FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       CONTACT: April Cherry

May 7 2019                                                                                                              270-307-6682

2019 East Kentucky Leadership Conference a Success

CUMBERLAND, KY- The 32ndAnnual East Kentucky Leadership Conference took place April 25 & 26, at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn in Harlan, Kentucky. The 2019 Conference was the latest in the Foundation’s tradition of conferences designed to promote leadership, encourage leadership development, and foster collaboration throughout the East Kentucky region. 

The conference theme was “Getting Ahead of the Curve: Growing a 21stCentury Economy.” In fitting with the theme, conference sessions focused on innovation and economic development in East Kentucky. This year’s sessions included “Growing a Hemp Economy,” “Capitalizing on the Economic Potential of Lakes,” “Using 21stCentury Technology to Build your Business,” “Broadband in Eastern Kentucky: It’s Happening,” and “Meeting the Need for the 21stCentury Healthcare Workforce.” 

Thursday’s agenda began with an East Kentucky Women in Leadership session that led into lunch provided by the Benham Schoolhouse Inn. After lunch, the intensive session “Overcoming Barriers to a 21stCentury Workforce” was presented in the Betty Howard Theatre. Later that evening, participants were able to enjoy a tour and reception in the Kentucky Coal Mine Museum followed by dinner back at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn. The first night concluded with an Awards Showcase and Keynote presentation.

The Keynote Speaker for the Thursday evening Awards Banquet was Ron Crouch, a Demographic and Economic Consultant. 

The East Kentucky Leadership Foundation recognized many individuals during the awards ceremony. Scott Pace and his team won an award in the Youth Leadership category for the CHHAR Project from Harlan County High School. These students build tiny homes for those recovering from drug addiction and the homeless population. Jamie Lucke, a retired Lexington Herald-Leader editorial writer and associate page editor, won the award for the Media and Technology category. Thomas Cravens, Director, accepted the award in the Organization category on behalf of the Challenger Center Hazard CTC. This learning center is inspired by the Challenger Space Mission and encourages students’ interest in space science. The Tony Turner Award was presented to Dr. Edsel Godbey, the first president of Southeast Community and Technical College. Ann Schertz, a retired professor, musician, producer, and musical composer, won the Culture and Arts award. Dr. Carolyn Sundy, Vice President of Diversity/Inclusion & Special Programs at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, received the Public Individual award. David Davies from the Harlan Boys Choir and Marilyn Schraeder from the Harlan Musettes were the Private Individual award winners.

Friday’s agenda featured an opening session at Southeast Community and Technical College’s Cumberland Campus, entitled “Youth Technology.” This year’s concurrent sessions followed the opening session. 

The city of Corbin will host the 2020 East Kentucky Leadership Conference. 



Founded in 1988, the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation was created to promote leadership in Eastern Kentucky. Now in its 31st year, EKLF continues to encourage leadership development, communication and collaboration throughout the Eastern Kentucky region.