated 1.5 million people to the area each year.
Berry built his career at the festival and is now the longest-serving president and CEO in the history of the organization. He began his KDF career in 1986 as an event coordinator. He rose to director of marketing and communications and vice president/managing director prior to his current position as president and CEO
His first involvement with the festival came as administrative assistant to then Kentucky governor, Martha Layne Collins. Berry served as the governor’s appointment to the Derby Festival board from 1984-86. During his Frankfort tenure, Berry coordinated special projects including the Kentucky Derby Breakfast, Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, 75th Anniversary of the State Capitol, and the Bluegrass State Games. He also led social events for the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
Berry serves or has served on the boards of many organizations including chairman of the International Festivals & Events Association, IFEA Foundation (also named to the Hall of Fame) and Music Theatre of Louisville’s, StageOne Family Theatre in 2011 (also a Lifetime Honorary Board Member). He also served as secretary for the Louisville Theatrical Association and commissioner for the Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Berry and his partner, Bill, reside in Louisville. They have two sons and five grandchildren.
Technology entrepreneur Stacy Griggs is a high energy executive with strong leadership skills.
Griggs leads the day-to-day operations at El Toro, one of the fastest growing AdTech companies in the U.S. The company focuses on hyper-accurate targeting of digital advertising via IP addresses. He is one of the creators of El Toro’s patent for IP Targeting, along with five other pending patents.
He has a roster of previous successes in technology. Inc. magazine recognized three previous firms led by Griggs on the Inc. 500 list as the fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. He held executive spots in Cbeyond, a publicly traded cloud communications company (Nasdaq: CBEY) and AlignCloud and held a series of positions at Hosting.com, including chief sales officer, chief service officer and general manager for their flagship Delaware Data Center.
Griggs and his business partner David Stadler were selected as the 2016 Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Ohio Valley. Also in 2016, El Toro was just the 12th U.S. company selected to participate in Endeavor at the 63rd International Selection Panel.
Griggs served as a volunteer firefighter with the Simpsonville Rural Fire District in Shelby Co., Ky. He and the love of his life for over 20 years, wife Amy, have a daughter and a son, and reside in Kentucky.
Creativity, curiosity and discipline define Delanor Manson’s accomplishments across many fields.
Jewelry designer, businesswoman, nurse and Navy captain all describe successful careers mastered by Manson. With degrees in nursing and healthcare management, she has been at the forefront of innovative medical initiatives in both patient care and complex administrative issues. Achieving the rank of U.S. Navy captain, Manson applied her nursing education to positions in the U.S, Japan, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Puerto Rico.
As the associate vice president of research and design for Hosparus Inc., she was involved in the complex interplay of strategic planning, project design, and management.
In 2008, Manson founded the Koi Gallery at the Galt House Hotel to exhibit and sell jewelry she designed. The gallery currently showcases paintings, sculptures and other pieces created by local, regional and national artisans. About one fifth of the artists showcased in the gallery are emerging artists. This has garnered Manson national acclaim, as evidenced by the designs for poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Her many awards include recognition by Her Scene magazine as a style icon, Today’s Woman magazine’s Most Admired Woman in the Arts in 2012, and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as their 2013 EPIC award finalist for the Woman Business Owner of the Year. Mogul magazine featured her in an article titled “Not a Boutique, but a Gallery of Jewelry & Art Infusion.”
Manson is an active community member with a leadership position in the Woman’s Club of Louisville, board member for the Look Art Gallery Consortium, and past chairperson of the Committee on Health. She currently serves as the chairperson of the Committee on Culinary Arts of the Woman’s Club of Louisville.
Peng Looi followed his heart and became a world-class chef.
Owner of two successful restaurants, guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House, and recipient of countless awards, Looi traded engineering for cooking and has never looked back.
In 1987, Looi opened his first award-winning restaurant, August Moon Chinese Bistro, which features contemporary Chinese cuisine with South East Asian influences that reflect his Malaysian home. In 1994 came the upscale casual Asiatique, serving Looi’s own unique and artful interpretation of East-West Pacific Rim cuisine. Local and regional food critics have quoted his creations as “works of edible art.”
Looi hails from Ipoh, Malaysia, where he learned his first lessons in cooking and became familiar with the foods of many different cultures. At age 17, he left for Manchester, England to continue his schooling. In 1981, Looi came to the United States and earned his degree in civil engineering. However, he realized his heart was with cooking, not engineering, during his engineering internship, and changed course.
Looi’s restaurants have won numerous awards, including Bon Appetit magazine’s top 125 restaurants nationwide. Both restaurants were also awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for multiple years. In 2013, Asiatique was awarded the maximum 4-star rating by the Courier-Journal.
Looi has been a guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House multiple times and a master chef at the World Gourmet Summit in Las Vegas. His guest chef appearances include the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Food + Wine Affair in Houston, Texas, the Charleston Food + Wine Festival (S.C.), and the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival (Calif.), among many others. As a WACS certified judge, he has been invited to judge international culinary competitions in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Dubai. Looi was honored with the nationally prestigious Jefferson Evans award for Chef of the Year in New York City.
Known for his commitment to community and charitable causes, Looi has been the coordinating chef for the Crane House (an Asian Institute in Louisville, Ky.) for many years. He has also assisted in raising funds for the Salvation Army Culinary program and Kosair Children’s Hospital. He is a member of the culinary advisory board to the Hospitality Department of Sullivan University.
Looi and his family reside in Louisville, Ky.
The desire to serve her community and have a greater impact on more people fuels Theresa Reno-Weber to excel.
Recently named president and CEO of Metro United Way, which serves counties across Kentucky and southern Indiana, Reno-Weber has a wealth of experience in private and public sectors. She most recently served Louisville Metro Government where she oversaw the Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation (OPI2), the Department of Information Technology, and the Department of Human Resources.
At Louisville Metro Government, Reno-Weber led the launch of Louisville’s internationally recognized LouieStat program, which provides data to track, analyze and manage city government transparently and effectively. In 2015, Government Technology magazine named her one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers. In 2016, she received the Best of Kentucky Visionary award.
In the private sector, Reno-Weber worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
She has spoken both internationally and nationally on subjects of performance management, data-driven decision making, and culture change and co-authored a chapter in the book “Beyond Transparency.”
A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and former lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, she was deployed to the Persian Gulf, and was on the first Coast Guard cutter to circumnavigate the globe. Reno-Weber also served as a sea marshal post 9/11.
She earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Active in the Girl Scouts, she now serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. She earned the Girl Scout Gold Award while in high school. Reno-Weber also serves on the boards of Actors Theatre and The Drucker Institute.
She lives in Louisville, Ky. with her husband and three children