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January 24, 2020 2:58pm

Annual Meeting Recap: Kicking Off The Year of Leadership, Honoring Community Leaders, GLI Welcomes New President & CEO, Executive Committee & Board Members

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 23, 2020) – Tonight, Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce, held its annual business meeting, presented by Baird. The voting Board confirmed the Executive Committee’s Dec. 16, 2019 nomination of GLI Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, to succeed Kent Oyler as GLI’s president and CEO. Davasher-Wisdom is the first female CEO or president in the organization’s 157-year history.

Davasher-Wisdom joined GLI in 2014, progressively increasing her levels of responsibility. Prior to joining GLI, Davasher-Wisdom was manager of government relations at the Tennessee Valley Authority, strategic communications officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and community development coordinator with the office of Congressman Ron Lewis. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and government and a Master of Public Administration from Western Kentucky University. She graduated from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management earlier this month.

Kent Oyler joined GLI in 2014 during a challenging period and led the chamber back to a strong position in all aspects of its operations, capped by being recognized as the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ 2019 Large Chamber of The Year — the national championship in the chamber industry.

In other business, GLI welcomed 12 new volunteer business and community leaders to serve on its Board of Directors and elected its 2020 Executive Committee.

Lonnie Bellar, Chief Operating Officer of LG&E & KU Energy LLC, was elected Chairman of Greater Louisville, Inc.  He succeeds Mike Ash, Regional President-Kentucky, Fifth Third Bank. Ash will continue to serve on GLI’s Executive Committee as Immediate Past Chair. Jennifer Willis, North/Southeast Regional Vice President, Humana, was chosen to serve as Chair-Elect. “GLI is fortunate to have such a deep, accomplished board from which to draw its leadership,” Ash said. “Every individual who serves on this board has a singular goal in mind – to make our community and our region even greater.”

The 2020 GLI Executive Committee members are:

  • Lonnie Bellar (Chair), COO, LG&E & KU Energy LLC
  • Mike Ash (Immediate Past Chair), Regional President-Kentucky, Fifth Third Bank
  • Jennifer Willis (Incoming Chair & Planning Committee Chair), North/Southeast Regional Vice President, Humana
  • Brian A. Cromer (Secretary), Chair, Business and Finance Service Group, Stites & Harbison, PLLC
  • Jim Allen (Treasurer), Vice Chairman of R.W. Baird & Co.
  • Russ Cox, President & CEO, Norton Healthcare
  • Condrad Daniels, President, HJI Supply Chain Solutions
  • Steve Gault, Founder & President, Stephen C. Gault Co.
  • Tierra Kavanaugh Wayne, CEO, TKT & Associates
  • Charlie Scholtz, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Brown-Forman Corp.
  • Purna Veer, Founder & President, V-Soft Consulting, Inc.

Greater Louisville Inc. is a private, non-profit 501(c)(6) organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of 51 voting members and 29 non-voting members. The Executive Committee of the Board is made up of 11 elected members from the Board of Directors. Officers of the Board include the Chair, Immediate Past Chair, Incoming Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.

The 12 new Voting Directors are:

  • Lisa Benson, President & Publisher, Louisville Business First
  • Daryn Demeritt, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, BrightSpring Health Services
  • Dr. Susan Donovan, President, Bellarmine University
  • Jennifer Eberle, Vice President/Owner, HighNote
  • Steve Gault, Founder & President, Stephen C. Gault Co.
  • Demetrius Gray, Founder & CEO, WeatherCheck
  • Jeffrey Jasnoff, Chief Human Resources Officer, Kindred Healthcare
  • Franklin Jelsma, Managing Partner, Wyatt Tarrant Combs LLP
  • John Megibben, Vice President, Louisville Region, Messer Construction
  • Victoria Russell, Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Papa John’s International
  • Brad Seigel, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Caesars Southern Indiana
  • Kent Suiters, Senior Director – Supply Chain Strategy, GE Appliances, a Haier Company

Additionally, two Community Representative Directors were selected:

  • Steve Cunanan, Chair, GLI Talent Steering Committee & CEO American Red Cross
  • Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Chief, Louisville Forward


Honoring Community Leaders

Silver Fleur De Lis Awards

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 19, 2019) – Greater Louisville Inc. will be honoring transformative work happening in west Louisville, an innovative education initiative that’s gaining national acclaim and direct efforts to put Louisville on the map with three Silver Fleur-de-Lis awards at the upcoming Annual Meeting, presented by Baird, on Thurs., January 23. The Silver Fleur-de-Lis was created by GLI to recognize outstanding commitments and achievements over the past year in making the Louisville community a better place in which to live and work. Honorees are:

  1. The JCPS Academies of Louisville and the Guiding Committee, for business partnerships in mentoring and curriculum improvements and contributions to work-based learning platforms. Receiving the award on behalf of this initiatives are: Dr. Marty Pollio, Superintendent, JCPS; Christy Rogers, Assistant Superintendent, JCPS; Tom Quick, Guiding Committee Chair and Vice President, GE Appliances; Jackie Beard, System Director, Norton Healthcare; Tony Georges, Human Resources Director, UPS; Michael Gritton, Executive Director, KentuckianaWorks; and Jim Lancaster, President, Lantech.
  2. The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, Louisville Regional Airport Authority (LRAA) and Louisville Regional Airlift Development (LRAD), for improving direct air service in greater Louisville by adding numerous direct flights to cities including New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles. Receiving the award on behalf of this initiative are: Dan Mann, Executive Director, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport; Jim Welch, Chair of the Board, LRAA; and Koleman Karleski, Chairman, LRAD.
  3. The YMCA of Greater Louisville’s Republic Bank Foundation YMCA Project, for the vision to build the new west Louisville YMCA, the first of its kind, which will have a significant positive impact in an area that has been deeply affected by health inequalities. Receiving the award on behalf of this initiative is Steve Tarver, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Louisville.


The Thomas A. Edison Award

The Thomas A. Edison Award was created in 2001 to recognize an outstanding former Louisville resident who has successfully pursued their career while keeping this community close to their heart.  It is designed to celebrate these leaders and recognize the widespread impact this region has had on the world.

“GLI recognizes chef Damaris Phillips as a global ambassador for Louisville’s unique culinary scene, which has a locally made, farm-to-table focus influenced by culinary adventure and the diverse neighborhood flavors of Vietnamese, Italian, French and Korean cuisines,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of GLI.


The Gold Cup Award

Created in 1969, Greater Louisville Inc.’s most prestigious award has been bestowed only 23 times.  The Gold Cup Award identifies, recognizes and encourages individual action and leadership in making the Greater Louisville area a better place to live and work.  And, unlike some awards, the Gold Cup is not automatically presented each year, but is awarded periodically in recognition of truly extraordinary contributions.  Previous Gold Cup recipients provide guidance throughout the selection process and have confirmed your nomination.

“Alice and Wade Houston are visionary leaders with legendary entrepreneurial spirits,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of GLI. “Their integrity and long-term commitment to Louisville’s business and civic communities make them worthy Gold Cup recipients and true community icons.”

Annual Report


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