Campus News

Alumni Career Services Hosts 2nd Annual Leadership Week

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2022) — UK Alumni Career Services is hosting its second annual Leadership Week, which is being offered virtually for University of Kentucky alumni and friends. Presented April 25-28, the free series will focus on leadership topics for today’s managers, supervisors and aspiring leaders. The virtual format includes panel and roundtable sessions.

The series will kick off with an engaging panel on modern leadership featuring UK Alumni in a variety of leadership roles and industries. Other sessions will feature a current-student panel, trends for hiring talent, self-care for leaders and more. 

The schedule for the week:

Wildcats Take the Lead: Best Practices from Today’s Leaders               

Monday, April 25; Noon-1 p.m. EDT

Moderated by Jill Smith, associate vice president for Alumni Engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association. Panelists include:

  • Mark D. Birdwhistell, VP for Health System Administration & Chief of Staff, UK HealthCare
  • Kimra Cole, President & Chief Operating Officer, Columbia Gas of Kentucky
  • Chad Dobson, VP-Chief Accounting Officer, Churchill Downs Incorporated
  • Tia Edwards, Co-founder, Fresh Bourbon

Join UK Alumni Career Services and fellow wildcat leaders for an engaging panel on modern leadership featuring UK Alumni in a variety of leadership roles and industries. Submit your questions in advance to This session will be hosted in Zoom Webinar and streamed on the UK Alumni Association Facebook page at Register for the session here.  

Wildcats Take the Lead: Current Students on Modern Leadership Practices    

Monday, April 25; 3-4 p.m. EDT

Moderated by Caroline Francis, director of Alumni Career Services, UK Alumni Association. Panelists include: 

  • Marissa Armstrong, Senior, Marketing & Management
  • Lizzie Piipponen, Junior, Human Health Sciences
  • Michaela Taylor, JD, MHA Candidate 2023
  • Tanner Thompson, Senior, Accounting, Finance and Management

Join UK Alumni Career Services and fellow wildcat student leaders for an engaging panel on modern leadership featuring UK students in a variety of majors and interest areas. Submit your questions in advance to Register for the session here.

Cultivating a Culture of Self-Care                                      

Tuesday, April 26; 11 a.m.-Noon EDT

Hosted by Queen-Ayanna Sullivan, career counselor, Alumni Career Services, UK Alumni Association.

This program is centered around how leaders can emphasize self-care strategies for their supervisees. You cannot take care of your work-related responsibilities if you are not taking care of yourself first. Through this presentation, learn about toxic productivity and ways supervisors can model self-care behaviors (e.g., work-life balance), in professional settings, all supported by psychological grounded research.

Register for the session here.

Hiring Trends Every Leader Needs to Know                                 

Tuesday, April 26, 2-3 p.m. EDT

Hosted by:

  • Amanda Schagane, associate director of Alumni Career Services, UK Alumni Association
  • Nicole Waite, employment specialist, STEPS Temporary Employment, Human Resources, University of Kentucky

This session will explore current trends in hiring as well as helpful recommendations for a strategic hiring process from expert career development and human resources experts. Register for the session here.

How to be Binge-Worthy: Facilitating Presentations Post-Pandemic      

Wednesday, April 27; Noon-1 p.m. EDT           

Hosted by Carla Curtsinger, communications consultant, Point Taken Consulting.

By necessity, internal and external audiences have spent the past two years working on Zoom and playing on a variety of streaming platforms. What grabs and holds their attention has changed forever. Ted Lasso’s ‘goldfish’ not only has a shorter attention span but also has a far more discerning palette for a story. The answer? Presence. Planning. Participation. In this interactive presentation, discover techniques to present yourself and your message in these post-pandemic times that will engage your audience from start to finish. Register for the session here.

"From HOOAH to DOOAH: Leadership Tips That Work"                  

Wednesday, April 27; 3-4 p.m. EDT

Hosted by:

  • Vincent Holloway, vice president, Tetra Tech
  • Obie A.M. Spratling, program manager, Innova Systems International

This presentation offers leadership tips from a military and corporate perspective. Depending on your career path, roles, and responsibilities, you may be required to demonstrate different leadership skills and approaches for your team to be successful. Explore the idea of servant-leadership and the tools that will help your leadership style evolve during your career. Hear lessons learned from real situations to illustrate leadership effectiveness. At the end of the presentation, attendees will have a greater appreciation of when and where to apply the right approaches to be an effective leader.

Register for the session here.

How to Lead Your Team When You Are Not the Boss                      

Thursday, April 28; Noon-1 p.m. EDT

Hosted by Grace Gorrell, owner, Lead With Grace.

According to John Maxwell’s definition, leadership is “influence, nothing more, nothing less!” This workshop will help individuals at any level of the organization learn that they do have the ability to be a leader! In this interactive workshop individuals learn how to strengthen the level of influence that they have with peers, superiors and people that report to them. When individuals feel more confident as leaders at all levels of an organization, the results will be a much happier and successful organization. Register for the session here.


Thursday, April 28; 3-4 p.m. EDT

Hosted by Jennifer LeMaster, chief administrative officer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority.

Throughout her career in live events, Jennifer has learned a lot about service and relationships and together these elements have created a special brand for Atlanta that has been described as radical hospitality. Leveraging her academic studies of politics, communications and gender, Jen’s leadership style is defined by “active anti-bias” which has led to an award-winning culture and enterprise retention strategy that is besting the post-pandemic “great resignation” trend in hospitality. Using the same framework, Jen inspires audiences to develop their own leadership consciousness by defining who they are rather than what they are against. Register for the session here.

The UK Alumni Association is committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association, visit or call 800-269-2586.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.