ELEVATE Kentucky 2023 visits Pikeville!

Posted on: June 6, 2023
ELEVATE Pikeville

Written by: Amy Su, ELEVATE KY Class of 2023, Project Manager at the Japan/America Society of Kentucky

The members of ELEVATE Kentucky 2023 headed to Pikeville for the second session of the program from May 17 to May 19, 2023.

The first day of the session began at the Overlook Events Center with a welcome from Jill Dotson, Director of Economic Development for the City of Pikeville, and Jordan Gibson, President of the Southeast Chamber of Commerce and 2018 LKY Alum. Members then broke into small groups for roundtable discussions with representatives from SOAR Initiatives, Community Trust Bank, University of Pikeville, and Pikeville Medical Center. The discussions highlighted the merits of Pikeville as a city and discussed challenges that the organizations and city are currently facing.

Following the roundtable discussions, participants heard from Rusty Justice, Co-Founder of Bitsource and LKY Alum. Rusty gave an insightful talk about “Appalachia 101” where he discussed his upbringing in Pikeville, experience with the coal mining industry, and how it brought him to co-found his company that is dedicated to the digital transformation of Appalachia. After his presentation, the class was surprised by Perry Allen, current chair of Leadership Kentucky, who spoke about the importance of leadership and the role that ELEVATE Kentucky plays in developing future leaders for the state. Later on, we had dinner with sponsors of ELEVATE Pikeville and then heard a talk from Reed Potter, Financial Planner, and Regional Historian. Reed spoke on the history of the Hatfields and McCoys, one of the most famous feuds in American history.

On the second day, we went to the Pikeville Medical Center and participated in a Simulated Society, also known as SimSoc. Lindsay Hudock and Jade McGovern of Well Said Public Relations led the group through the experience. SimSoc is a social game where players are given roles and through the roles and interactions, a society is created. In the game, members dealt with real-world issues including socioeconomic inequality, diversity, justice, power dynamics, and politics. There was a group debriefing session with Lindsay and Jade at the end of SimSoc. There was so much to process after the exercise that many of us continued to debrief for the remainder of the day. In the evening, we enjoyed dinner at Breaks Interstate Park and saw a beautiful view of the sun as it started to set. On the way back to the hotel, we sighted some elk and the bus driver was kind to stop a couple of times for us to take a closer look at them.

On the last day of the session, we walked over to the Appalachian Wireless Arena where started the day off with a class career panel, learning more about each other’s work and passions. Josh Kesler, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing gave us a tour of the arena and talked to us about past and upcoming events. Following the tour, Karen Butcher, ELEVATE Program Coordinator, led the class in navigating Courageous Conversations, coaching us on how to be better listeners and effective communicators. Dr. Amanda Slone, Assistant Provost and Professor at the University of Pikeville, concluded the session with a presentation titled “Appreciating Appalachia,” where she spoke about the value of the region and its people. We learned that Appalachia is a region rich in history and culture with a lot to offer, but it is often overlooked and misunderstood. Dr. Slone said it is important for us to appreciate Appalachia for what it is and not what others have made it out to be. The region is home to a diverse population and is a place of beauty and resilience.

The second session in Pikeville flew by and we’re looking forward to the final session in Frankfort and Northern Kentucky in June.

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