2nd Cohort of New Leadership Accelerator Program for ERG Leaders Announced

Leadership Accelerator for Employee Resource Group leaders is first of its kind in the U.S.

The Leadership Louisville Center is announcing the members of the second cohort of its new Leadership Accelerator program. Developed in partnership with its IncLOUsion Council, an advisory council of ERG leaders established in 2019 by the Leadership Louisville Center, the new program gathers leaders of employee resource groups (also called BRGs, affinity groups, etc.) to accelerate the growth of a company’s diverse talent, grow skill sets in individuals, and deepen connections between affinity group leaders.

“The eighteen participants representing ten organizations will spend four months building their individual leadership skills, connecting with others across companies and social identities, and strengthening the impact they make within their organizations’ affinity groups and beyond,” said Cynthia Knapek, president and CEO of Leadership Louisville Center. “Participants represent employee resource groups, which engage and support Black, Latinx, women, LGBTQ+, parents, young professionals, and more employee groups. By elevating these leaders and connecting groups across organizations, we have the opportunity to accelerate the impact of diverse talent within companies and our community.” 

The Spring 2023 class runs from January – April 2023 and is the second cohort of the new program. Companies or individuals interested in getting their organization’s employee resource groups involved can visit www.leadershiplouisville.org/leadership-accelerator, or contact Jennifer Stevens at jstevens@leadershiplouisville.org.

The members of the Leadership Accelerator Class of Spring 2023 are:

  • Sophonie Bazile, Coordinator of Online Student Support & Community, University of Louisville
  • Jerusha Beebe, Literacy Programs Manager, Decode Project, Inc.
  • Chastity Dailey-Curtis, Project Manager, ScionHealth
  • Courtney Dunn, Administrative Assistant, Brown-Forman Corporation
  • Amy Evans, Operations Manager, PNC Bank
  • Riece Hamilton, Program Manager, University of Louisville
  • Danielle Hampton, Event and Logistics Coordinator, University of Louisville
  • Brydie Harris, Director of Diversity Initiatives, Seven Counties Services Inc.
  • Maegan Helm, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Frost Brown Todd LLC
  • Michael Janok, Relationship Manager, PNC Bank
  • Shayla Kendricks, Attorney, Frost Brown Todd LLC
  • Alicia Lopez, Sr Supply Planner, Brown-Forman Corporation
  • Martha Martin, DEI Sr Analyst, ScionHealth
  • Charity Pugh, Financial Underwriter, Humana Inc.
  • Brandie Ryan, Store Manager, Kroger Co.
  • Elle Smith, Store Manager, Kroger Co.
  • Alisha Toler, Senior Manager, Culture & Engagement, Waste Management
  • Leighann Valdez, Assistant Director, University of Louisville

Leadership Accelerator is made possible in part by founding sponsors Brown-Forman Corporation, the Kroger Co., and PNC Bank. Frost Brown Todd serves as a sustaining sponsor.

More about IncLOUsion, ERG Advisory Council

Organized by the Leadership Louisville Center, IncLOUsion is an employee resource group (ERG) advisory council with representatives from various organizations based in Louisville. The council’s purpose is to “equip and champion diverse talent to have a voice and be successful leaders in our workplace and communities.” The goals of the council are to:

  • Empower talented individuals who have been underrepresented to gain recognition and promotion into their organization’s leadership pipeline.
  • Transform the face of leadership in our community.
  • Ensure Louisville is recognized and known as the city where diverse talent thrives and succeeds.

For further information, read the Business First Louisville Guest Comment: “Employee Resource Groups can drive inclusion efforts” by Lyndsay Railey and Brian Buford.

Companies represented on IncLOUsion are: Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman Corporation, Humana, Kroger Co., LG&E and KU Energy, Mercer, Norton Healthcare, PNC Bank, Republic Bank, Talaris Therapeutics, UofL, UPS, and YUM! Brands, Inc.



The Leadership Louisville Center is the region’s most valuable resource for leadership development and civic engagement. With a purpose to inspire and equip leaders to be better and do better, it has graduated over 15,000 through its programs since 1979. The Center is recognized as a national best practice and is known for its dynamic programming and strong community connections. Programming includes five social impact leadership programs (Leadership Louisville, Focus Louisville, Ignite Louisville, Bingham Fellows and Encore Louisville), cohort programs for women and employee resource group leaders, leadership skills training courses presented through partner brand LeadingBetter™, and events designed to connect leaders and motivate positive change. Learn more at www.leadershiplouisville.org.

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