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Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi, Litigation Paralegal, Oldfather Law Firm
Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi obtained her B.A. in Political Science at the University of Louisville in 2008. In 2007, Nicole was a legislative intern with Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-35), and assisted Senator Harper Angel with research that was essential in the passage of the FarmerÍs Market Nutrition Bill. The program was designed to enhance nutrition by providing fresh, locally grown produce to low-income seniors and recipients of the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants and children. In 2011, the city of Louisville was awarded the City Livability Award in recognition of its Farm to Table Program as a result of the FarmerÍs Market Nutrition Bill.
Nicole also presented her original research on the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and its effects on TANF recipients attending four-year colleges and universities at the Midwest Political Science Association national conference in 2008. During college, Nicole sat on the board for the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society, the Student Alumni Association, and the StudentÍs Task Force on Tuition and Fees, was a panelist on WFPLÍs State of Affairs discussing a living wage in Louisville, and was a presenter at the Engaging our World Conference at the University of Louisville in 2007. Nicole also served on the planning committee for the Porter Parents Support Group and the HIV/AIDS Awareness Committee, and co-founded the peer advising program L.I.N.K. at the University of Louisville.
Nicole is currently a paralegal at the Oldfather Law Firm. She has spent the last 5 years concentrating in litigation with a focus on medical malpractice, personal injury, and commercial litigation.
Nicole is an advocate for women and children and currently facilitates a womenÍs abuse group on Thursday nights. Nicole was a volunteer and mentor with HoseaÍs House, a shelter for women and children in crisis in the Portland area, in 2011-2012. Nicole currently volunteers with the Sickle Cell Association of Kentucky, and is a freelance contributor for Habitat for Humanity and Louisville.com. In 2007, Nicole received the Solidarity Award from Kentucky Jobs with Justice, Working Woman of the Week from Lite 106.9, and became a Kentucky Colonel.
Nicole is in the process of starting her own non-profit organization to serve women who are survivors of domestic abuse. She lives by Ralph Waldo EmersonÍs quote from Walden, ñIf you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Kentucky College of Law
Jennifer Bird-Pollan is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. She teaches Federal Income Tax, Estate & Gift tax, International Tax, Corporate Tax, Partnership Tax, and a Seminar in Tax Policy. She received her JD from Harvard Law School, where she was an articles editor for the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, and her BA in Philosophy and French from Penn State University. Jennifer also earned an MA in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University, where she is completing her PhD. Before law school she taught undergraduate philosophy courses at Vanderbilt and at Harvard College. Prior to joining the UK faculty, Jennifer worked as an attorney in the tax department at Ropes & Gray in Boston, focusing primarily on partnership tax and non-profit tax law. She writes in the area of U.S. federal tax policy, with a focus on the federal wealth transfer taxes.
Patrick Broderick, President, Valiant Construction LLC
Broderick, 30, oversees the strategic direction of the Louisville-based, $14.5 million construction company. With more than 30 employees across the Midwest and Southeast, covering four states, Valiant has become one of the premier general contracting firms in the region. Valiant excels in project management and scheduling, with over 90% of our projects performed in the federal arena with repeat customers.
Before founding Valiant on July 9, 2009, Broderick held various positions as an Infantry Officer in the US Army including serving in key roles while deployed to Al Asad, Iraq. While overseas Broderick was responsible for conducting over 30,000 miles of mounted combat logistic patrols during sustained combat operations throughout Iraq.
Broderick joined the US Army as an enlisted Soldier in 2004 and commissioned as an officer through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in 2006. Broderick continues to serve in the US Army Reserves at the rank of Captain. Currently, he holds the position of Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander for the 84th Training Command at Fort Knox, KY.
He has been a member in several construction industry associations such American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), and American Society of Military Engineers. Outside of construction, Patrick serves as a board member for St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education.
A native of Floyds Knobs, IN, Broderick earned a B.A. degree from Ball State University in 2006 and an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University in 2012. He enjoys running, yoga, and participating as an active member in his local church.
