This popular committee consists of volunteers of member companies that represent Commerce Lexington by helping to educate members on benefits, programs, and events, as well as serve as a liaison between Commerce Lexington and its membership. Ambassadors also represent Commerce Lexington at a variety of events, from ribbon cuttings and grand openings to networking functions and open houses. To find out more about this committee or how to apply, contact Kristie Woodrum.
2023 AMBASSADOR COMMITTEE:
Jennifer Ambs, The Lafayette
Shelby Bass, The Willows at Hamburg
Shawn Blades, Truist
Brandy Borchers, Builders Exchange of KY
Sheila Carmack, Central Bank and Trust
Francisco Castro, JCC Insurance Group
Erin Caudill, Wise Staffing Group
Nicole Corbin, Studio46 Media
Emily Cowles, Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs
Courtney Desrochers, Marshall Pediatric Therapy
Cheryl Eadens, Bluegrass Office Systems
Vicki Evans, TOPS Marketing Group
Lesley Fluke, Field and Main Bank
Caroline Francis, UK Alumni Career Services
Mary Lynn Garrett, Mid-American Rare Coin Gallery
Lisa Gibson, Dynamic Restoration
Jamie Hall, WDKY FOX56
Melynda Jamison, CASA of Lexington
Jennifer Longworth, Bourbon Barrel Podcasting
Gina Miller, Forcht Bank
Jeff Morrett, Parsons & Howard Insurance Group (2023 Committee Chair)
Crystal Newton, 46Solutions
Paul Peters, Rector-Hayden
Alisa Rose, Nimlok-Kentucky
Becky Trimble, Central Bank Center
Mark Wiemer, WesBanco Bank
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Emily H. Cowles, Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs
Emily Cowles is a Partner at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, and leads the firm’s Real Estate & Lending Service Team. She has been practicing law for twenty years and specializes in commercial real estate, financing, and transactions on the buyer and seller sides, as well as on behalf of the lender. Emily has a wide range of experience in real estate and lending ranging from litigation, receiverships, loan restructurings and enforcement, to agriculture, construction, development, commercial lease transactions and short-term rentals.
The Wyatt firm maintains an active national practice with five offices throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, and traces its roots back more than 200 years. Emily said, “Our structure of nine service teams and industry-focused practice groups enables our lawyers to provide the most efficient and effective delivery of services for excellent value.”
Born and raised in Nashville, Emily settled here with her husband and has now lived in Lexington for over 25 years, where they are raising two teenage sons. Emily is very involved in the Lexington community, serving on three boards and volunteering for several nonprofits. Emily said it’s imperative for her to be active in Commerce Lexington, because it supports the very people and businesses that she works with every day. Emily is a graduate of Leadership Lexington and has attended numerous Commerce Lexington events over the years. As a first-year Ambassador, she said serving as the personal liaison for members is both a privilege and honor.
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Shelby Bass, The Willows at Hamburg
Since 2017, Shelby Bass has been at The Willows at Hamburg, a Trilogy Health Services facility offering a full continuum of premier senior care. She said, “I have always had a love for seniors and caring for the elderly, and that passion has continued to grow.”
As the community service representative, Shelby is responsible for fostering and maintaining relationships with physicians, other healthcare professionals, and community outreach partners that help guide seniors and families through the process of moving to The Willows.
A native of Johnson County in Eastern Kentucky, Shelby relocated to Lexington in 2015 when her husband’s schooling and work brought them here. She said, “My favorite thing about the Bluegrass is the love for the area and how proud people are to say where they live and work.”
Shelby said it’s important for her to be active in Commerce Lexington for several reasons. She said her involvement helps her grow roots here, support the many great businesses Lexington has to offer, and break stereotypes about long-term care facilities. “This is my first year as an Ambassador, but so far my favorite thing is meeting new people and learning about different businesses and organizations within the Bluegrass,” she added.
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Erin Caudill, Wise Staffing Group
Wise Staffing Group is a family-owned and operated business that started in 1987 in Tupelo, Mississippi. It has grown to be a #1 provider of staffing services due to its excellent customer service and even more impressive rates – with over 70 offices nationwide – and growing!
Erin Caudill has been in staffing sales for several years but was given an opportunity to open a new office in Lexington last April with the company. As the Area Sales Manager, she is responsible for overseeing the overall sales growth and daily operations of the local branches.
