LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2024) — Young Professionals Association of Louisville added numerous new Advisory Council members for the 2023-24 term.

The Advisory Council is an assemblage of some of Louisville’s most impressive innovators, community builders and leaders who are all motivated to create better opportunities for young professionals around the city. Last month, YPAL board members and Advisory Council members met for a bi-annual training to strengthen the organization and its leadership.

YPAL President Tanelle Sawyer focused on building up the Advisory Council so it could be more reflective and representative of YPAL’s membership.

“When I first joined the board as a director, I was a bold advocate for diversifying our Advisory Council. When we were asked to choose a mentor, I struggled because there was no one that looked like me or was aligned with my profession. I believed then, and still, that our Advisory Council should be reflective of our community with vast representation,” Sawyer said. “When we have diverse representation in leadership, it not only fuels diversity but most importantly inclusion and belonging. That’s always been an important piece of how I lead this organization, so in my President Elect year I was committed to update our Advisory Council. We have an outstanding group of leaders who have an array of experience, profession, identity, and impact.”

Adria Johnson, David Beck, Eric King, Deryl Sweeney and Neville Blakemore are new members to the Advisory Council this year.

The connection between established leaders and young professionals provides an accessible opportunity for mentorship, professional development and personal growth.

“As young professionals, it is common to be in awe of executive leaders in our community who paved the way before us and continue to move the needle forward,” Sawyer said. “The thing I appreciate most about our Advisory Council members is they are creating seats at the table for young professionals; elevating our position and power within the community, to help move that need forward.”

Adria Johnson, President and CEO of Metro United Way, is one of the new Advisory Council members this year.

“I feel it’s very important to pour into our community’s future leaders of tomorrow,” Johnson said. “We should take the time to establish genuine relationships with younger people to share the wisdom and lessons we have learned from our own career and personal journeys – that makes all of us stronger.”

This year’s Advisory Council includes Natasha Collins, Adria Johnson with Metro United Way, Ron Oliver with Norton Healthcare, Christy Ames with Republic Bank, David Beck with Kentucky Venues, Gill Holland, a community investor, Jennifer Hancock with Volunteers of America, JP Davis with TBAIN & Co., Kent Oyler with UofL College of Business, Kim Judy with Cherry Bekaert, Kirsten Hawley with Brown-Forman, Mike Moll with PNC, Vernon Foster with UofL College of Business, Tendai Charasika with Saling Wealth Advisors, Lisa Benson with Louisville Business First, Eric King with WHAS, Deryl Sweeney with Sweeney Coaching Group and Neville Blakemore with ABS Advisors, LLC.

Advisory Council serves as an extended arm of YPAL Leadership.

“They serve as champions both internally and externally, for young professionals to thrive. Specifically, our AC serves through sponsorship, access, committee involvement, enhanced network, and mentorship,” Sawyer said. “They use their time and expertise to aid in propelling our organization forward, deeply rooted in the pillars of our strategic plan. Through their various areas of involvement and assets, we are able to uniquely utilize them to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our community. We work alongside each other to make meaningful impact in making Louisville to ensure it is the most prospering city for today and years to come.”