Join us in the campaign to build a monument to celebrate the history of women in Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky. Our goal is to have a monument in place in a prominent downtown Lexington location in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. We welcome your support.
This campaign is chaired by Lexington City Councilmember Jennifer Mossotti. Councilmember Kathy Plomin is Vice-Chair. Other steering team members are Rebecca Byers, Astarre Gudino, Georgia Henkel, Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth, Janet Holloway, Lisa Hord, Heather Lyons, Lori Meadows, Victoria Meyer, Melissa Murphy, Foster Ockerman, Jr., Kelli Parmley, Kathy Simon, Jenifer Wuorenmaa and Isabel Yates.
Chair, Breaking the Bronze Ceiling; Councilwoman, 9th District
Jennifer Mossotti, Chairperson of Breaking the Bronze Ceiling, presently serves as Councilmember for the 9th District on Lexington’s Urban County Council and has a well-earned reputation for being a strong voice for her constituents. She has been awarded the Fayette County Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Hero Award. A high-energy community leader and tireless public servant, she has been recognized for her overall political leadership by the National Foundation for Women Legislators.
Inspired by an eye-opening article in TIME magazine in August of 2017 that revealed that fewer than 7% of the 5,193 monuments in the United States recognize women, Jennifer questioned, “Where are the women monuments in Lexington?”
Soon thereafter, she, along with a small group of dynamic women in Lexington formed the “Breaking the Bronze Ceiling” initiative to raise funds to erect a monument in downtown Lexington in 2020
For the past 20 years, she has also been a professional real estate agent; both residential and commercial. She presently serves as Chair of the Urban County Council’s Planning and Public Safety Committee and serves on Council’s Budget, Finance & Economic Development Committee; the Environmental Quality & Public Works Committee; the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board; and the Rural Land Management Board.
She is married to Ron Mossotti, past president of Hammond Communications Group in Lexington and has three children and six grandchildren. She enjoys gardening and horseback riding in her free time.
Vice Chair, Breaking the Bronze Ceiling; Councilwoman, 12th District
Kathy has lived in Lexington for over 30 years and is currently in her second term representing Lexington’s 12th Council District. Her District comprises 70% of the land mass in Fayette County and is home to our horse farms, farmland and natural resources. Her professional career includes 21 years as WKYT’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing; President of United Way of the Bluegrass; and founder of 100 Women, a donor and advocacy organization that supports area nonprofits that provide services for women and their children. She also served as the national chair of the CBS Sales and Marketing Board. Kathy is ecstatic to be involved in Breaking the Bronze Ceiling’s mission and goal towards erecting a monument in honor of Lexington’s history and the fight for suffrage.
Rebecca B. Byers
Government Relations Professional
Rebecca Byers is a senior government relations professional with over 30 years of experience representing state and local governments, non-profits and trade associations in Washington, DC. In her most recent position, she served as Director of the Kentucky Washington Office for Governor Steve Beshear from 2010-2015 where she worked closely with the Congress, Administration, diplomatic community and corporate representatives.
Prior to joining the Governor’s office, Ms. Byers was Director of Federal Affairs in Washington, DC for the City of Louisville during Mayor Jerry E. Abramson’s five terms as Louisville mayor where she assisted in the historic city-county merger and the formation of a new Louisville metro government. Previous Washington experience included four years as Director of Development for CARE.
She received her M.A. from the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky and her B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University. Rebecca says “Being involved in the BTBC initiative has been a wonderful way to…contribute to this exciting and historic public art project.”
Astarre’ Gudino’s love of the arts presented itself in her early years through poetry and drawing. The poetry was great, the drawings, not so much. Over the years, she rechanneled her artistic desires into graphics and communication. For over 20 years she worked to better her community through her work with the Human Rights Commission, Grant Management with the Cervical Cancer Free-Kentucky initiative, Program Creation, Development and Management with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), and now as a Lawyer with the Legal Aid of the Bluegrass.
She never realized how much abstract art would change her life. She decided that her first loves, art and Law, should meet once again. She opened an art gallery, Open Spaces – Art in Unconventional Places, in Lexington in 2017, and graduated law school in 2019.
When you see Astarre’s art, you should see the beauty of the struggle. The beauty of pain. And the Beauty of life. Her art symbolizes the beauty that is always seen on the surface, while trying to figure out what is happening underneath.
Astarre’ Gudino has a Juris Doctorate from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase Law School, a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications & Public Relations from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and holds certifications through Command Spanish (a job specific Spanish training company) and Small Business Start-up certifications through NxLevel. Mrs. Gudino currently is the Chair of Recruitment for the Lyric Board and is a proud member of the Breaking the Bronze Ceiling Steering Committee.
Artist & Educator
Georgia Henkel is a visual artist, educator and community activist. She has served on local and national Boards including LexArts, Very Special Arts, The Girl Project and AthensWest Theatre.
