BRIGHT Kentucky Celebrates Class of 2023 Graduation

Posted on: November 13, 2023
BRIGHT 2023 Graduates

Leadership Kentucky proudly congratulates the BRIGHT Kentucky Class of 2023 on its November graduation held in Mt. Vernon. The Class of 2023 is the fifth cohort to participate and graduate from BRIGHT Kentucky.

BRIGHT Kentucky, which began in 2019, engages bright, entrepreneurial minds from various occupational sectors to offer non-partisan, ethical leadership training, expanded networks, and mentors designed especially for residents of the 54 Kentucky counties of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The program is made possible by a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant and private funding from the Whitaker Foundation, AEP Foundation/Kentucky Power, and other generous donors.

BRIGHT Kentucky’s training seminars and experiential learning focuses on understanding the local economic context and working to build a robust skill set in communication, collaboration, consensus building, visioning, and community engagement. This year’s program ran from July through November and took participants across Eastern Kentucky: Pikeville in July, Pineville in August, Morehead and Ashland in September, Corbin and Somerset in October, and Frankfort and Berea in November.

This year’s class included 39 participants from 25 different ARC counties representing a variety of public and private sectors. Leadership Kentucky congratulates the following members:

  1. Daniel Armstrong - Greenup County - Farming Now!
  2. Emily Aust - Greenup County - Pathways
  3. Kimberly Back - Wolfe County - Whitaker Bank
  4. Andrew Bledsoe - Montgomery County - Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Office of the Inspector General
  5. Sarah Bowling - Whitley County - Bluegrass Care Navigators
  6. Lyndsey Brown - Russell County - Lake Cumberland Area Development District
  7. Rick Burke - Rowan County - St. Claire HealthCare
  8. Layken Chapman - Johnson County - Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH)
  9. Tiffany Coleman - Pike County - Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  10. Megan Cornett - Perry County - Housing Development Alliance
  11. Donald Damron - Carter County - King's Daughters Medical Center
  12. Lacey Dixon - Greenup County - City of Greenup
  13. Morgyn Dixon - Pike County - University of Pikeville
  14. Micah Drake - Estill County - Carhartt
  15. Alyssa Emmett - Laurel County - Entrepreneur
  16. Cierra Gibson - Laurel County - Cumberland River Behavioral Health
  17. Crystal Hall - Knott County - Alice Lloyd College
  18. Erik Hall - Clark County - Kentucky American Water Company
  19. Jordan Hood - Knox County - RRJ Solutions
  20. Shelby Jones - Pulaski County - Cumberland Valley Area Development District
  21. Lauren Kirby - Rockcastle County - Christian Appalachian Project, INC.
  22. Leslie Lester - Wayne County - City of Monticello
  23. Isabella Martin - Pulaski County - Boys & Girls Club of Somerset
  24. Ben Mosley - Knott County - Sitel group
  25. Ryan Newsome - Magoffin County - American Electric Power (Kentucky Power)
  26. Anthony Ortega - Laurel County - Windstream Telecommunications
  27. Joe Palumbo - Perry County - American Red Cross
  28. Jordan Pierce - Casey County - Tarter Farm and Ranch
  29. Emily Shafer - Pulaski County - Somerset Community College
  30. Tyler Stapp - Russell County - Stapp's Enterprises
  31. Hunter Stewart - Bath County - CG Bank
  32. Shanna Storm - Whitley County - CHI Saint Joseph Health
  33. Lynda Mae Taylor - Montgomery County - Gateway Children's Services
  34. Stacie Taylor - Pike County - Pikeville Medical Center
  35. Madeline Tipton - Boyd County - The Tipton Creative, LLC
  36. Gary Vinson - Perry County - Hazard Community and Technical College
  37. Sydney Whitaker, DSW,LCSW,LCADC - Knott County - Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation
  38. Kirsten Wilburn - Laurel County - Entrepreneur
  39. Jessy Workman - Floyd County - Wayland Historical Society

Applications for the BRIGHT Kentucky Class of 2024 will be available in the spring at


About Leadership Kentucky

Leadership Kentucky, created in 1984 as a non-profit educational organization, brings together a diverse group of people who possess a broad variety of leadership abilities, career accomplishments, and volunteer activities to gain insight into complex issues facing the state. By fostering understanding of how the state’s issues are interconnected, and by forging new relationships among community and regional leaders, Leadership Kentucky graduates bring a fresh and informed perspective to their communities and companies, serving as important participants in the unified effort to shape Kentucky’s future. The Leadership Kentucky Foundation offers four unique programs: Leadership Kentucky, ELEVATE Kentucky (for young professionals), BRIGHT Kentucky (for next generation Eastern Kentucky leaders) and New Executives to Kentucky (for senior level executives who have lived in the state for less than two years). For more information, please visit or email


Norton Healthcare
Pikeville Medical Center
Kentucky Power
US Bank
RunSwitch PR
Stites & Harbison, PLLC
Republic Bank
Whitaker Bank
Putting Kentuckians First and Reentry with the Kentucky Office Of Adult Education and the Education and Labor Cabinet
CHI St Joseph Healthcare
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
University of Louisville
Delta Dental
Kentucky Association of Health Plans
Whitaker Bank Foundation
St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Tennessee Valley Authority
Appalachian Regional Healthcare