Home » Commerce Lexington recognizes top community leaders at annual dinner

Commerce Lexington recognizes top community leaders at annual dinner

LEXINGTON, Ky. — About 1,000 business professionals, community and regional leaders, and elected officials attended the 2020 Commerce Lexington Inc. Annual Dinner Thursday presented by Fifth Third Bank in downtown Lexington. This event looked back at 2019, highlighted some of the key goals of the organization, and recognized Commerce Lexington’s most involved members, volunteers and community leaders.

Commerce Lexington’s 2020 Board Chair Ray Daniels, president of Equity Solutions Group, said, “This year’s annual dinner theme of BE BOLD was meant to encourage people to think about how they can make a difference for our community. There are so many people throughout Lexington and Central Kentucky, who are being BOLD each day as they work to solve our most challenging issues, improve our region, mentor young people, champion diversity and inclusion, educate our children, help charitable organizations, start or expand a business, lift up the less fortunate, create jobs, protect our city, and more.”

During the annual dinner, several awards were presented to recognize outstanding community leaders and volunteers.  A list of award recipients follows.


Ambassador of the Year Award

Crystal Newton

Crystal Newton, Bates Security

Commerce Lexington’s Ambassador Committee is a key connection between the staff and the member businesses, ensuring that they are getting the most out their membership. Four finalists for the award are named based on a point system of their involvement during the year, and then the Ambassador of the Year is selected based on their effectiveness and contributions to the committee.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Abby Vaughn
Abby Vaughn

Abby Vaughn, Unified Trust Co.

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to the person who best demonstrates the volunteer spirit, in both their participation and the effectiveness and outcome of their effort. Abby Vaughn has been one of Commerce Lexington’s most accomplished membership and fundraising campaign volunteers and the top individual producer in each of the last five campaigns.

Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award

James Brown
James Brown

Lexington’s Task Force on Neighborhoods-in-Transition represented by Councilmember James Brown, Task Force Chair

The Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on public policy in a priority area for the business community. Lexington’s Task Force on Neighborhoods-in-Transition is working to address some of the serious issues affecting our city’s most vulnerable residents from neighborhood redevelopment and transformation. Councilmember James Brown is chairing this task force.

Leadership Lexington Distinguished Leader Award

Miranda Scully
Miranda Scully

Miranda Scully, Fayette County Public Schools

Miranda Scully used her experience as the Fayette County Public Schools’ District Coordinator for Family & Community Engagement to develop and lead a Leadership Lexington class project focused on the need for mentors in our community. The Say Yes Lex Summit was created to help connect potential mentors with organizations in need of positive role models for children.

Leadership Lexington Youth Program Distinguished Leader Award

Drew Rodriguez
Drew Rodriguez

Drew Rodriguez, Frederick Douglass High School

The Leadership Lexington Youth Distinguished Leader Award recognizes the class member who demonstrates strong principles and dedication to the concept of community service. Now a senior at Frederick Douglass High School, Drew Rodriguez is already making a difference for our community. He recently organized the Markey DineAround, during which several local restaurants donated a portion of their sales to benefit the UK Markey Cancer Foundation.

W.T. Young Lifetime Achievement Award

Doug Dean
Doug Dean

Doug Dean, Dean Dorton Allen Ford

In 1979, Doug Dean founded the accounting firm now known as Dean Dorton Allen Ford. What started with just Doug and an assistant has become one of the largest CPA firms based in Kentucky, with over 250 employees and locations in Lexington, Louisville and Raleigh, North Carolina. His servant leadership extends both here locally and around the world through Worldwide Hearts & Hands, which provides education, medical and food support to children in Kenya.