Georgia has served the Lexington community as the chairperson of the Urban County Arts Review Board for 6 years and helped lead the community decision to remove the Confederate monuments from the Courthouse Plaza. As a mother of four daughters and an educator of 30 years, she is committed to educating the community on diversity, equity and fairness issues.
Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement at the University of Kentucky
Lisa has held several positions at UK and is currently the Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement at the University of Kentucky. In this role, she develops, implements and assesses significant community based projects that create robust partnerships between the University community (faculty, students and staff) and local, state and regional constituencies. The responsibilities within the University Community Engagement department include the, AmeriCorps VISTA Program and the Office of Lifelong Learning.
Lisa is active in many state and local activities. Currently, Lisa serves on the Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Board, Blue Grass Community Foundation Board, Carnegie Center for Literacy Board and the Town Branch Project (Town Branch Partner). She is also a partner of the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Consortium at the University of Kentucky which provides training, access and opportunities for faculty and their classes regarding community projects.
Lisa was born in Harlan County, Kentucky and raised in Lexington. Lisa continued her education at the University of Kentucky where she received her Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree. Lisa is a graduate of the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement’s Academy for Leaders at Virginia Tech. She is also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa, National Honor Leadership Society.
Historian & Author of Lexington: Queen of the Bluegrass
Randolph Hollingsworth is a native of Kentucky. She has a B.A. in history from Vassar College; an MA in Teaching from Colgate University; and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky. She was the first professor to offer Women’s Studies courses and Sub-Saharan African history at Lexington Community College. After completing her Ph.D., she was awarded the position of Commonwealth Humanities Scholar. Her dissertation on a conservative white woman in Kentucky spanned the 19th century and fueled several essays for publication. Her scholarly publishing in Kentucky history was supported by state historian Dr. James Klotter as well as the University Press of Kentucky and the University Press of Virginia. She worked with the newly created Kentucky Virtual University and led projects that founded several award-winning online professional studies websites for several state agencies.
She continued her scholarly publishing, including Lexington: Queen of the Bluegrass (2004). In 2007 she was recruited to work as Assistant Provost at the University of Kentucky to focus on undergraduate education and student success. She continued to publish online about Kentucky women’s history as well as essays on conservative women in scholarly presses. In 2015 she worked with KY colleagues to create the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project, a collaborative which launched several digital databases for new information in preparation for the 2020 centennial commemorations of the 19th Amendment. The portal can be viewed and entries accessed freely from https://networks.h-net.org/kywomansuffrage. In 2018 Hollingsworth migrated to New Zealand with her husband to live with her daughter Rudo and grandson. She continues to research and publish on the women’s suffrage movement.
Janet Steele Holloway
Founder, Women Leading Kentucky Author of A Willful Child and Leaving
A native West Virginian, Janet Holloway moved to Lexington from NYC in 1990 to assume leadership of the statewide Small Business Development Center (SBDC) housed at the Gatton College of Business & Economic Development. After serving as state director and then president of the national Association of SBDC’s, working to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, she left the university to start an educational non-profit, Women Leading Kentucky in 1999.
“I saw the need for women to have opportunities to network and support each other in order to grow professionally,” she says. After 20 years, Women Leading Kentucky continues to grow in numbers and relevant programs. Janet also took time to pen two memoirs — A Willful Child about her upbringing in the coal camps of W.Va. and Leaving: Sometimes You Have to Leave about her life in NYC. In Lexington, she has served on boards of The Nest and the Lyric Theatre; currently serves on the boards of The Carnegie Center, Arts Connect, and Athens West Theatre, and the Women Leading KY Advisory Council. An award-winning author, Janet’s articles and stories have appeared in Entrepreneur.com, Business Lexington, Cake & Whiskey, West Virginia South, and Appalachian Heritage. In her New York life, she created a women’s advocacy group within the National Drug Training program and a women’s health center on Long Island. “Acknowledging the rights of women to vote is critical for our history and our future,” she said.
Director, Arts & Cultural Affairs, LFUCGIn her role as Director of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Heather serves on the Public Arts Commission, Urban County Arts Review Board, the LexArts Board of Directors, the Picnic With the Pops Commission, and the Sister Cities Commission. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Staff, Heather served as Executive Director of the Living Arts & Science Center (LASC) for over 14 years. Her tenure there included leading a $5.5M capital campaign to renovate the LASC’s historic building and to add an 11,000 sq. ft.Lucille Caudill Little Discovery Center addition which opened in 2016.
Heather’s previous work includes serving as Individual Artist Program Director with the Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency, and for over 15 years, Heather was an Independent Producer/Director creating numerous documentary films and other programming for public television. During this time, she also served as a frequent Media Artist-in-Residence within schools and communities in New York, Kentucky and Ecuador. She has served as a panelist and juror for arts commissions and grants for organizations such as ITVS – Independent Television Service, the Southern Humanities Media Fund, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.
