Lauralee Crain Estill

Lauralee Crain Estill

Board President

Bio: Born in Flemingsburg, Lauralee Crain Estill came to Lexington ten years ago when she started college at Transylvania University.  She lives here with her husband, Patrick, and their two dogs. She has been the owner of Fox House Vintage since 2014.

Board President: Lauralee Crain Estill
Business Name: Bluegrass Regional Marketplace

 Why do you want to serve? I am so excited about connecting the people of Lexington to the local economy they want to see and participate in. Please, put me to work!

 Please describe any past or current board or group decision making experience that you have? I manage and own Fox House Vintage. I helped found and develop a non profit organization that put on summer empowerment programming for middle school aged girls. Full Circles Foundation. I also held leadership positions in Lexington and Kentucky based environmental groups including Transylvania Environmental Rights and Responsibilities Alliance and Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition. In both of these experiences I managed logistics, meeting norms, fundraising efforts, community outreach, business management, and recruitment of members.

“Transy made me an activist; Lexington made me a small business owner. Both of those experiences gave me invaluable community connections and lifelong friends.”

Jennifer B. Miller

Jennifer B. Miller

Independent Attorney, Producer, and Community Activist

Bio:
My name is Jennifer Miller, and I play the camera in a marching band.

A Lexington native, I am also an attorney, producer, and community activist, but the costumes for those are much less fun. I graduated from Henry Clay High School (1987), Harvard College (1991), and Stanford Law School (1998). In DC, I worked in the White House twice (1993-94 and 1996), in the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, in a private law firm, and on multiple political campaigns. Locally, my focus has over the years included advising nonprofit organizations, producing musical groups and independent film, advocating for social justice efforts, teaching part-time at UK, and connecting community members for project collaborations.

I am usually seen in the company of two charismatic mutts, who may try to convince you that I forgot to feed them breakfast. (I always remember.)

Board Vice-President: Jennifer B. Miller
Business: Independent Attorney, Producer, Community Activist

Why do you want to serve?
Even when businesses, organizations, and professionals are technically independent, we all rely on community support to succeed. I think the next few years will increase challenges for unique small businesses, nonprofits, and artists. I would like to help promote collaboration in our diverse local economy, and I think my skill sets could benefit LFL’s new initiatives to engage members and consumers.

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have?
In Kentucky, I have been a board member of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky (and Planned Parenthood of the Bluegrass before that), Girls Rock, Actors Guild of Lexington, PawPrint Magazine, and the Fayette County Democratic Party (Chair of the 75th Legislative District). Group decision-making experience would also certainly include work as a Co-Producer on an independent feature film, Hitting the Cycle.

Before moving home, I worked in a wide range of roles on presidential campaigns, and in coordination with state campaigns. In the White House and at the Department of Justice, I worked on teams related to comprehensive legislation, cabinet agency collaboration, and intergovernmental projects. As an attorney in a DC mass media practice, I worked with clients that included industry coalitions. I also served on the founding board of a nonprofit journalism organization that produced the state-tailored Capitol News Connection.

 

 

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
For LFL, my most useful skills would relate to planning and implementation of complex projects, notably the organization’s public rollout and expansion of new initiatives. I am passionate for “matchmaking” among individuals and groups who share goals, especially when they were previously unaware of common objectives. My legal and nonprofit management background can benefit both typical and unanticipated challenges behind the scenes. Through public-facing experience with social media, press relations, and event-planning, I think I could help bring broad attention to the Localist program, and recruit enrollees.

Jacob Sizemore

Jacob Sizemore

Owner: Sizemore Strategic Solutions

 

Treasurer: Jacob Sizemore
Business name: Sizemore Strategic Solutions

Why do you want to serve?
I have been looking for a nonprofit that I am excited about and really care about the mission. As a local business owner and operating as a CPA I am a local business and work primarily with local businesses. I believe LFL is something every local business in Lexington should be a part of.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I currently own two local businesses in the financial services industry. I believe I could bring financial/accounting expertise as well as my network to help benefit LFL.

Bio:
Jacob has spent his career taking the stress out of owning a business for his clients. Combining his ability to simplify even the most complex of problems, his firm belief that investing in people is the best way to be successful, and his desire to help business owners reach their goals, Jacob works with business owners to create and implement systems that enables owners to focus on their company’s critical success factors while improving the overall quality of information and the business owners quality of life. He is CEO of Sizemore Strategic Solutions, co-owner of Sizemore & Sizemore, PLLC (Certified Public Accountants), past Treasurer of FoodChain, Treasurer of Marion County Ham Days, ambassador with Commerce Lexington, Leadership Lebanon 2015 graduate, Arts & Science Council Leadership Training Program graduate 2013. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and his Master of Accountancy degrees from UNC Charlotte, and his MBA from Wake Forest University. He hold credentials as a Certified Public Accountant and is Accredited in Business Valuations. Jacob has been described by his clients and colleagues as awesome, a life saver, knowledgeable, committed to client service, highly professional, and very personable.