She said, “I’ve always enjoyed helping people, but in this industry I’m able to help more than ever. I can help applicants find gainful employment, while helping employers find employees that will last. We are constantly searching for new employers to partner with because our employee base is growing daily.”
A native of Versailles who still lives there, Erin loves being involved and active with Commerce Lexington. “It has allowed me to grow the Wise Staffing name in Central Kentucky," she said. "It has also been beneficial to me personally, because of the many connections I’ve made – that have turned into friendships!”
She added, “I have really enjoyed the opportunity to meet local business owners and visit businesses that I didn’t even know were in this area. I was recently able to help a newly-hired individual navigate the Commerce Lexington website and inform him of events locally that he wasn’t aware of but very excited about.”
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Lesley Fluke, Field & Main Bank
Field & Main Bank is a full service bank predominantly owned by a family foundation whose mission is to invest in the communities in which the bank is located. As the Regional President for Central Kentucky, Lesley Fluke is responsible for the daily operations of the bank’s Central Kentucky offices, including lending, deposit operations, and client services. She also serves on the corporate leadership team and assists in the development of long-term strategic initiatives, and works closely with Advisory Board members.
Lesley said, “I am very fortunate that I still have the opportunity to generate new commercial loan and deposit opportunities, as well as manage a portfolio of commercial client relationships. The most rewarding part of my position is building relationships with clients and staff over the years. I love coaching and helping others obtain goals they thought were out of reach.”
Lesley said her interest in a career in finance came at an early age. She said, “I grew up in a household that struggled financially. I realized in college that a career in banking would allow me to pursue my passion to help others while using my math skills to help individuals and business owners understand their finances and plan for their future well-being.”
“Volunteering as an Ambassador allows me to help business owners gain more benefit from their membership,” she added. “Commerce Lexington provides so many opportunities to its members to promote their organizations, access valuable market research, build communities, save money with discounts, and stay informed of important local news.”
2022 AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR:
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Crystal Newton, 46Solutions
Formed in 2019 when the I.T. department branched off from its parent company Davis H. Elliot, 46Solutions is a local, 100% employee-owned technology company specializing in managed I.T. services, cybersecurity, and audio/video integration. As the marketing manager, Crystal Newton is responsible for the development and execution of marketing communication plans, budgets, media, and community services.
Newton said, “I was drawn to the challenge and excitement of building the 46Solutions brand and lead generation campaigns from scratch. And now, almost three years later, my team is family.”
A native of Bardstown, Crystal moved to Lexington to attend Transylvania University. “I quickly fell in love with this big town/small city and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she said. “Lexington has provided me with friendships, love, and more opportunity than anyone would deserve. It’s home.”
As a volunteer with Commerce Lexington for many years, Crystal has seen first-hand how the organization helps local businesses. She added, “My role as an Ambassador helps to strengthen relationships between members and the organization, to facilitate referral partnerships, and to provide a platform for business exposure within our community.”
“Commerce Lexington is a resource, advocate, and connector for business,” Crystal said of her involvement. “What started as a way to be part of my local community has developed into a network of professional partnerships, referral opportunities, and fantastic friendships.”
AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT: Shawn Blades, Vice President, Truist
A native of Pikeville, Kentucky, Shawn Blades moved to Lexington after attending Eastern Kentucky University. In 2005, she decided to make a career change, and that search for the perfect fit led her to Truist (formerly BB&T). She said, “Truist fosters true commitment to its teammates and the community, and that allows me to meld my personal and professional passion of helping others to better serve our clients and communities.”
In her role as Vice President/Cluster Leader, Shawn specializes in small business and retail lending, as well as managing two branch locations here in the Lexington market. She also serves as the State Co-Chair for Truist’s Business Resource Group serving veterans and first responders.
She added, “Serving as an Ambassador is such an honor. Not only has the program offered me the opportunity to learn about businesses and their owners here in Lexington, but it has also created a strong professional network and created lifelong friendships. It is an honor to speak to business owners that give 110% every day to make their business and this city so successful. Sharing all that Commerce Lexington offers our businesses is a tremendous way to help our members find success in today’s fast-paced environment. Reaching out to members one-to-one and finding ways to contribute to their success is my number one goal."