Kentucky Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit - Speakers

Lettie Bailey-Johnson, CEO/Founder, Gifted by Design Leadership and Consulting
Lettie Bailey-Johnson of Louisville, Ky. is the CEO/Founder of Gifted By Design Leadership and Consulting, LLC  (GBD). A wholistic values-based personal and professional development practice in connecting, consulting, counseling, and coaching people and organizations. Lettie holds over 25+ years of experience in transforming organizations and people across sectors around the World. As a Certified facilitator in Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Emotional Intelligence and DISC Behavior Consultant, and John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker, Lettie offers workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding your personal and professional growth through study and practical application of proven leadership and equity methods. Working together, she moves people and/or your organization in the desired direction to reach your goals using tailored programs. Among Civic duties Lettie serves on Boards both locally and nationally.  Her most recent service is being a graduate of Leadership Louisville as a 2021 Bingham Fellow that led to founding 3 Organizations (The 3003 Collaborative 501C3, The 3003 Campaign 501C4, and The 3003PAC) to improve the lives of Black Kentuckians by advancing leaders, policies and systems that end structural racism.

Cyndi Benedict, Director of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, Norton Healthcare
Louisville native Cynthia Benedict is a seasoned healthcare professional, currently applying her talents as director, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging at Norton Healthcare, and helping to lead the organizational commitment to mirror the community within the Norton Healthcare leadership team. Outside of Norton Healthcare, Cynthia is involved in the betterment of our community as the owner of Pathways to Success, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing young African American girls for careers in the medical field. Cynthia says she “has a deep passion for these young ladies." Cynthia earned her Bachelor of Health Science degree from Spalding University, and received her Diversity and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University. She is a member of Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville. She is married to Ronald and is the mother Jamie, 26, and Jaela, 22 a graduate student at Bellarmine University.

Katelyn Bloyd, Director of Employee Experience, Baptist Health System
Katelyn Bloyd, MA, is system manager of Employee Experience for Baptist Health. In this role, she works alongside the vice president of Employee Experience to strategize opportunities to build upon a culture that is team-centered, inclusive, and aligned with the health system’s Christ-centered mission and values. Baptist Health employs more than 23,000 people in Kentucky and surrounding states. Bloyd has more than 15 years of healthcare business management experience, with 10 years in human resources. Prior to HR, she was a business manager for Bluegrass Spine, a distributor of Stryker Spine. At Baptist Health, Bloyd leads the development of engagement programs that span an employee’s career with the system. She is dedicated to strengthening the employee experience through programs and activities that foster belonging and inclusion. Additionally, she creates resources and tools to help leaders build meaningful connections with their staff through recognition, feedback, and personal and professional development.  Bloyd works closely with Baptist Health’s communications manager to keep employees up to date about important HR initiatives in a timely, uniform fashion. She is versed in social media and career site branding and uses these skills for attracting and engaging current and future talent.  Bloyd earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Indiana University and went on to pursue a master’s degree in Christian studies with an emphasis on Christian leadership. She is now in her third year of a doctoral program in business administration with an emphasis on strategic leadership. She also is a certified DiSC Workplace trainer.  Outside of work and learning, Bloyd is married with two daughters and two fur babies. She spends many weekends cheering from the sidelines as her girls compete in sports.

J. Michael Brown, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, Simmons College
J. Michael Brown is the director of Pre-Law at Simmons College of Kentucky, an HBCU.  He served as the Secretary of the Executive Cabinet for Governor Andy Beshear.  He has been the Deputy Attorney General, Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, a district court Judge, law director for the City of Louisville and First Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. Brown was the first African American president of the Louisville Bar Association and has practiced law with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs and Stites & Harbison. He received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of NY where he was the Distinguished Military Graduate. He received his J.D. from the University of Louisville School of Law and is an Alumni Fellow.