Savannah Blank

Savannah Blank

Digital Marketing Specialist, TOPS in Lexington (TOPS Marketing Group)

 

Board Member: Savannah Blank
Business Name: TOPS in Lexington

Why do you want to serve?
Want to help support local business marketing.

How long have you been a member of LFL and how have you worked to spread the Buy Local message?
TOPS has been a member for years. Have been attending for six months. Every day, buy local!

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have.
Helping market event for The Nest.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
Small business and supporting local events, causes, stores, farmers, artists, trade, and anything else I can to great little big towns like Lexington survive and preserve the charm it currently possesses.

What do you think are the most critical issues for LFL in its next few years?
Spreading the word and bringing more events/awareness back to buying local. The more attention we can bring to the importance of small businesses, the more satisfied we all will be.

Meghan Carroll

Meghan Carroll

Owner, Meg C Jewelry Gallery

 

Board Member: Meghan Carroll
Business Name: Meg C Jewelry Gallery

Why do you want to serve?
To be more involved in the community and help support other local businesses.

Are you currently a Board Member or Officer of another organization?
Yes, the OH/KY chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), as the communications chair then the events chair, since 2013.

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have.
My experience working with the other board members of the WJA planning events, organizing the calendar, and handling communications.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I would bring my creativity and experience.

Meg Carroll has been honing her skills as a metalsmith and designer of fine jewelry for 12 years. Originally from Long Island, Meg graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in Jewelry Design. She continued her studies at several trade schools and after some travel, here and abroad, luck landed her in Lexington, Kentucky in 2011. She opened her own store, Meg C Jewelry Gallery, in 2012. A welcome addition to Lexington’s thriving arts scene, now located in The Summit at Fritz Farm. Meg routinely works with ethically sourced platinum, gold, silver, and one-of-a-kind stones. In addition to her ready-made collection, she creates custom designed pieces for clients. Her gallery offers nine distinct collections of jewelry in addition to her own, as well as temporary exhibitions highlighting unique designers from around the country. You can almost always find her with dirty fingers, saw frame in hand, hard at work at her bench at Meg C Jewelry Gallery.

Joshua Saxton

Joshua Saxton

Operations Manager and Massage Therapist, Centered

 

Board Member: Joshua Saxton
Business Name: Centered

Why do you want to serve?
Involvement in my community through direct hands on connection is my passion. As a small business owner I believe in the importance of cooperation and believe wholeheartedly in the mission of community integration and cooperation. As a board member of LFL I want to assist in raising awareness of the culture of supporting our local economy.

 

How long have you been a member of LFL and how have you worked to spread the Buy Local message?
Centered opened its doors almost 5 years ago as Lexington’s first holistic community center, one of the first things we did was to join LFL. We have partnered with the VA, Hospice and several local non-profits and charitable organizations to provide inservices and workshops engendering a local first approach to integrate Lexington healing arts organizations with these national and statewide providers. Centered has partnered with other Lexington healing arts organizations to create a directory of reciprocal savings for our clients as well as assisted in the development of a local retail (Warehouse Block) group to cross promote and advertise.

Being self employed for 23 years I see the importance of being part of the local culture and community. I work constantly to raise the community consciousness of the import of local brick and mortar businesses. I shop local and invite each person I connect with to do the same by sharing the story of who I am- a local business owner, a partner, a father of 3, a homeowner, doggie caretaker and human who is dependent upon the community to come to my business for services and products.

Are you currently a Board Member or Officer of another organization?
I am not currently sitting on a board or as an officer of another organization. I am currently developing a non-profit to bring special needs populations to yoga with more ease and have been the Operations Manager for Centered, Lexington’s first holistic community center, since our opening 5 years ago.

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have.
Our business model at Centered is based upon collaborative decision-making. This technique allows us to meet and discuss with our 15 team members the myriad complexities of running our center. The teams active voice in decision making is very important to the success of our business. This model of cooperative expression allows us to work synergistically amidst various personages under the umbrella of the 4 agreements- ‘Be impeccable with your word, Take nothing personally, Don’t make assumptions, always do your best.’

