Keynote Speaker

 Jacqueline Coleman, 2019 Lt. Governor Elect


Running for Office

University of Louisville Student Government Association 


Activism in the Arts

 Hannah L Drake, Activist & Poet

Hannah L Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”




 Jerika Jones, Executive Director, Girls Rock Louisville

Jerika Jones is a music student-scholar who is just as passionate about rock and roll as she is serving her community. She serves as Executive Director of Girls Rock Louisville, which is a local organization that is dedicated to empowering youth and adults that are femme, trans-,or gender nonconforming, and for the global Girls Rock movement, which is a network of Girls Rock camps that also share similar values and goals. When she is not rocking out, she is taking space and still making (a lot) of noise.

Careers in Politics

Teena Halbig, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Kentucky & Louisville Branch, Public Policy Chair

Teena Halbig, is an entrepreneur, businesswoman, Past President of the Kentucky Division of the United Nations Association of the USA, and Public Policy Chair for American Association of University Women (AAUW) Kentucky and AAUW Louisville branch. 

Teena graduated in 1972 from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science and a Certificate in Medical Technology.  She became a registered and board certified Medical Technologist as MT (ASCP).  A 20 year career in research and as a Microbiologist and Virologist trained at the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Teena ran for State Senator in 1998 and then for State Representative in 2000 garnering many thousands of votes. She was Legislative Chair for Business and Professional Women/River City and has remained active in getting bills in the legislature for good causes. She has held several other political roles including Louisville Metro Parks Commissioner. Her interest in government drew her to the League of Women Voters of Louisville & Jefferson County in 2005 where she served as Co-President 2 years, then President for 2 more years and then became state President of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of KY for 3 years.

Teena has remained involved nonstop in civic matters for 28 years as a community leader and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors (approximately 55+), including those bestowed by 2 Mayors, 2 Judge/Executives, 2 Governors, several County Commissioners, a KY Cabinet Secretary, an Agriculture Commissioner, President of LWV of the United States and 1st VP of the LWV of the U.S.

Teena and her husband, Eddie, live on acreage in rural far Southeastern Jefferson County, Louisville, KY. Eddie is a Ford Motor retiree. Their daughter is a graduate of Western KY University and an Executive who is married over 10 years now to Teena’s wonderful son-in-law; both excel in the healthcare field.

Teena became known as “Gigi” 5 years ago when her granddaughter was born.  The newest edition is a grandson who turned 3 January 2019. 

While Teena retired January 2013, she remains a very active civic volunteer and a happy volunteer baby-sitter! 

Sammi Mathew, Deputy Field Organizer of the Kentucky Democratic Party

 Sammi Mathew is a devout political activist from Cincinnati, Ohio. She recently served as a  Deputy Field Organizer for the Kentucky Democratic Party, working primarily to further the success of the now Governor-Elect, Andy Beshear. Additionally, Sammi is a delegate of the United Nations. She presently operates as Vice President of United Nations Association Women at the University of Louisville, after helping to create the first United Nations Association Women's Chapter on a college campus. Sammi majors in Political Science and minors in Communication at the University of Louisville. She has previously worked as an intern under the Louisville Metro Government's Office for Women, served as the Brand Marketing Associate of local company V-Grits, and currently works on staff at the District 3 Office of Keisha Dorsey in the Louisville Metro Government. Sammi enjoys keeping up with current events regarding politics and human rights concerns on a local and national level. 

Elizabeth Pena, Congressional Aide

 Elizabeth completed her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with minors in Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies and Political Science at the University of Louisville. After graduation, Elizabeth worked for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services where she served as a Communication Intern in the Department for Public Health for the Division of Maternal and Child Health. Currently, Elizabeth serves as a congressional aide to the U.S. House of Representatives handling immigration casework for Kentucky's 3rd congressional district.

Powerhouse Political Panel

State Representative Nima Kulkarni, House District 40, Jefferson County

 Nima Kulkarni is the founder and managing attorney of Indus Law Firm. Her practice focuses on corporate, employment-based, and family-based immigration law.

Ms. Kulkarni holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Louisville. She also holds a Juris Doctor from the Antioch-UDC School of Law. Ms. Kulkarni has been practicing law since 2007 and is licensed in Kentucky and Georgia.

In 2018, Ms. Kulkarni was elected as the first Indian State Representative in Kentucky history. She represents the 40th District in Louisville, which includes the University of Louisville and Churchill Downs.