Fesha Buie, Associate Vice President of Strategic Planning, Women’s Business Enterprise Council Ohio River Valley
Fesha Buie is the Associate Vice President of Strategic Programs for WBEC ORV. She is responsible for the quality, and delivery of all WBEC ORV training workshops, entrepreneurial education events, and application-based strategic programs. Fesha joined WBEC ORV March of this year (2022). Her background includes 14 years as a Supplier Diversity Professional, with a combined 30 years in the financial services industry working for U.S. Bank and MassMutual. Fesha is dedicated to identifying and engaging highly competitive women owned businesses for procurement opportunities and developing programming that promote creation and innovation for WBEs and corporate stakeholders in WBEC ORV’s three-state region of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Fesha has a BA in Business Management and is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Marilyn Clark, 1st Supplier Diversity Manager, University of Kentucky
Marilyn Clark is the Supplier Diversity Manager for the University of Kentucky (UK) where she is responsible for working across the enterprise to increase spending with diverse suppliers.  She works closely with the procurement team, project managers and departments and community leaders to include minority, women, veteran, and disabled-owned businesses into the UK supply chain.  In addition, Ms., Clark leads the UK Equitable Economic Development Collaborative.  Prior to coming to UK, Marilyn worked in supplier diversity at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and for the Fayette County Public Schools. Ms. Clark received her undergraduate degree in broadcast communications at the University of North Texas and has an Executive MBA from the joint program at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. She completed diversity certificate programs with Cornell University, the University of Houston, the National Association of Educational Procurement Supplier Diversity Institute, and additional training from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Program Manager’s Seminar. She is the former Vice-President and Station Manager for the NBC affiliate in Lexington and worked in television management in the Dallas, Philadelphia, and Birmingham markets, prior to moving to Lexington. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, gardening, traveling, and walking.  She loves spending time with her family, friends and grand dog, Ms. Nala.

Dr. Kevin Cosby, Ph.D., President, Simmons College
For more than 40 years, Dr. Cosby has served as the pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church, the largest African American Church, and the largest private employer of African Americans in the state of Kentucky. In 2005, Dr. Cosby was inaugurated as the 13th President of Simmons College of Kentucky. In 2007, he led the once fledgling college to reclaim its original campus, lost during the Great Depression, and has since expanded to four campus locations. Under Dr. Cosby’s visionary leadership, the college earned national accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and expanded its degree programs. Dr. Cosby uncovered the rich history of Simmons, which was established by former slaves, and in 2014, Simmons was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Historically Black College & University. During his first decade there, Dr. Cosby refused to take a salary to stabilize the college and returned more than $700,000. He is one of our nation’s most influential leaders: He was inducted into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians at the Kentucky State Capitol (2015); At the request of Muhammad Ali, he served as one of the eulogists at his Funeral (2016); and he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College (2017). Dr. Cosby has an earned Doctor of Ministry degree and is pursuing his second doctorate – a PhD at Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH.  He has a recently released book which is a Biblical commentary on the American Descendants of Slavery entitled: “Getting to the Promised Land: Black America and the Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Movement”, published by Westminster John Knox Press. Dr. Cosby is married to the former Barnetta Turner. They have two adult children.

Dr. Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director, Kentucky Center for Statistics
Dr. Cunningham began working as a research analyst with KYSTATS in 2015. Dr. Cunningham holds her bachelor of science degree from Georgetown College and master’s degree in mathematics followed by her doctorate in educational policy studies and evaluation from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis in educational measurement and statistics. Prior to joining KYSTATS, Dr. Cunningham served as a faculty member teaching graduate education courses in research methods, statistics, program evaluation, and classroom assessment. Dr. Cunningham also served as an evaluator over the past eight years on numerous state and federal grants across multiple disciplines in North Carolina and Kentucky. Being a Kentucky native, Dr. Cunningham brings her passion for education in Kentucky and experience in developing and disseminating research to a variety of audiences.

