BRIGHT Kentucky Class of 2019 Graduates in Morehead

Posted on: November 26, 2019
Tags: Session Review, BRIGHT Kentucky

Madeline Flynn – Communications Manager
502-695-1102 |

MOREHEAD, Ky. (November 22, 2019) The inaugural BRIGHT Kentucky, a Leadership Kentucky program, graduated in Morehead on Friday, November 22, 2019. Forty-eight civic and community leaders from across the Appalachian region of Kentucky celebrated completion of the program at the Morehead Conference Center.

BRIGHT Kentucky is designed to build the capacity of next-generation leaders (average age 20-40) in the Appalachian region of Kentucky to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development. BRIGHT Kentucky engages bright, entrepreneurial minds from all sectors and regions 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). Following graduation, participants are prepared to think long-term and strategically build upon the strengths of their communities and newly formed networks to lead the region to a more prosperous future.

“BRIGHT Kentucky has been such a learning and growing experience for me, both personally and professionally,” said Nicole Winkleman, member of the BRIGHT Kentucky Class of 2019. “I have been inspired in so many ways – inspired to do more for my community, inspired to collaborate more to improve the region, and inspired to work on my development as a person and a leader. Because of BRIGHT, great things are going to happen.”

The program, which ran July through November, took participants across Eastern Kentucky including: Natural Bridge Region in July, Big Sandy Region and Cumberland Region in September, the Daniel Boone Region in October, and the Gateway Region in November. BRIGHT Kentucky is made possible by a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant and private funding from the Whitaker Foundation, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), and others. The ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments, including Kentucky, focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region.

“The BRIGHT program is a call to action. Effective leadership requires action and is best measured by results. The participants have been challenged to identify various projects to improve their region and exercise ethical leadership and regional collaboration to render success,” said Elmer Whitaker, former Leadership Kentucky Board Chair and BRIGHT Program Visionary and donor.  “Given the quality leaders in the program and the growth obtained through BRIGHT, we are certain their actions will have positive results.”

This year’s class included 47 participants from 28 different ARC counties representing a variety of public and private sectors.

Leadership Kentucky congratulates the following graduates:

  • Lucas Barnes - Estill County – Estill County Emergency Management Agency
  • Will Bowling - Clay County – The Nature Conservancy
  • Rachel Bowling - Carter County – Morehead State University Small Business Development Center
  • Jessica Bray - Laurel County – Cumberland Valley Area Development District
  • Ruthie Caldwell - Floyd County – Vision Granted
  • Daniel Carmack - Laurel County – Sallie Davidson Realtors
  • Kelli Chaney - Clinton County – United Cumberland Bank
  • Corey Chesnut - Knox County – Forcht Bank
  • Jerrod Childers - Powell County – Whitaker Bank
  • Bobby Clue - Pulaski County – Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce
  • Emily Conley - Wayne County – Barnes & Noble College
  • Andrew Davis - Knox County – Hometown Bank
  • Dee Dozier - Boyd County – American Electric Power-Kentucky Power
  • Aaron Ellis - Greenup County – Pathways Inc.
  • Larry Epling - Pike County – University of Pikeville
  • Danielle Franklin Harmon - Johnson County – Highlands Health System
  • JaKaye Garth - Pulaski County – Hampton Inn
  • Cody Gibson - Pulaski County – Wright Medical Technologies
  • Chase Hail - Whitley County – The Holler Creative
  • Julie Hendrix - Wolfe County - Hazard Community and Technical College System
  • KaSandra Hensley - Rowan County - N.E. KY Area Health Education Center, St. Claire HealthCare
  • Whitney Hogg - Letcher County – Childers Oil/Double Kwik
  • Chandra Hunley - Floyd County – City of Pikeville, Appalachian Wireless Arena
  • Chassidy Ison - Morgan County – Pathways Inc.
  • Tyler Johnson - Madison County – City of Richmond
  • Jeffery Justice - Pike County – Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR)
  • Colby Kirk - Harlan County – One Harlan County
  • Maggy Kriebel - Whitley County – Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission
  • Derek Lewis - Laurel County – Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Brandy Martin - Whitley County – University of the Cumberlands
  • Payton May - Pike County - BitSource
  • Lauren McCoart - Perry County – WYMT
  • Mindy Miller - Perry County – Housing Development Alliance, Inc.
  • Ladetra Morgan –Leslie County – Red Bird Mission
  • J. Morrison - Boyd County – Boyd County Fiscal Court
  • John Nelson - Rowan County – Morehead State University
  • Jeremy Noble - Lewis County – Maysville Community and Technical College
  • Sally Oakes - Letcher County – Childers Oil/Double Kwik
  • Donnie Osborn - Martin County – Kentucky Educational Development Corporation
  • Ryan Osborne - Whitley County – University of the Cumberlands
  • Kayla Parsons - Lawrence County –Addiction Recovery Care
  • Laura Patrick - Greenup County – King’s Daughters Health System
  • Aaron Poynter - Russell County – Bennett’s Carpets, Inc.
  • Brittany Ratliff - Pike County – Jones & Walters PLLC
  • Sierra Rice - Boyd County – Members Choice Credit Union
  • Don Smith - Pike County – Pike County Commonwealth Attorney
  • Nicole Winkleman - Elliott County – Kentucky Rural Healthcare Information Organization

BRIGHT Kentucky will be have its second class in 2020. Applications for the Class of 2020 will be available in March online at





About Leadership Kentucky

Leadership Kentucky, created in 1984 as a non-profit educational organization, brings together a select 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. Our goal is to prepare our participants to take an active role in advancing the state for the common good. 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.


BRIGHT Kentucky is designed to build the capacity of next-generation leaders in the Appalachian region of Kentucky to innovate, collaborate, and advance community and economic development.

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