Women who are making a difference in the commercial and public life of Kentucky
By LaneReport.com Staff
Our occasional feature, Worthy of Note — Top Women in Business, highlights some of the women around Kentucky who are making an impact in business, the professions, politics and economic development. The intent is to recognize not the household names but those in key roles whose work ethic and body of work are making important contributions to commerce in the commonwealth.
The five women in this issue are among the many such women The Lane Report editorial board has identified. We welcome your suggestions for others around Kentucky who also are deserving of recognition for their efforts to boost Kentucky’s economy. Send your recommendations to email@example.com.
Lynn E. Allen
Title/Company: Capital Innovations, Inc.
How long at company/position: Eight years
Previous jobs/positions: Director of Institutional Marketing, AEGON USA and Director of International Resource Development, CARE USA
Top accomplishment: Launching World Trading Day, a day when traders of every futures and options exchange in the world give a portion of their commissions to CARE. It gave me a big sense of accomplishment. But, my greatest sense of accomplishment has come from mentoring younger people.
Education: BA, University of Kentucky; Master of International Management, Denver University
Native of Vine Grove, Ky. Currently reside in Louisville
Person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: Doug Cain, a leading attorney in Denver, who gave me the space to fail and succeed, and taught me the importance of superior client service and how to communicate complex issues simply and persuasively. My father taught me to find joy and inspiration in nature.
What inspires/drives me: Creating opportunities for people and communities to improve their quality of life through job creation and education
Hobbies: Bicycling, running, walking outside. More than anything, I value my daily meditation practice; it keeps me grounded and aware we’re all in this together.
Interests: Traveling and spending time in other cultures, music and hanging out with friends.
Volunteering: I serve on several start-up company boards that provide a service or product that make a difference in people’s lives. I am raising scholarship support for students at Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Currently reading and/or recent movie/play/concert attended: I am reading Ann Patchett’s “Run.” Movies I’ve seen lately include “The Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Moonrise Bay.”
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: I worked four years to create a $100 million venture fund for Kentucky and finally had all the pieces in place. It would have made a dramatic difference in Kentucky’s ability to generate jobs and innovation. At the 11th hour, political influences stopped everything in its tracks. The loss of opportunity was tragic for Kentucky. I’ve never quite overcome the disappointment!
My advice to younger women in business: When you think you’ve done your due diligence, there’s always more you can do. Choose partners wisely. Women still underestimate the power of good ol’ boy networks and they need to anticipate and plan for the challenges they pose.
Title/Company: CEO, In Every Language
How long at company/position: Seven years
Previous jobs/positions: Producer for CBS and NBC affiliates
Top accomplishment: I literally created In Every Language from scratch and now we have an international reputation, with clients in five countries!
Education: BA in English, Centre College; Masters in French, University of Louisville; Post-graduate executive education, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Originally from Sinking Fork, Ky. (Christian County), currently live in Louisville.
Person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: My entire family, but especially my grandmothers, Erline Cansler and Dorthy Bell
What inspires/drives me: I am creating jobs. Every day around the world, there is someone whose income is greater because a company I created exists. That’s a good feeling, knowing you’re helping put food on the table for people in more than 50 countries.
Hobby/interests/volunteer work: I am blessed by a great group of friends. I often tell them, “When I’m not with you, I’m working.” They are a delight to be around and restore me so that I have the strength it takes to get back to work.
Currently reading and/or recent movie/play/concert attended: “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women” by Valerie Young.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: I have a learning disability. School was very difficult for me and, even as an adult, people have to communicate clearly and precisely for me to fully understand them. Humility has taught me to ask when I don’t understand and improved my communication with clients. All they see is me working hard to get it right, and I often leave a meeting with a better understanding of the client’s need.
My advice to younger women in business: Get WBENC-certified as a woman-owned business. Through WBENC, I found a strong network of bright, intelligent women and was able to attend Dartmouth’s WBENC-Tuck program, gaining an Ivy League business school education free of charge. Certification opened the door for In Every Language to sell to Fortune 500s that want to buy specifically from women.
Gina H. Greathouse
Title/Company: Senior Vice President, Economic Development, Commerce Lexington Inc.
How long at company/position: More than five years in the economic development division with Commerce Lexington Inc. – the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce
Previous jobs/positions: Senior Project Manager with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; Policy and Budget Analyst, Governor’s Office for Policy and Management
Education: 1988 Graduate of the University of Kentucky. Go Cats!
