Home » Panel gives career insights at Women Leading Kentucky Conference

Panel gives career insights at Women Leading Kentucky Conference

Vickie Yates Brown, Jean Hale, Lindy Karns recognized for leadership

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2013) Women Leading Kentucky focused on turning one’s vision into reality during its 2013 Conference on May 2 in Lexington.

Republic Bank's Jean Hale, left, and Lindy Karns, director at Blue and Co., share career and life lessons they've learned during a panel discussion at the Women Leading Kentucky Conference. Renee Shaw, producer and host at KET, moderated the panel.
Community Trust Bank’s Jean Hale, left, and Lindy Karns, director at Blue and Co., share career and life lessons they’ve learned during a panel discussion at the Women Leading Kentucky Conference. Renee Shaw, producer and host at KET, moderated the panel.

The day-long event, which concluded with the awards ceremony, included presentations on women innovators and developing leadership and exhibits.


After lunch, WLK presented its 2013 Gov. Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award winners and the 2013 Excellence Award winner, Nikki Finney. The four participated in a panel discussion about leadership, their careers and lessons they’ve learned along the way.

The panel was moderated by Renee Shaw, a producer and host at KET.

The 2013 Gov. Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award winners were:

♦ Jean Hale, president and CEO of Community Trust Bank.

♦ Lindy Karns, CPA and director at Blue and Co.

♦ Vickie Yates Brown, president and CEO of Nucleus.

Award winner bios

Jean Hale

Jean Hale was recently named among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking.” This recognition by American Banker magazine placed Hale in the company of industry titans such as Irene Dorner, CEO of HSBC USA; and Beth Mooney, CEO of Key Corp.

In ranking Hale at No. 24, American Banker noted Community Trust’s improvements in key areas such as its efficiency ratio, which essentially measures how productive a bank is in generating revenue. The magazine noted Community Trust, a $3.6 billion-asset firm headquartered in Pikeville, has more than 81 locations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee. Hale improved the efficiency ratio partly by renegotiating contracts with technology providers and controlling legal expenses.

In addition to her executive role, Hale, a native of Pike County, serves as chairwoman of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which approves state tax incentives, during the administrations of four governors. Her two passions are education and economic development.

She serves on the boards of Commonwealth Seed Capital, ARH Foundation and the University of Pikeville. Previously, Hale served as chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the KCTCS Foundation Board and as director of the Cincinnati branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for six years.

A native of Pike County, Ky., Hale is a graduate of the University of Pikeville and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. She lives in Pikeville and has a son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters residing in Nashville.

“I am honored to have received this recognition from Women Leading Kentucky,” Hale said. “The success of any company is not in just having a business plan, but the successful execution of that plan. That is made possible by the dedicated efforts of the more than 1,000 employees of Community Trust in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, with whom I am so proud to work.”

Lindy Karns

Lindy Karns, a CPA and director at Blue and Co., describes her career path as a tortured one. “Someone once said if you are a reader, you’ll read a cereal box rather than not read. In my case, it is certainly true. I loved reading novels and eating chocolates and mistakenly believed that it could be turned into something that someone would pay me to do.”

After working with some of the “Big 8″ firms, Karns returned to Lexington and started Dulworth Breeding and Karns. She also began a career of community service.

“Community service has allowed me to combine my human services background and my professional aptitude,” Karn said. Her passion is helping women and children in poverty, but practically speaking, she has a hard time saying no to any good cause. She has struck a delicate balance between humanities and accounting, and emphasizes the importance of finding balance in one’s life.

She has served as a former treasurer and chair of the audit committee, United Way; treasurer of the Salvation Army; treasurer of Kentucky Executive Mansions Foundation; president, Chrysalis House; treasurer, Divine Providence Inc.; board member, Kentucky Equine Humane Center; board member, Economic Development Partnership Board; Leadership Committee, Frontier Nursing University; KYCPA tax committee member and member of the Board of Directors; 2012 chair of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Luncheon; Blue Grass Community Foundation; board member treasurer, First Saturday in May Inc.; and treasurer, Beshear Mongiardo and Beshear Abramson campaigns.

“The women we know help us raise our expectations, raise our children, raise our spirits, raise our hopes, and, just generally speaking, raise us up,” Karns said.

Vickie Yates Brown

Louisville attorney Vickie Yates Brown, co-chair of the Healthcare Services Team at Frost Brown Todd, has been recognized as a national leader in health care law when she was selected as an author in the recently released book, The Impact of Recent Health Care Law Developments. Brown has been recognized as one of the best lawyers in America every year since 2006.

She is president and CEO of Nucleus, a Kentucky innovation park in Louisville, where she works closely with state and local officials in planning, building and developing Kentucky as the leader in health care, research and high tech companies. She has served on the advisorycouncil for the Human Genome Project and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestion and Kidney Disease as part of the National Institutes of Health. She has delivered numerous national and international presentations and co-authored publications on health care law and government regulation.

Brown was selected as a “Partner in Health Care” by Business First in 2006, 2007, 2012, and she was elected as one of the 101 Wise Women by Leadership Louisville in 2007.

She is president and member of the board of directors for the KET Regional Board; a member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Kentucky; a member of the board and executive committee of the Kentucky Opera Association and former member of the Bach Society. She serves as a special assistant in health care law to Dr. James Ramsey, president of University of Louisville.

Brown graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown College and earned her JD degree from the University of Kentucky. She has developed internship and shadowing programs to help students collaborate and meet with entrepreneurs and influential business leaders.

Nikki Finney

Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry, and one of Lexington’s most beloved literary figures came to Lexington in 1990 as a one-year visiting professor at the University of Kentucky.

She has written four books of poetry: “Head Off & Split,” for which she won the 2011 National Book Award. Her other books include: “The World Is Round” (2003); “Rice” (1995); and “On Wings Made of Gauze” (1985). Her work is heavily influenced by her childhood in South Carolina, its landscape and her upbringing as the daughter of civil rights activists. Her father, Ernest Finney, was appointed in 1994 as South Carolina’s first black chief justice since Reconstruction.

Finney is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of writers based in Lexington.

Neil Chethik, director of Lexington’s Carnegie Center, has said: “She (Finney) is one of the reasons we have become the literary capital of middle America, and it’s not only for the quality of the writing she produces. She shows a goodness of heart with her students, with leaders, colleagues, and friends. Kentucky has been lucky to have her as she reached her full power as a writer, and South Carolina is lucky to get her back.”

UK President Eli Capilouto noted that place has been a powerful presence in Finney’s poetry: “She departs UK in the same way in which she has honored us with her presence — graciously, writing that ‘Kentucky will forever be the place where I became a writer but South Carolina is the only place that I have ever called home.’”

One online fan of Nikky Finney has written, “Her contributions have given us bragging rights to equal those from UK Athletics. Her departure is a genuine loss.” Nikky Finney is being presented the Martha Layne Collins Award for Excellence for her body of work and for raising the bar and showing the world that Kentucky is a place where excellence is found.