ELEVATE Kentucky 2023 visits Frankfort and Northern Kentucky!

Posted on: June 15, 2023
ELEVATE Frankfort and NKY

Written by: Abigail Gall, ELEVATE Class of 2023, Executive Advisor, Commonwealth of Kentucky-Department of Insurance


On June 7th, the 2023 ELEVATE Kentucky class drove to the final session of the 2023 program in Frankfort, Kentucky. The program started at the Frankfort Country Club located on the back 9 of a stunning golf course. Class members had a deep discussion regarding the Pikeville session and were reminded of the valuable lessons learned while visiting Appalachia. After a debrief, Les Fugate, Vice President, Director of State and Local Government Relations for Brown-Forman, and an LKY 2015 alum, led the class through a business etiquette luncheon. Participants were amazed at the techniques and details of proper formal etiquette- some defeating and some humorous.

After daintily blotting our mouths, we headed downtown for a historical tour of the breathtaking Kentucky State Capitol building. There we were met by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller, representing Kentucky’s 6th district, who gave a detailed overview of Kentucky’s judicial system and her role in government. Justice Keller was nice enough to allow the ELEVATE members into the justice’s conference room for a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of where many of the most important decisions for the Commonwealth are made. As we left the judicial branch, class members met at the Capitol Annex to learn more about issues facing the legislature. Van Ingram, Executive Director for the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy spoke to the class about his office’s initiatives in combating the opioid crisis deeply affecting our Commonwealth. Representative Danny Bentley and Senators Robin Webb and Dr. Donald Douglas shared political and personal leadership insights with the class.  With our brains full and our bellies empty, we were invited to join an alumni reception held at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s office. The wonderful event afforded LKY board members, alumni, and ELEVATE members a great opportunity to engage and network. Next stop, Newport, Kentucky!

Thursday, June 8th, 2023, fellow classmates gathered at the World Peace Bell for a presentation by Will Weber, President/CEO of Southbank Partners, and Purple People Bridge Company, as well as a 2021 ELEVATE KY Alum. Mr. Weber shared the many wonderful initiatives of the NKY Riverbanks Region and several economic development projects coming to fruition soon that will help reshape and revitalize many communities including Newport and Dayton, specifically. Next, participants loaded a bus, also guided by Will Weber, to see firsthand some of the development projects hitting these communities. From the riverside homes of Dayton to the DBL Law offices of Covington (Bob Hoffer, Managing Partner, thank you!), ELEVATE saw more than 10 economic development projects in three separate cities within two counties.

Lunch was provided and participants heard from a number of talented NKY leaders. Brent Cooper with the NKY Chamber of Commerce; Tom West, Economic Development Director for the city of Covington; Karen Finan, President/CEO OneNKY Alliance; Josh Quinn, Product Development Director meetNKY. These changemakers discussed with members a huge new project the city of Covington is pursuing and the importance of community engagement for successful economic development. After a wonderful time spent in Covington, ELEVATE headed back to the newly rejuvenated Newport on the Levee. Emily Mason, Concierge for Newport on the Levee, greeted the class with warm cookies and walked us through the recent improvements of the Levee since the new ownership took over in 2021. From boutiques to food trucks to local breweries, Newport on the Levee has seemingly found a way to incorporate bits and pieces of the NKY culture and community into a vast commercial space. Ending the tour at the 16 Lots Southern OutPost wasn’t too bad either! Many classmates hung around for a quick drink before indulging in a New Riff bourbon tasting led by Jay Erisman, Co-Founder and Global Brand Ambassador, Riff Distilling on the Purple People Bridge. To follow up, Davis Robinson, Director of Leadership Academy for St. Elizabeth Healthcare left participants with some awe-inspiring words of wisdom we pondered over a BBQ dinner at Shiners on the Levee.

June 9th came very quickly, and we were all a bit melancholy at breakfast knowing it was the last day of our third and final session. Though bittersweet, we were all eager to hear our final class panel and walk across “the stage” cheering on our friends. Classmates traveled to the beautiful Hotel Covington where Donna Salyers, Founder & President of Fabulous-Furs and Hotel Covington, greeted ELEVATE with a warm smile. Mrs. Salyers shared her emotional and triumphant story with the class, proving that the direction of a life can change with one event. Next, several class members shared windows into their professional and personal lives, which seemed near impossible given all the amazing things we had already learned about one another in past sessions! The cherry on top was Mr. Perry Allen, Chair of Leadership Kentucky Board of Directors, and 2014 LKY Alum, congratulating the class on our accomplishments and reminding us that leadership and learning should never cease followed by inspirational graduation remarks from Trey Grayson, Former Secretary of State, Frost Brown Todd (FBT), Managing Director; LKY Alum 2002; LKY Executive Committee, LKY Board of Directors.

As the morning led to lunch, the louder the “pomp and circumstance” tune began to play in our heads. One by one, we were called up to accept our graduation plaque. However, there is no way to capture into words or pictures the invaluable lessons that ELEVATE Kentucky afforded each one of us in just three short months. Not only did we learn from all the different communities we visited in this Commonwealth, but we also learned how to work beside one another regardless of our personal backgrounds or professional accomplishments, we were each there for the same reason, to ELEVATE Kentucky, together. BE GREAT, ELEVATE!

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