Ray Daniels, Owner & President, Equity Solutions Group
Raymond Daniels is the former Owner and President of LexiDan Foods LLC, a franchise of Waffle House, Inc. In this role, he owned and operated and oversees 13 Waffle Houses in Lexington Kentucky. Raymond recently created a new venture, Equity Solutions Group (ESG) – a company that Supplies Quality Goods and Services at a reduced price using proven strategic sourcing techniques. ESG also partners with corporations to ensure minority, female and veteran opportunities and inclusivity. ESG also helps companies identify areas to improve efficiencies and to reduce costs. Prior to founding LexiDan, Raymond spent twenty-six years in the fast food industry, beginning his career in 1992 as Unit Manager for Waffle House, Inc. He served the company in several management roles over the next fifteen years as Disaster Relief Manager for Operations, Director of Diversity and Minority Affairs, and later culminated as Senior Vice President of Operations responsible for 105 stores, 3500 employees, and more than $200 million in annual sales. He departed the company in 2008 to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit, purchasing a Waffle House Franchise (LexiDan) in Lexington, KY. He graciously serves on multiple boards to include: the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce of Lexington, Kentucky (Chairman Elect), the Community Ventures Corporation, the Urban League of Lexington, Kentucky, the Fayette County School Board (Vice Chairman), and the Kentucky Community Technical College System – Foundation Board. Born in New York City, Raymond holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from Catawba College where he was a collegiate athlete on the football team.

Beth Davisson, Senior Vice President, Kentucky Chamber Foundation
Beth Davisson is a Senior Vice President with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. She leads the Kentucky Chamber Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest association advocating on behalf of business. Beth joined the Chamber in 2017 to begin building the Workforce Center as the Foundation’s only fully dedicated employee.  Since then, the Foundation has grown to a team of fifteen and continues to expand its support to employers and efforts in building a stronger workforce. Beth is a lifelong resident of Kentucky, earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and MBA from Sullivan University. She has spent the last 10+ years advocating for the workforce in Kentucky and the nation’s capital and aligning talent to the strategic plans of business. Beth was honored as a “Top 40 under 40” and named a “Top 20 People to Know in Human Resources” by Business First Louisville. She serves on the boards of KYSHRM and Goodwill Industries. Beth was appointed by Governor Andy Beshear to the Executive Committee for the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, leading the state’s education attainment and employer engagement efforts, and is a Workforce Fellow for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Frazier, Executive Director, Center for DE&I, Kentucky Chamber Foundation
Since 2018, Joe Frazier served as the Director of the Dr. Patricia Carver Office of Identity and Inclusion at Bellarmine University where he oversaw student and faculty outreach, led fundraising, and developed programming, trainings, and conferences for the university. Frazier’s work led him to receive Bellarmine’s highest award for a faculty or staff member, the Bellie Award for Internationalization and Diversity. Prior to his work at Bellarmine University, Frazier began his career at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, serving as Assistant Director of the Cultural and Community Centers, where he advised several minority student organizations, led a program to train facilitators, and lead institutional wide cultural and diversity-related workshops, and oversaw several other initiatives. Frazier has also been involved in many community organizations in Kentucky including the Community Foundation, Volunteers of America DE&I Task Force, and Louisville Chief Equity Officer Committee.

Honorable David P. Givens, Senator, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Since his election in 2009, Senator Givens has worked to bring new opportunities to Kentucky. He promotes job creation by focusing on local control, cutting the red tape on our businesses, and strengthening the relationship between education and economy. As President Pro Tempore of the Kentucky Senate, he has the authority to preside over the Senate and sign legislation as needed. Combining his leadership role and committee assignments, Senator Givens is actively involved in agriculture issues and health and welfare concerns. He is also heavily involved in educational issues, which allows him the chance to promote workforce development and computer programming.

Cheri Glass, System Vice President, Employee Experience, Baptist Health System
Cheri Glass, SHRM-SCP, is system vice president of Employee Experience for Baptist Health. In this role, she provides leadership for Talent Acquisition, Talent Development, and HR Operations for the full-spectrum health system, which employs more than 23,000 people in Kentucky and surrounding states. Glass has more than 25 years of HR leadership and experience in Louisville in various industries including healthcare, banking/insurance services, manufacturing, and the non-profit sector.  She is a long-standing member of SHRM and holds a SHRM-SCP certification. Glass holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration/personnel administration and industrial relations from the University of Louisville. Currently, Glass serves as chair-elect for the board of directors for Hosparus Health and serves on the board for Christian Care Communities.

