The mission of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) is to create a vibrant, welcoming young professional community in Greater Louisville by connecting, engaging, and developing our members.

Our History

In 1999, at the urging of former Jefferson County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson, a group of young professionals came together to support efforts to attract and retain young professionals in the community. The group’s initial goal was to convince young professionals to stay in Louisville, where they could make a significant difference in their community. They worked with elected officials and community leaders to serve as a voice for this demographic. This work continues as YPAL partners with Metro Government, Greater Louisville Inc., Leadership Louisville Center, and countless other organizations to increase awareness of issues affecting young professionals and activate young professionals to make a difference in the community.

Our Founding Directors

    • Cynthia Spalding Knapek – Chair
    • Christy Ames – Chair Elect
    • James Davis – Treasurer
    • Todd Schmiedeler – Secretary
    • Walter Ashley Hess – Incorporator
    • Jim Sheehy – Director
    • Julie Padgett – Director
    • Kurt Maddox – Director
    • Lynn Huffman – Director
    • Heather Gibbs – Director
    • James Davis – Director
    • Katherine Cornwell – Director

Our Vision

YPAL plays an integral role in Greater Louisville not just for our members and alumni, but all young professionals and the broader community. We support efforts to attract and retain young talent in our city. We serve as a jumping-off point both for those who are new to the area and those who are uncovering what it’s like to live in Louisville as an adult. We advocate for YPs and underrepresented voices to have a seat at the table. We convene the many people, groups and organizations working to build a better Louisville. We lead with our values first to ensure everyone knows there is a place for them at YPAL and in Louisville.

Our Values

As leaders in the community, YPAL and our partners are committed to the values of:

  • Community: We are a diverse group of people, working together toward a common goal. We are an active piece of Greater Louisville, and we provide resources for our members.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: We strive to represent the community we serve. We work to create a community culture where everyone’s unique ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are valued.
  • Integrity: We act in accordance with our values in all we do. We are honest, transparent, and respectful.
  • Service: We are leaders in our community and are dedicated to serving
    as such.
  • Growth: We are coachable and commit to lifelong learning for ourselves, our organization, and our community.


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