Rebecca Jackson was the first woman ever elected Jefferson County, Ky. judge-executive, the county’s highest-ranking elected official.
Before that election, Jackson had been active in international relations. She served on a delegation fostering relationships with local governments in China and with the International Republican Institute, observing Russian parliamentary elections and the selection of a Bulgarian presidential candidate.
Jackson is a graduate of the University of Louisville where she received her B.S. and Masters in Education. She began her career as a special-needs teacher and from there launched an employment agency for persons with handicaps. She also was CEO of RJ Consulting where she taught internationally on leadership and management training.
She is currently CEO of the WHAS Crusade for Children, a nonprofit organization serving children with special needs.
From an early age, Trey Grayson has been motivated to serve his community.
Grayson is a northern Kentucky native. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1994 and his J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1998.
Grayson was elected to the office of Kentucky secretary of state in 2003, which at age 31 made him the youngest secretary of state in the country. He later became known as an expert on innovation in politics, as well as the political views of the millennial generation.
Before serving as Kentucky secretary of state Grayson was an attorney with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald.
Barbara Sexton Smith’s personal mission is to leave the earth better than she found it.
Sexton Smith has a storied professional background that includes time in corporate America where she rose to become the second highest ranking woman at Wendy’s International. She also is a successful entrepreneur. She founded Quick Think, Inc., a leadership development company in 1996 and was nominated for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
A champion of the arts and area nonprofits, Sexton Smith helped raise more than $200 million for Louisville-area organizations, including the Fund for the Arts, Metro United Way, Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the National Conference for Community and Justice and West Louisville Boys and Girls Choirs.
Today she helps teach others how to reach their goals, leading courses in negotiation.
At age 22, Bob Russell became the pastor of a small congregation of 120 people called Southeast Christian Church. By the time he retired from Southeast 40 years later, it would become one of the largest in the United States, with 18,000 people attending services every weekend.
Growing up, Russell intended to become a high-school basketball coach in his Philadelphia hometown. His plans changed during his senior year of high school when he realized a desire in his heart to enter the ministry; he enrolled in Cincinnati Bible Seminary and graduated in 1965.
Through Bob Russell Ministries, he continues to preach at churches and conferences throughout the country, guiding and mentoring younger church leaders. Russell has also written more than a dozen books, and creates Bible study videos for use in small groups.
Debbie Scoppechio is the founder of Kentucky’s largest advertising agency.
After 15 years in the business, Scoppechio decided to take her considerable energy, vision and determination and start her own agency. Creative Alliance has grown from a three-person company to a Top 100 national agency employing over 150 people with annual billing of $200 million.
Scoppechio was the second woman inducted in the Kentucky Business Hall of Fame. Her honors include Top Kentucky Woman Business Owner of the Year, and an Entrepreneurial Excellence award from Working Woman magazine.
Christopher 2X is driven by the plight of the poor and wants to help them transform their mindset.
After serving a seven-year prison sentence for drug trafficking in the 1990s, 2X become both an anti-violence advocate and a community spokesperson on issues of violence and at-risk youth.
2X has become a trusted face and voice for the poor and disenfranchised. After a police shooting in Louisville left an African-American teenager dead in 2004, 2X was instrumental in calming the community’s anger after the police officer’s acquittal. That’s when he discovered his gift for defusing angry situations.
2X has been honored for his work to bring peace and justice to vulnerable communities through neighborhood groups like the Hood 2 Hood Movement.
David Armstrong is an achiever who looks to maximize everything he can do in a day.
He is a graduate of Murray State University and received his J.D. from the University of Louisville school of law in 1969. Armstrong has a long and distinguished career as a public servant. He spent time as a family court judge, Jefferson County commonwealth attorney, and in 1983 became attorney general of Kentucky.
Armstrong served as Louisville’s mayor from 1999 to 2003, after a decade as Jefferson County judge/executive. He helped architect the merger of Louisville/Jefferson County government in 2003.
Revitalization of downtown Louisville was a cornerstone of his administration and included expansions of the city’s medical district and the creation of Fourth Street Live! and the Louisville Extreme Park.
Armstrong is now executive in residence at the University of Louisville where he coordinates efforts to reinforce Louisville’s arts and cultural initiatives.
Stan Curtis wants to inspire and empower people to help those who can’t help themselves.
In December of 1986, Curtis experienced a life changing moment. While standing in a cafeteria line, he imagined workers delivering food that would otherwise go to waste and delivering it to those in need.
Curtis founded Kentucky Harvest and USA Harvest to collect leftover food from restaurants and groceries and deliver them to shelters and soup kitchens across the country. Curtis sees Kentucky Harvest as an opportunity both for those who need help and those who want to help.
His work has been honored by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and he received the President’s Volunteer Action Award from President Bill Clinton.