Jennifer Hancock, LCSW, President & CEO, Volunteers of America
Jennifer Hancock is the President/CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States. In her 15 years with the organization and 7 as CEO, Jennifer has led VOA through unprecedented growth and now oversees a $50MM budget and a team of more than 650 professionals across 4 states. In addition to addiction recovery services, VOA delivers solutions in the areas of veteran services, homeless and housing, public health, disabilities, and a Restorative Justice program that keeps youth out of the criminal justice system.  Addressing inequities in systems is a priority and passion of Jennifer’s. Jennifer is active in the community, serving on 8 boards including the Leadership Louisville Center where she serves as Chair, the Co-chair of the public safety committee for Impetus, and as the Chair of the board development committee for the West End Opportunity Partnership.

Honorable Samara Heavrin, Representative, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Samara Heavrin, 18th District State Representative for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, was elected in November 2019 in a special election. When sworn into office, she became the youngest female ever elected to the Kentucky State House of Representatives. In the Kentucky State House of Representatives, Samara serves on the House Committee’s on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, Judiciary, Transportation, and State Government. In 2021, she was announced as the Co-Chair of the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity. In 2020, she was chosen in the inaugural class of 20 Under 40 by The Council of State Governments and was named as a Greater Louisville Inc. Most Valuable Policy Maker. Upon Samara’s graduation from Western Kentucky University in 2014, she moved to Washington D.C. There she interned for U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie before joining U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s staff as staff assistant and then scheduler. After three years in Washington, Samara returned home to join Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball’s staff as Director of Initiatives. In her position at the State Treasury, Samara oversaw the STABLE Kentucky program, financial literacy, unclaimed property and transparency initiatives. Samara lives in Leitchfield, Kentucky with her golden retriever, Rosie, and is actively involved in her home community. She serves as a board member on the Owensboro Health Foundation Board.

Chris Johnson, Chief Diversity Officer, Frost Brown Todd LLC
As Chief Diversity Officer, Chris supports the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion, community engagement and culture initiatives.  Chris collaborates with leaders, supporters and champions across the firm to conceptualize and develop policies and practices to advance inclusivity, social responsibility and diverse representation at Frost Brown Todd. Prior to joining Frost Brown Todd, Chris served as both Director of Inclusion and Diversity and interim Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana, where he lead efforts around community engagement, data and analytics, mentoring and sponsorship. During his time in this role, Humana, rose to the top 15 ranked companies for Diversity as ranked by Diversity Inc. He previously served as the Executive Director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Office of Diversity, Equality, and Training,

Lisa Johnson, Director of Human Resources, Kentucky Chamber
Ms. Johnson is employed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Human Resources. She owns HR Know-How LLC and provides speaking, coaching and consulting services . She is a contributing author to [email protected], a collection of insights from industry leaders about the shifting boundaries in the modern workplace. Ms. Johnson is the Immediate Past President of the Louisville Society of Human Resource Management and a professional member of the National Speakers Association. She serves on the boards of Catholic Charities of Louisville and Town and Country Bank and Trust Company.

Honorable Gerald A. Neal, Senator, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Senator Neal serves as Assistant Region Six Director for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Neal is former Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council, and served on the Strategic Committee on Post-Secondary Education, which focused on the Kentucky Education Reform African American and At-Risk Children’s Caucus. Neal founded the group to have an impact upon policy and implementation of the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act. He is a graduate of Kentucky State University and the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and has undertaken graduate studies in political science at the University of Michigan. He has served as Vice President, Regional Director and Parliamentarian of the National Bar Association, and as President of the Kentucky National Bar Association.

Kungu Njuguna, Policy Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky
Kungu Njuguna is the “Smart on Crime” Policy Strategist for the ACLU of Kentucky, where he advocates in the General Assembly for criminal legal reform. He is a justice-involved person and an individual in long-term recovery.  His article, I’ll Never Be an IV Drug User: A Lawyer’s Unexpected Path to Heroin Addiction (KBA Bench & Bar, Sept/Oct. 2017) recounts his road to sobriety. He served as a prosecutor for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and as a city attorney for Louisville Metro Government. He currently serves on the Board of the Louisville Recovery Community Connection and is a former Vice-President of the Board of the ACLU of Kentucky. He received his JD from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.