Travis Crawford was born and raised in Barbourville, Kentucky where he graduated from Barbourville High School in 2006. In 2010, he graduated from the University of the Cumberlands with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology. As an undergraduate, Travis traveled to the tropical paradises of HawaiÍi and Central America to focus on studying marine biology. Though he acquired vast knowledge of the subject, more than he ever could have had he stayed in Kentucky, the distinct cultural differences that he immersed himself in shaped his life more than the biological studies themselves.
Currently, Travis is finishing up the requirements to graduate in May with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a Master of Business Administration. During his tenure in professional and graduate school, Travis has been active in several local organizations such as the Kentucky Pharmacists Association and national organizations such as the American Pharmacists Association, Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Phi Lambda Sigma leadership honor society and the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. He has served as the president of his pharmacy class since 2010 and has held several other officer positions in local and national branches of these organizations.
Travis has also been a pharmacy intern for Walmart pharmacy since 2011 where he loves interacting with patients. When he finds himself with time on his hands, music, traveling, and art capture his attention.
Courtney Daniel, Community Engagement Coordinator, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
Courtney joined the GovernorÍs Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC) as the Community Engagement Coordinator in May 2013. There, she has worked to implement communication strategies centered on awareness of early childhood care and education issues in Kentucky. She staffs the community engagement workgroup of the Early Childhood Advisory Council, and is a member of the Strengthening Families Strategic Team, which is working through a cross-sector approach to help families thrive and reduce child abuse.
Before she joined the KYGOEC, she worked at Bluegrass Community and Technical College as a social media manager and marketer. At BCTC, she worked with several groups in her community: the Kentucky Latino Education Alliance, to create a communications plan and solidify their branding efforts; and with LexingtonÍs Kentucky Adult Education program to create messaging about their GED, college prep, and English as a second language programs. She also worked with the North American Racing Academy on recruitment and building their online presence.
Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in Digital Imaging from Eastern Kentucky University in 2010. While in college, she was editor of the award-winning Eastern Progress, the campus newspaper. She also studied communications abroad in London, England for a semester and held a Kentucky Press Association internship in Corbin, Ky.
Courtney grew up in Corbin, Ky., but currently lives in Lexington, Ky. She enjoys reading, cooking, playing the piano and spending time with family.
Kerry Holleran, Staff Attorney, Campbell County Circuit Court
Kerry Holleran grew up in Bracken County, Kentucky, and currently lives in Covington. She received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English from Xavier University and a J.D. From NKU Chase College of Law. She currently works as a judicial staff attorney in Newport, Kentucky.
Kerry is actively involved in politics in Northern Kentucky. She serves as Secretary for the Kenton County Democratic Executive Committee, Vice-President of the Northern Kentucky Young Democrats, 4th Congressional Regional Representative for the Kentucky Young Democrats, and is a member of the Kenton County Democratic WomenÍs Club and the Kenton County Democratic Club. She is an alumnae of Emerge Kentucky, a democratically-inclined political training organization.
Kerry was appointed by Governor Beshear in April of 2012 to serve on KentuckyÍs Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. In 2012, she was also elected to serve on the Covington Independent Schools Board of Education, where her daughter attends school at Holmes Middle School. In 2013, she was appointed to be a member of the Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence, a Kentucky nonprofit that focuses its efforts on education. Lastly, Kerry is president of her neighborhood association, the Westside Action Coalition (WAC).
Teresa Lajara is a social justice advocate passionate about civic engagement and community building. Her interests include LGBT youth homelessness, political awareness and civil rights. A new member of Kentuckians for the CommonwealthÍs Jefferson County Chapter, she seeks to contribute to the organizationÍs various grassroots initiatives. In her spare time, she also serves as a Family Conference Facilitator for Restorative Justice Louisville.
Her prior work includes Public Protection Coordinator with Louisville Metro Government, Policy Associate at the PeopleÍs Emergency Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Translator and Field Researcher for the University of PennsylvaniaÍs Study Abroad Program in Havana, Cuba. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Lajara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, a Master of Science in Social Policy and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the University of PennsylvaniaÍs School of Social Policy and Practice, she was Co-Founder and Vice-President of Public Relations of HACE (Hispanic/Latino Alliance for Change and Equity). She is globetrotting aficionado from Brooklyn, New York, who currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.