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I bring a finely honed and skilled felt sense for hearing people and holding a space where they can feel safe to share vulnerably. Practicing active listening when paired with nonviolent communication enables me to assist individual and group meetings to have parity and balance. I feel comfortable facilitating group discussions and problem solving groups. I can lead introductory, closing meditations and self-awareness check in’s to provide group cohesion while advocating for success and innovation.

What do you think are the most critical issues for LFL in its next few years?
Lexington is in a state of continued physical and fiscal growth and LFL is instrumental in integrating sustainable growth of small business. I see the need for Lexington to partner with our neighboring communities beyond the farm to table food concert and bring our local economies to cross support, promote, protect and grow our businesses. The need for LFL to increase membership numbers is crucial for the continued growth and ability for outreach of the organization.

Courtney Putthoff

Recruiting Director, Longship

 

Board Member: Courtney Putthoff
Position: Recruiting Director, Longship

Why do you want to serve?
The primary reason that I would like to serve on the Local First Lexington Board of Directors is that I am passionate about the history and growth of Lexington’s local businesses. I follow many local news platforms on social media and the reoccurring headline “Another Lexington local business closes its’ doors after … years” has sparked my interest and has started to affect me and several of my professional peers. Recently closed local businesses such as Wines on Vine, Chatham’s Bistro, and almost a dozen more used to be staples in the community but are now just thoughts of the past.

During my time at the Lexington Herald-Leader, in media sales, I was able to work one-on-one with the local business owners on their marketing plans. Several business owners had trouble getting customers to walk into the front door; not because their products and/or services weren’t above average, but it was because customers had no idea where they were located or didn’t even know they were open. I am a huge advocate of small, local businesses, and I would like to get more people invested in the Shop Local mindset.

How long have you been a member of LFL and how have you worked to spread the Buy Local message?
I have not been a member of the LFL, but I went to the information mixer to learn more about joining and applying to be on the Board of Directors.

I am constantly spreading the Buy Local message whether this be for restaurants, boutiques, cleaning/moving companies, photographers, etc. The best way to promote a local business is through word-of-mouth. I can not tell you how many times I log on to Facebook and see one of my friends asking for advice on where to get a dress tailored or a different restaurant to try. This gives me the perfect opportunity to press upon how great it is to Shop & Buy Local. Not only am I a promotional advocate for local businesses, but I always try to substitute something I am currently purchasing from a ‘big box retailer’ with something that is from a local business. Some people have the misconception that shopping local means spending more money, and, in some cases, this is true. But the more you are educated and informed about shopping local, the easier it becomes to spend your money on a product/service of quality.

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have.
I was a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) for approximately 6 months. I held a role on the Events Committee which included attending monthly/quarterly meetings, coordinating, planning, and hosting membership events, and participating in community-involved projects.  I had hands-on experience in collecting materials, calling sponsors, and recruiting members to attend the events along with joining AAF.

I graduated in May 2016 from Morehead State University, and during my four years at MSU, I was a part of Kappa Delta Sorority and the Panhellenic Executive Council. In Kappa Delta, I was the Assistant VP of Public Relations, where I aided in Social Media development and management along with planning outside events (retreats, formal events, etc.) for a group of 80+ women. I held the position of VP of Records for the Panhellenic Executive Council where I attended and recorded all outside meetings and events; I was also a ‘Gamma Chi’ mentor for a group of 35+ women going through the sorority recruitment process. During this process, I recruited women to join in Greek life as well as promoted the overall benefits of being part of an organization at MSU.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I pride myself on being a very organized, enthusiastic, and committed individual. I would attend all meetings, as well as, come prepared with either material or ideas to contribute to those meetings. I have a very positive outlook on each day and transfer that mentality to all tasks/jobs that are assigned to me. I am a team player and do my best work when surrounded by others.

I could contribute a high level of recruiting to get new members to join the LFL, as I am currently the Recruiting Director for Longship and have had a plethora of experience in the organizational recruitment process.

I possess both professionalism and attentiveness to others, which I believe are two qualities that make a successful board member.

What do you think are the most critical issues for LFL in its next few years?  

  • Recruiting new members and businesses to the LFL
  • Address local business closings, concerns, and the future (Invite all Lexington Business Owners to discuss, this would be a town-hall-like, open room discussion)
  • Create strong networking events that allow local businesses to come together & learn from one another
  • Marketing event: Allow local agencies to set up booths for Local Business owners, Almost like a career fair, but for agencies. This would allow the local business owner to almost take a look at their marketing opportunities to make sure they are investing in the right company that will provide them with a solid ROI.