Dr. Kish Cumi Price, Commissioner, Department of Workforce Development
Kish Cumi Price, PhD, has focused on strategic action to support youth and families for over 20 years. Her work has been shaped by evaluating systems, identifying gaps and braiding resources in response to those needs. As a first-generation graduate, former small business owner, and a divorced mom that had to work multiple jobs while completing a graduate degree, she is invested in helping people optimize educational and workforce opportunities. Dr. Price is committed to improving the quality of life for Kentuckians. As the Commissioner of Workforce Development and Special Advisor to the Governor, she works with the Office of the Governor, cabinet agencies, workforce boards, chambers of commerce, businesses, foundations, and community members across the state to provide innovative workforce solutions which include the cradle-to-career strategies necessary to address the various needs of employees and employers.

Dennis Ritchie, Senior Director of Reentry and Young Adult Services, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
Dennis Ritchie is the Senior Director of Reentry and Young Adult Services for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky.  Previously, he has served as the Director of Reentry Services, Interim Director of Career Services and as the Career Services Manager for LifeLaunch, a DOL grant funded program for adults reentering society.  By providing holistic and meaningful support services, along with employment services, the goal in reentry services is to reduce recidivism and increase job retention, creating a positive effect on the individual, their family and the community.  Reentry has been part of Dennis’ personal, family and professional life and his passion stems from his unique ability to provide perspective from all viewpoints regarding the subject, ultimately being a bridge for reentering citizens and the community.   His ability to create community partnerships and collaborations has expanded Goodwill’s brand and enhanced programming.  In 2019, under Dennis’ leadership, Goodwill was awarded the Lucille Hurt Rhobuck Commitment To Corrections Award for its efforts in the reentry field.  He developed Goodwill’s two-week job readiness boot camp training, RISE, and has implemented and formed the Young Adult Opportunity Campus (The SPOT), which combines 8 different grants and programs to serve young adults in Kentucky.  He has been involved in the community as a member of the Greater Louisville Reentry Coalition, Louisville Family Justice Advocates, Equity/Reentry Task Force of Urban Strategies, Recovery Housing Coalition, and serves as the Chair for the Opportunity Network.   He graduated from Bradley University 1994 B.S. finance, University of Kentucky College of Law 1997 J.D. law, and before joining Goodwill was a partner in the law firm of Dillingham & Ritchie 1999 -2006, and a sole practitioner, Dennis M. Ritchie attorney at law, specializing in criminal defense 2006-2012.  

Kate Shanks, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Kentucky Chamber
Kate Shanks is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Chamber, the state’s largest business association. She oversees the Chamber’s advocacy work, including developing and advocating for the business community’s state and federal legislative agendas, policy research and design, and member engagement. In her current role, she led the Chamber’s advocacy efforts to modernize the tax code for growth, reform the unemployment insurance system to support re-employment, ensure unemployment insurance tax relief for employers, and address child care cost challenges. Kate is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and earned a bachelor’s in Natural Resource Conservation and Management and a Master of Public Administration from the Martin School for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, where she serves on the Board of Visitors. Before joining the Chamber, Kate spent over a decade working for state agencies in communications, policy analysis, and legislative affairs, predominately in the energy and environment field. She lives in Frankfort with her husband and two sons.

Terrance A. Sullivan, J.D., Executive Director, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
Terrance Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR). KCHR is the state agency charged with enforcing the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, a protector of the civil rights of Kentucky citizens. KCHR hears cases on discrimination across the state and offers trainings and educational opportunities for all Kentucky citizens. KCHR also empowers local commissions to do local level civil rights work.  Prior to KCHR, Terrance was the Director of State Policy for an education non-profit focused on creating equity in education. He also served as a Policy Director at Kentucky Youth Advocates where he focused on poverty, criminal justice, juvenile justice, and education. Terrance graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science: Law & Public Policy and a minor in Economics. He received his Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. After law school, Terrance worked with the Jefferson County Attorney, the Louisville Metro Council, and the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) of the Kentucky General Assembly.  Terrance is a board member for the ACLU of Kentucky, The Leadership Louisville Center, Louisville Forum, and serves as the Co-Chair for the JCPS Advisory Council on Racial Equity.