Joseph (Joe) Lyon, Administrative Specialist; Executive Director; Adjunct Instructor, Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet; Indo-Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; KY Community&Tech. College Systems
In formal training, Joseph Lyon earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees both from Western Kentucky University, finishing his academic pursuits with a Master of Public Administration in 2010.
Lyon’s professional career stretches from teaching, staff to elected officials, workforce development and economic development fields. Following his graduate work, he began teaching for Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems (KCTCS) in American Government and Politics. He has experience in campaign staff and management positions to multiple elected officials. In his most recent experience, Lyon holds simultaneous positions as Administrative Specialist in Workforce Development Cabinet, in duties that modernize workforce development practices in the public sector and reemploy unemployed workers; and, as the Executive Director of a new economic development organization, the Indo-Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which he has helped build, and will one day redefine Kentucky’s future in economic relationships between Kentucky and India.
William Marshall, Dance Instructor, Shall We Dance
Clay Marshall enjoys being a jack of all trades and using those talents to make the world a better place, starting right here in Kentucky. He first decided he wanted to improve the world in college where he got a degree in Community Entrepreneurialship.
He has worked as an event producer, online marketer, built theatrical sets and props, and taught dance during his brief stint on the planet. These varied skills lead him to a job as the head organizer for BIAK’s Brain Walk, a fundraising walk benefiting those with brain injury. While he successfully helped grow the walk by 300% it was during the planning process that he realized how much time non-profits spend raising money instead of their core mission, and how little they have to invest into fundraising.
That process planted the seed in his mind to start Flash Bang Fundraising, an participatory crowd funding company which produces engaging events and classes and donate 50% of the costs to whatever cause is dearest to your heart, whether it’s an entrepreneurial venture, an art project, or an organization.
At same time he is has agreed to become the executive director for a new non-profit in Louisville called Bridge the Divide. Their goal is to educate and equip youth and families lacking computer access with technology. The program teaches individuals who don’t have access to technology how to manage and use computers to educate and inspire themselves for success, and each student or family who completes our curriculum will leave the program with their own free laptop.
Derek Miles is a native Kentuckian and a third-year law student at the University Louisville Brandeis School of Law. During his time in law school, Derek served as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Animal and Environmental Law, was selected to the Brandeis Inn of Court, and was a member of the schoolÍs ABA Arbitration Moot Court team. Derek obtained BA degrees in geography and German from the University of Kentucky.
Derek has clerked and interned at various levels of state and federal government including the Office of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Department for Local Government in the Office of Governor Steve Beshear, and the Washington, D.C. office of Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler.
Stephanie Oghia, Adjunct Professor/Official Specialist, Lexington Real Estate Company and Lindsey Wilson College
Stephanie Oghia graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Parks and Recreation Administration and in 2005 with a MasterÍs of Science Degree in Physical Education. Stephanie currently serves on the AVOL Executive Board, the Moveable Feast Board, is a founding member, Board Secretary and League Manager for the Lexington Gay Sports Commission Board, and serves on the JustFundKY Derby Eve Committee. She also volunteers with Lexington Fairness and Progress Lex. She is also a member of the Lexington Young Professional Association. Stephanie served on the Successful 2012 campaign election team of Shevawn Akers for Lexington City Council.
In 2013, Stephanie won the Lexington Fairness Ally of the Year Award. Stephanie co-chaired AVOLÍs Dining Out For Life and Moveable Feasts 15th Anniversary Celebration in 2013. She has also served on the AVOL Red Committee (2012), AVOL AIDS Walk Committee (2012), AVOL 25th Anniversary Committee (2012), the AVOL Strategic Plan Committee (2012-2013), and the Moveable Feast Belmont Barbeque Silent Auction Committee (2012). Stephanie is employed at Lexington Real Estate and is an Adjunct Professor at Lindsey Wilson College in the Recreation, Tourism, and Sports Management Department. Stephanie resides in Lexington, KY.
Rudy Spencer, Customer Service Performance Analyst, Louisville Gas & Electric / Kentucky Utilities
Rudy Spencer is from Louisville, Kentucky and currently is an analyst for Louisville Gas & Electric / Kentucky Utilities. In his free time, Rudy serves as a board member for the Young Professionals Association of Louisville. He is also a founding member of Give 502, a young professionals giving circle, focused on making an innovative charitable gift of time, talent, and treasure to a non-profit in Louisville.
