March 6 – 17, 2017, Local First Lexington will host online board elections. Please take a moment to read through our qualified candidates.

We are forever grateful to the board members who are rolling off in March. If you see Mary Ginocchio, Steve Baron, Chris Eddie, Angela Baldridge, Jerry Johnson, or Sara Hesley, please thank them for their service. If they were not responsible for launching Local First Lexington, they have served at least two terms. Thank you for your service!

In line with our bylaws, each business gets one vote in our board election. Please check back here for a voting link the week of March 6.

Amy Long

Amy Long

Obsidian

Candidate: Amy Long
Business Name: Obsidian

Why do you want to serve?
I would like to serve on the board because I feel that I have a great deal of relevant experience and knowledge that I can offer to LFL. I have been a Local First LaPlata founding member, board member and am a recent graduate of Leadership La Plata (similar to Leadership Lexington) which has provided me valuable leadership training and insights into building effective teams and organizational leadership. My contributions on the board will help the organization run effectively and grow.

Please describe any past or current board or group decision-making experience that you have?
I am a Local First La Plata founding member (2008) and served on their board from 2011-2015 with three years as Chair of the Board. I served on the AIGA Arizona Board from 2000-2004 with two years as President and two years at the Education Director. My Leadership La Plata experience has provided training in assembling and leading teams, along with facilitation and strategic planning. As Chair of the LF La Plata board, I worked closely with the ED on budgets, program initiatives and growing the organization.

Bio:
Amy is new to Lexington in 2016 but she has an accomplished history with Local First. In Durango, CO, she owned April’s Garden, a flower & gift shop, which was a founding member of Local First La Plata (www.local-first.org). She served on the Board of Directors for four years, with three years as Chair. After relocating to Lexington and selling April’s Garden, Amy began her next career in Business Development with Obsidian. They are a Durango-based startup that aims to shake up the payments industry with the Local First Rewards Payment Card (www.local-first.us).

In her free time she enjoys camping, hiking and exploring the outdoors with her husband and three dogs.

Andrea James

Andrea James

Co-owner S & A Strategies

Bio:
Andrea James is co-owner of S and A Strategies, a consulting company specializing in community engagement and project integration. She served on Lexington’s city council 2007-2011 representing the First District and has the distinct honor of being the first black woman to serve as an elected city council member in the city of Lexington. Andrea has worked in government, philanthropy and the medical field. She is a graduate of United Way’s inaugural Get On Board program and has since served on numerous boards, committees and ad-hoc groups in a variety of subject areas. Andrea is married to Rodney James, owner/operator of Idle Hour Barber Shop. And she is the proud momma of two children, Clarke and Rhoman. She enjoys gardening and researching the history of rural settlements of Fayette County.

Candidate: Andrea James
Business Name: S & A Strategies

Why do you want to serve?
After meeting with Natalie, I gained a better understanding of what Local First Lexington is and what it would like to be. I’d like to work with Natalie and the board to help fulfill the mission and vision of supporting Local businesses to become the best they can be and I have an interest in diversifying the membership of LFL. It seems like an organization that could benefit a much wider pool of business owners, but the connections have to be made.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board? I have a critical thinking approach that is based in truth and data. My interest in equity and inclusion is always at the core of my decision-making. I truly value the gifts of others and realize the importance and value that each of us can offer on any given situation. My goal in working on anything is striving to make it the best it can be from the start.

Benjamin C. Tuttle

Benjamin C. Tuttle

Lawyer, Moore & Moore PLLC

Bio:
Ben was born and raised in Versailles and moved to Lexington after graduating from Centre College.  after working for three years in a brain injury research lab, he went back to school to pursue a law degree .  Ben’s law practice is primarily focused on civil litigation and medical malpractice.  In his free time, Ben loves to shop, eat, and play local.  He and his wife enjoy exploring Lexington with their three dogs.

Candidate: Benjamin C. Tuttle
Business Name: Moore & Moore PLLC

Why do you want to serve?
I would like to serve on the Local First Lexington board because I believe I can offer a fresh new perspective, and I ardently believe in the mission of the organization.  I have had the pleasure of calling Lexington my home for over seven years and was born and raised in the Bluegrass region.  I have worked for several local organizations that are LFL members.  I recently graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law and joined a small local firm, Moore & Moore, PLLC.  As a new member of the firm I thought it was important to sign up the organization to be a part of the Local First family.  I also work on the weekends at John’s Run/Walk Shop, where I love meeting and serving fellow Lexingtonians.  I believe supporting local businesses is integral to maintaining a thriving and connected community. If elected a Board Member I will be determined to ignite dedication and interest in Local First Lexington to keep the organization growing and evolving with the community.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I am a very dedicated and hard-worker; during school I worked almost 40 hours a week while taking 15 credit hours.  I enjoy working with people, and as my wife would tell you, I am incredibly patient and always jovial.  Creative outlets are relaxing for me and I love to think up new ideas.  I have experience in fundraising and not only am I not afraid to ask for money.   I worked for Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) for five years collecting household donations.  I always enjoyed going to donors’ homes and explaining KRM’s mission.  It was so helpful to learn why people were interested in the organization and I often made a connection with donors that prompted them to make financial contributions as well.

