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Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass president to retire

Lynn Hudgins
Lynn Hudgins

LEXINGTON, Ky. —­ The Junior Achievement (JA) of the Bluegrass Board of Directors announced Wednesday the retirement of President Lynn Hudgins. She will retire Nov. 6, 2020.

Hudgins has served as president of JA of the Bluegrass since September 1998. Prior to joining JA of the Bluegrass, she worked for Commerce Lexington (Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce) first as communications director and later as vice president, Membership & Special Events. Under her leadership, the JA of the Bluegrass has grown from teaching approximately 9,000 students by 350 classroom volunteers in 1998 to reaching 24,005 students through 1,306 classroom volunteers during the 2018-19 school year. JA of the Bluegrass serves 36 counties in Central Kentucky.

Top Central Kentucky companies have trusted her stewardship and enthusiastically support JA’s regional mission through financial
investment and volunteers in the classroom. Early in her tenure with JA of the Bluegrass, Hudgins began engaging the Laureates of JA’s Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame to strengthen the organization’s growth efforts by utilizing their wisdom, ideas and experience. These included such well-respected Central Kentucky leaders as Mira Ball, Ann Bakhaus, James E. Bassett III, Buddy Cowgill, Jim Host, and the late Alan Bloomfield and Warren Rosenthal.  Through a series of meetings with Laureates, the Adopt-A-School initiative was born and the organization’s annual revenue and endowment increased.

“JA has been so blessed to have Lynn Hudgins’ amazing leadership and vision during her 22 years as president,” said Bakhaus, former JA board chair and Hall of Fame Laureate. “Her passionate and unwavering attention to teaching financial literacy in the classroom and the creation of JA BizTown/JA Finance Park have made a lasting impact on children in 36 Kentucky counties. Our area is one of the top performers in the JA USA organization due in large part to Lynn’s dedication. Thank you, my dear friend, for a job well done!”

Perhaps Lynn’s most transformative accomplishment is the completion of the JA BizTown/JA Finance Park facility, which opened in 2017. This immersive experiential learning facility has been a game changer for both JA of the Bluegrass as an organization as well as for the students of Central and Eastern Kentucky. Students learn financial literacy and how business works through exciting activities that reflect the operations of major storefront partners such as KU/LG&E, CHI Saint Joseph Health, Forcht Bank, Keeneland, Toyota, UK Healthcare and the University of Kentucky among others. JA BizTown/JA Finance Park was unique in that it was approved by JA USA as the smallest JA Area to date because of the strong fundraising, sponsor and storefront partner support, which also enabled it to open without first securing a named facility partner.

Brad Lovell, Keeneland VP and chief information officer and JA of the Bluegrass board chair said, “Lynn has been an exceptional president
exhibiting leadership at the local and national level. She is passionate about JA’s mission of financial literacy and workforce readiness. She has brought robust programming to the area and accomplished significant goals, including the JA BizTown facility. We will miss her and wish her the very best on her retirement.”

Over the years, JA of the Bluegrass and Hudgins individually have garnered many awards and honors, including the Summit Award for Excellence for nine consecutive years beginning 2003-04 and the JA USA 5-Star award six years beginning 2013-14. Of note, Hudgins was a finalist for the 2017 Charles R. Hook Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a JA president, and that same year, JA of the Bluegrass was a finalist for the Commerce Lexington Small Business of the Year award as the Innovation category winner.

The JA of the Bluegrass Board of Directors will conduct a comprehensive national search for a new president.