He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Louisville and was elected unopposed, as the 2008-2009 Student Body President. At UofL, Rudy was a McConnell, Harlan, and Porter scholarship recipient. He also has a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan, with a focus in management, social policy, and program evaluation. Upon graduation from U-M, he was named the 2012 Student of the Year by National Association of Social Workers (State of Michigan Chapter).
RudyÍs interest in politics began as a college intern for Louisville Metro Councilwoman Mary Wooldridge and as the first intern for Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03). Rudy also has strong ties to a number of non-profits in Louisville that focus on community development and ending the cycle of poverty for families.
His goal is to leverage these experiences, his education and community involvements to be known as a leader of genuine compassion and integrity who consistently delivers significant, strategic results for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Megan Stith, Resource Development Coordinator & AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor, United Way of Central Kentucky
Megan Stith combines a passion for service with experience in nonprofit management, grant administration, and programming to help strengthen communities. As Resource Development Coordinator for United Way of Central Kentucky, she manages corporate relationships across a five county region to raise $1,000,000+ annually and has set new fundraising records each year. Megan provides strategic direction for communications campaigns while creating targeted initiatives to increase donations, including small business and major giving programs. Funds generated through these efforts are invested back into the local community to improve Education, Financial Stability, Health, and enable individuals to meet their Basic Needs. Megan also manages a federal grant which provides capacity-building staff to nonprofit programs that fight poverty. Last year projects under her supervision generated a $1.67 million impact through resource development and volunteer engagement.
Prior to joining United Way, Megan was the Head of Programming and ChildrenÍs Services at the Meade County Public Library where she planned, conducted, and/or marketed as many as 840 programs for 26,700 attendees per year. In 2011 she received the American Library Association’s most competitive grant, the Bookapalooza Award, which added $20,000 worth of new materials to MCPLÍs collection and marked the first time this national award was given to a Kentucky library. Under her leadership, the programming department ranked as high as 8th in the Commonwealth for a county 41st in size.
Megan is a graduate of the Honors College at Michigan State University and holds a MasterÍs Degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She has published research on consumer behavior in international journals and contributed to numerous peer-reviewed studies. She is a graduate of SyngentaÍs Leadership At Its Best advocacy training program and was named 2013 Business Woman of the Year by the Meade County Chamber of Commerce. Megan is active in multiple civic organizations, advisory councils, and collaborates with community partners on grant initiatives.
Megan resides in Payneville, Kentucky with her husband and two sons on their third-generation family farm.
Bryan Thomas, President, Fusion4 Consulting
Bryan is a 2003 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he received a B.A. in Political Science.
Bryan began his career as a Democratic campaign operative while serving as a finance assistant for Ben Chandler’s 2003 bid for Governor of Kentucky. He soon left Kentucky to work on several campaigns in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Florida before returning to Kentucky in 2007 to serve as Deputy Finance Director for Steve Beshear’s successful gubernatorial campaign. Governor Beshear appointed Bryan as Political Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party in 2008 and as Special Projects Director for the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy in 2009. He returned to campaigns full time in 2013.
Bryan is a native of Madisonville, KY and currently resides in Lexington, where he is President of Fusion 4 Consulting.
Justin Thurman, Deputy Finance Director, Andy Beshear for Attorney General
A native of Logan County, Justin attended Western Kentucky University where he held many leadership positions including Student Body Administrative Vice President and University Senator. In 2010, while pursuing studies Microbiology he joined his first political campaign by interning for the Kentucky First Coordinated Campaign field office in Bowling Green.
In 2011, he left Western Kentucky and headed to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky to serve as the sole field organizer for the 24 counties in Southeastern Kentucky for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign. In 2012, he became a Regional Coordinator for the Kentucky Democratic Party serving as a finance and field program consultant for six races for the Kentucky House of Representatives. An avid kayaker, tennis player, golfer and occasional skeet shooter, Justin is passionate about preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Commonwealth. He is currently pursuing studies in Economics at Western Kentucky University.