Native of Frankfort, currently reside in Lexington
Person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: Bill Lear, managing partner of Stoll, Keenon Ogden law firm; and Jim Navolio, former commissioner of business development for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
What inspires/drives me: Working with a very diverse consultant and client mixture and bringing a project to fruition, closing the deal. At ribbon cuttings and ground breakings, it is a great joy to stand on the sidelines and know our team was part of creating new jobs and opportunities.
Hobby/interests/volunteer work: Horse racing! I’m married to a fabulous and talented horseman, John Greathouse Jr. My husband, his sons (John and Ben) and his family are actively involved in Glencrest Farm, a family-owned and operated Thoroughbred breeding and sales operation.
Currently reading and/or recent movie/play/concert attended: Just finished “One Good Dog,” a tearjerker. John Grisham’s “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer,” a young adult book with great insight on the legal process.
My advice to younger women in business: Remember that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Listen, ask questions and be open to suggestions.
Title/Company: Managing member of Fowler Bell PLLC
How long at company/position: With Fowler for 40 years. Managing member for the past five.
Top accomplishment: Selected as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy in 1994.
Education: University of Kentucky Juris Doctorate – 1972; University of Kentucky Bachelor of Arts, mathematics major, business minor – 1969
Native of Woodford County, currently reside in Fayette County
Person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: In my professional career my father, John McKinstry, taught me the importance of hard work, determination and a focus on achieving my goals. These traits have helped me be a successful attorney.
What inspires/drives me: I am driven by the satisfaction of solving my clients’ problems.
Hobby/interests/volunteer work: I am a member of the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Advisory Committee. I host an annual party during the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance benefiting the UK Children’s Hospital.
Currently reading and/or recent movie/play/concert attended: I am reading “Madame Secretary: A Memoir” by Madeline Albright.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: In my career, the biggest challenge was being a woman in a male-dominated field. When I began practicing, jobs for female attorneys were few and far between, and those that were available came with obstacles. I had to assert myself as a competent and motivated attorney and earn the respect of my male counterparts.
My advice to younger women in business: Stick to it, work hard and do not get your back up.
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Title/Company: Kentucky’s 76th Secretary of State
How long at company/position: I was elected on Nov. 6, 2011, and took the oath of office on Jan. 2, 2012.
Previous jobs/positions: Business litigation associate, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC (June 2004-February 2011); president, Women Lawyer’s Association of the Fayette County Bar (January 2009-January 2011)
Top accomplishment: I was so excited to be elected in November 2011 as Kentucky’s 76th Secretary of State, making me Kentucky’s only current female constitutional officer and the nation’s youngest female secretary of state.
Education: B.A., political science, Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.; Juris Doctorate, cum laude, American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.
Born in Maysville, Ky.; currently reside in Lexington
Person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: I have been surrounded all my life by strong, inspiring women, from my family to mentors such as Gov. Martha Lane Collins. They have proven to me that I can accomplish anything.
What inspires/drives me: Two things motivate me every day to work hard for the people of Kentucky. First, I was raised to believe in the importance of public service. Second, the influence of intelligent, compassionate, motivated women has been a fact of life for me. But I became concerned women were underrepresented in state government because 51 percent of Kentucky’s population is women, but women comprise less than 20 percent of Kentucky’s constitutional offices. I strive every day to exemplify the strong women whose integral role in the success of our state is not adequately reflected in Frankfort.
Hobby/interests/volunteer work: It is important to be involved in your community. I grew up serving meals for the Salvation Army and continue that. I serve on the board of God’s Pantry Food Bank, which assists more than 200,000 each year. I am committed to the Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.
Currently reading and/or recent movie/play/concert attended: Kentucky has a lot of great performing arts venues and I take advantage whenever I have the opportunity. I recently saw “Come Fly Away” at the Lexington Opera House, and I look forward to seeing the Black Jacket Symphony there soon.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: Running for a statewide office is a full-time job; it takes a tremendous amount of work. It was challenging to stay focused on the big picture and not get lost in day-to-day details. Once I realized how much other people truly wanted to help make a positive difference, it became easier, and together, we accomplished something great.
My advice to younger women in business: You cannot achieve your goals without working hard and taking risks, but you don’t have to do it alone. Learn from the examples of those who have preceded you and never be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.
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Women who are making a difference in the commercial and public life of Kentucky
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