Dr. Aaron Thompson, President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Dr. Aaron Thompson is a passionate advocate for higher education. As a first-generation college student from rural Clay County, Kentucky, he experienced first-hand the transformative power of a college credential. As President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, he works to ensure all Kentuckians have an equal opportunity to improve their lives through postsecondary education.  Before taking the helm of CPE, Thompson served as interim president of Kentucky State University; CPE executive vice president and provost; and faculty member and administrator at Eastern Kentucky University. He has extensive leadership experience within the private and non-profit sectors and is a highly sought-after national speaker. Dr. Thompson has authored or co-authored numerous books and peer-reviewed publications on diversity, cultural competence, first-year experience programs, retention, and student success, among other topics. Thompson has received many accolade including being inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.   Thompson received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Kentucky, with an emphasis on organizational leadership. He earned a master’s degree in industrial sociology from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Eastern Kentucky University.

Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Rick C. Wade is senior vice president of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wade develops and implements programs and initiatives to help the Chamber create new business relationships and partnerships across diverse audiences. He also provides counsel on policy issues and leads special projects. Wade’s wealth of knowledge and experience in both the public and private sectors enable him to give a megaphone to the voice of business across the country and share the positive impacts of the free enterprise system. A former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Wade has held executive roles in both the public and private sectors. He received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina and an M.P.A. from Harvard University.

Kellie Watson, Equity and Compliance Officer, Louisville Metro Sewer District
Kellie Stallard Watson is the first Equity and Compliance Officer for the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District. As the Equity and Compliance Officer for MSD, Kellie monitors and analyzes policy and programs for equity, as well as compliance with legal and ethical principles and standards. Prior to this position, Kellie was the first Chief Equity Officer for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. She provided strategic, visionary planning and oversight to advance racial equity though out Louisville Metro Government and oversaw the Departments of Human Resources and the Human Relations Commission. Prior to this position, she was the General Counsel and Legislative Liaison between Mayor Fischer and Louisville Metro Council. Kellie was the Chair of the Ohio River Bridges Project Team. She was also the Director of the Human Resources Department for Louisville Metro Government. Prior to these positions, she was the Director of the Office of Human Resource Management/Acting Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Small Business for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission for several years, and under Mayor Dave Armstrong, she was the Director of the Office of Affirmative Action. Kellie is a member of the Kentucky Bar Associations; Chair of the Louisville Metro Civilian Review and Accountability Board; Baptist Hospital Louisville Advisory Board; Fund for the Arts Board Member; Kentucky Derby Festival Board Member; Chestnut Street YMCA Board Member; Kentuckiana Girl Scouts Board Member; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, of where she served as the first Executive Board Chair and Social Action Chair of Beta Alpha Xi Zeta Chapter and was the Legislative Liaison and Parliamentarian of the Derby City Chapter of Jack and Jill Inc.   Past memberships include Ignite Louisville and Bingham Fellows 2019.

Ashli Watts, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber
Ashli Watts was named the President and CEO for the Kentucky Chamber, the state’s largest business association, in November 2019. Ashli joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in November of 2012, and during her tenure as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Chamber, she has led efforts in passing significant pieces of legislation such as felony expungement in 2016, right to work legislation in 2017, workers’ compensation reform in 2018 and reinstating arbitration agreements in 2019. As part of the Chamber’s leadership team, the Kentucky Chamber was named National State Chamber of the Year in 2017. Prior to joining the Chamber, she worked at the Kentucky Bar Association and the Legislative Research Commission.

Thomas Woods-Tucker, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer, Kentucky Department of Education
Thomas Woods-Tucker, Ph. D., was named the Kentucky Department of Education’s deputy commissioner and chief equity officer in the Office of Teaching and Learning in October 2020. He has more than 32 years of experience in public education. Over his career, he has held the positions of classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary curriculum and superintendent. Woods-Tucker previously served in district leadership positions in Ohio, where he was named the 2016 American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators State Superintendent of the Year. In 2013, he earned the National Alliance of Black School Educators National Superintendent of the Year Award.  Originally from northeastern Arkansas, Woods-Tucker earned his doctorate in communications and higher education and a master’s in educational administration from The Ohio State University. He received a bachelor’s in English education from Philander Smith College (Little Rock, Ark.).


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