Throughout her career, Ms. Kulkarni has established partnerships with crucial stakeholders from the legislative, corporate, nonprofit and educational arenas. She is a board member of the Community Foundation of Louisville, the Indian Professional Council of Kentucky, the Greater Louisville Outstanding Women (GLOW), and serves as a Country Ambassador for the Greater Louisville International Professionals (GLIP). She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Louisville, serving on the International Service Committee, and a co-founder of the Human Rights Section at the Louisville Bar Association, which was named Section of the Year in 2017.

Ms. Kulkarni has been awarded the Global Visionary Award from the World Affairs Council and named an Emerging Leader by Greater Louisville Inc. She was also named a Business First 40 under 40 honoree and was a Presentation Academy Tower Award recipient in the category of Government & Law. Ms. Kulkarni has been profiled in several Business First publications, including Business Women First and 20 Lawyers to Know, and has appeared numerous times on KET’s KY Tonight and One to One along with numerous other community forums.

Ms. Kulkarni is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has established relationships with legislators on a state and national level through her advocacy work. She is a strong proponent of rational immigration policies that will benefit and sustain economic and cultural growth both for our region and the country as a whole.

Ms. Kulkarni has also established the New Americans Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to educating, engaging and building awareness of immigrant and immigration-related issues in our community. 

 Julie Denton, former Louisville Metro Councilwoman, former state senator of 20 years

Julie Denton is president and founder of The Denton Group, a consulting and government relations firm.  She uses her two decades of experience as a former Kentucky state senator and chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and four years as a Louisville Metro Councilwoman to assist her clients with issues at the executive and legislative levels of local, state and federal government.  

In 2014 Julie chose to retire from the state senate and served one term on Louisville’s Metro Council.  She retired from Metro Council in 2016 to devote her full attention to her company, The Denton Group.   

Julie is a graduate of the University of Louisville and a former dental hygienist.  In 1996 she started a telecommunications company, which operated in 23 states, and sold her interest in 2002.

Julie is married to Dr. Barry Denton, a retired Louisville Metro Police Department sergeant and bomb squad commander who works with her in The Denton Group and teaches at U of L in the Criminal Justice Department.  They live in Louisville and have four children, three dogs and a rabbit.   

 Nicole George, Louisville Metro Councilwoman, District 21

In November of 2018, Nicole George was elected to represent the people of District 21 on the Louisville Metro Council. The District includes Beechmont, Southside, Southland Park, Iroquois, and Lynnview.

In 2019, she serves as Vice Chair of the Metro Council's Appropriations Committee. She is also a member of the Economic Development and labor, Public Works, and Parks and Sustainablity Committees.

Nicole has spent her career working with families to improve child safety and wellbeing.  For the last 15 years, Nicole has worked as a public servant delivering both frontline services in child protection and holding an array of child welfare administrative roles. These jobs have focused on organization improvement, policy analysis, and project management.

Nicole spearheaded a statewide initiative to reduce trauma and enhance behavioral health services for children in foster care.  Nicole is professionally trained to use available assets to drive positive change.  Nicole values the ability of community to enhance the lives of all its citizens and support them in reaching their potential.

Nicole, a life-long resident of the Southend of Louisville, has been married for almost two decades to small business owner and IBEW, Local 369 member, Ricky George. 

Nicole George, an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, is committed to serve the citizens of Metro Council District 21 through her leadership in economic growth and maintaining the beauty of our Metro 21 District.

 Laura Dake, Councilwoman, City of Versailles, Kentucky

Laura Dake is Community Outreach Manager with Bluegrass Care Navigators (previously Hospice of the Bluegrass) where she works to strengthen the organization’s outreach strategy throughout its 32-county hospice service area.  In March 2018, she left her position as Executive Director of ITNBluegrass, a nonprofit that provides 24/7 automobile transportation to people 60+ and adults with visual impairments in Fayette County, Kentucky.  She was with ITN for more than 11 years and Executive Director for more than six. 

Until a few years ago, Laura had also been a contract trainer with Bluegrass Community and Technical College's Workforce Solutions office, where she developed and taught courses for Toyota, Corning, and Kentucky Utilities, among many others. She has more than 20 years of training facilitation and course development experience.

In addition to her full-time job, Laura is serving her second term on Versailles City Council. In that role, she chairs the Streets/Stormwater/Cemetery Committee and is a member of the Admin/Legal and Downtown Committees.

Laura has advanced degrees from the University of Michigan and George Mason University. She is a member of the Lexington Lions Club; a board member on the Council of Neighborhood Associations – Woodford County and a volunteer community educator for the Alzheimer’s Association.  She is a longtime member of Versailles Presbyterian Church.

Laura is married to Bill, a family physician at HealthFirst Bluegrass in Lexington, and has three children: two daughters and a son, all in college.