Courtney Barker

Courtney Barker

Relationship Manager, Bank of the Bluegrass

Bio:
Courtney Barker is a Kentucky native; born in Frankfort and has lived in Lexington since she was two years old.  She works for Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Co. and joined the team in June 2016 as Relationship Manager-Deposit Production/Treasury Management Champion.  Courtney is a University of Kentucky graduate and has been in banking for 10 years.

Candidate: Courtney Barker
Business Name: Bank of the Bluegrass

Why do you want to serve?
I would be honored to get the opportunity to serve on the Local First Lexington board and serve for an organization that stands for and supports all things local.  I grew up in Lexington and value and respect all local businesses and their owners in this town.  Being able to shop and support local businesses is valuable to our city and state and is what makes our town thrive and stand out among others.  I want to serve on the Local First Lexington Board because I want input into our future Lexington–and our future Lexington is LOCAL businesses. My motivation is driven by our city and being able to be a part of helping it develop, grow, and achieve by engaging in bringing local businesses together and building the LOCAL awareness to our community.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I am a team player and work well with others. I am good at listening to others and understanding different viewpoints,
while at the same time I like to contribute my own thoughts and ideas as well. I like to think outside the box and I am good at strategizing and coming up with innovative ways to grow. I am strong at networking and enjoy meeting new people. Being from Lexington and being in my current role with the bank allows me to see and talk to lots of businesses on regular basis. I think that this would contribute to helping LFL grow to 450+ members by the end of 2017.

Jacob Sizemore

Jacob Sizemore

Owner: Sizemore Strategic Solutions

Candidate: 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.

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.)

Candidate: 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.

 

Jessica Estes

Jessica Estes

Stylist - Hair Nation Salon & Spa

Candidate: Jessica Estes
Business Name: Hair Nation Salon & Spa

Why do you want to serve?
I want to be apart of making Lexington better and finding solutions to the problems at hand that we face.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I would like to give LFL a new look and bring different ideas to make us known.

Bio:
Jessica Estes is a cosmetologist at Hair Nation Salon & Spa. Her goal is to make LFL known and grow to it’s full potential.

Lauralee Crain Estill

Lauralee Crain Estill

Owner: Fox House Vintage

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.

Candidate: Lauralee Crain Estill
Business Name: Fox House Vintage

 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.”

Bio:
Born in Flemingsburg, Lauralee Crain Estill came to Lexington ten years ago when she started college at Transylvania University.  She lives here with my husband, Patrick, and their two dogs. She has been the owner of Fox House Vintage since 2014.
“Transy made me an activist; Lexington made me a small business owner. Both of those experiences gave me invaluable community connections and lifelong friends.”

Nicole Mueller

Nicole Mueller

Owner: Startup Production

Candidate: Nicole Mueller
Business Name: Startup Production

Why do you want to serve?
I would like to serve on the board as to further their goal to promote locally owned and locally operated businesses. I have a passion to support local business, shop local, eat local and spend local.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I have over 17 years’ experience in marketing, communications, and web design. I have served on various event and organization committees, often leading the committees.

Bio:
Nicole Mueller is the owner and lead designer of Startup Production. In business since 1997, Startup Production has been serving the web design, graphic design and internet marketing needs of small businesses in Kentucky and beyond. Nicole has been invited to speak at various different workshops and presentations about Internet Marketing, Effective Web Design and Social Media Marketing by: EKU, SE KY Community & Technical College, CEDET, CEDIK, SBDC, Berea EDC, local Chambers, MACED and Selling to the World Expo.
Born & raised in the gorgeous Hudson Valley, NY, she and her family moved to Kentucky in 2005. She lived in Richmond KY until late 2016 when she moved to Lexington KY. In 2015, Nicole was awarded 2015 Kentucky Home-Based Small Business Advocate of the Year by the SBA.

Robyn Wade

Robyn Wade

Co-owner: ReBelle

Bio:
Robyn grew up in Lexington and in 2006, after several years away, she returned to open ReBelle with her lifelong friend Sarah Hood.  Robyn has been working with fiber and dyes for over 15 years and shares her love of the fiber arts through classes, workshops and community art projects.

Candidate: Robyn Wade
Business name: ReBelle

Why do you want to serve?
To me community is the absolute most important thing, I chose to move back to Lexington 11 years ago and start a business because of my love for this community. A strong community will build up and support all of its members and that is what I believe Lexington is. Serving a term on the board of LFL is a way for me to give back to the business side of my local community.

How long have you been a member of LFL and how have you worked to spread the Buy Local message?  
I have been a member of LFL since the very beginning and have been active in encouraging other businesses to join. My business model is centered around community and buying local is a big part of that.

What qualities, leadership skills and contributions would you bring to the LFL board?
I am very logical and great at coming up with the steps necessary to complete multi part initiatives. I am clear and concise about what needs to be done, but very open to feedback and revision from collaborators. Teaching is a big part of my job at the shop and from that I have learned to share information in a way that is organized and accessible for all types of personalities.