Arts Management ConsultantIn her work as an arts management consultant, Lori specializes in the areas of advocacy; policy/process development and implementation; strategic planning; organizational management and capacity building; assessment and evaluation; and grants management.
Meadows is retired from the Kentucky Arts Council where she served as executive director. She has been actively involved with public art since serving as Kentucky’s director for the Smithsonian Institute’s national Save Outdoor Sculpture! initiative and has chaired or served on many public art advisory committees including: the Federal Art-in-Architecture Program; the Smithsonian Institute; the Commonwealth of Kentucky; the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; the Louisville Arena Authority; the Flight 5191 Memorial Commission; and the Kentucky Capitol Centennial Commission.
Victoria Hildebrandt Meyer
Chair, Lexington Women’s Garden
Victoria Meyer received her R.N. and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Purdue University and has lived in Lexington, Kentucky since 1979. Her experience includes 40 years of clinical experience in women’s health, having worked at Central Baptist Hospital, the U.K. Markey Cancer Center and Hospice of the Bluegrass.
As one of the founders of Lexington Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Race for the Cure©, Victoria has held many positions as well as serving as a delegate from the U.S. to the Global Breast Cancer Summit in Budapest, Hungary. For 10 years she coordinated a joint Komen and
Avon -funded grant program called Breast Health by Women which provided free mammograms to the uninsured and underinsured. She served on the board of the Kentucky Cancer Link and America in Bloom. Currently, she is Chair of the Lexington Women’s Garden.
The reflection that retirement brings has sparked her interest in women’s history and the Suffrage Movement. As the mother of 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters, her hope is that these events and monuments will inspire and encourage future generations.
Melissa Moore Murphy
LawyerMelissa Moore Murphy is a Senior Attorney in the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s (LFUCG) Law Department. At LFUCG, she advises and represents various departments and divisions, including the Department of Social Services, the Division of Grants and Special Programs, the Office of Affordable Housing and the Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. Prior to joining the LFUCG Law Department, Melissa spent 13 years as a criminal prosecutor, serving as an Assistant Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Assistant McCracken County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Assistant Fayette County Attorney and a Special Assistant United States’ Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Melissa graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History in the Honors Program with a minor in Vocal Music Performance in 1998. She received her Juris Doctor from the College of Law in 2001.
In addition to her support and service on the Breaking the Bronze Ceiling Steering Committee, Melissa serves on the Chrysalis House Board of Directors, the GreenHouse17 Board of Directors, and she is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
Melissa is married to Danny P. Murphy, Jr., a mom of 3 – Terrance, Makari, and Micah, and a grandmother to Trenton. Her hope is as a member of this Committee, this project will serve as a lasting legacy and commemoration of the important work and effort women have provided for our community.
Foster Ockerman, Jr.
Lawyer & HistorianA Lexington native and seventh-generation Kentuckian, Foster is a historian and practicing attorney. A graduate of the University of North Carolina (1974, American History) and the University of Kentucky College of Law (1977), he has represented or served on the boards of numerous nonprofits and foundations at the local, state and national levels. He is a founding trustee of the Lexington History Museum, Inc. He now serves the Museum as President and Chief Historian. He is also a former rock and roll disk jockey and currently a certified soccer referee.
Ockerman is the author of five works of history, including Historic Lexington, the most recent history of Lexington, Ky., an anthology of his poetry, The Ockerman Genealogical Project, as well as numerous opinion essays. His most recent book, The Hidden History of Horse Racing, was published by The History Press in March 2019. Two new histories are in the works. He was also Historian for the Emmy Award-winning documentary Belle Breezing.
Foster is married to Rev. Martina Y. Ockerman (United Methodist Church). They have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Junior League of Lexington
A Lexington native, Kelli Parmley graduated Georgetown College with a degree in Political Science and then a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky. Currently she manages the Lexington Public Library’s Outreach Services Department, which brings library materials and programs to those who may not be able to access the library in traditional ways. She facilitates several partnerships and serves as a liaison to the school district.
Kelli serves as the Chair of the Fayette County Schools Community Partners Leadership Team and is also Chair of the Community Action Council’s Head Start Policy Council. She has served on the board of the Junior League of Lexington for several years and was the League President in 2018. A 2006 graduate of Leadership Lexington and a 2007 graduate of Leadership Central Kentucky, Kelli is a regular volunteer at Dress for Success Lexington. Kelli is treasurer of the Breaking the Bronze Ceiling Steering Committee (BTBC) and says she enjoys working with such a dynamic and committed group, knowing that we are honoring the voices of the women who fought for our right to vote.
Kathryn Culligan Simon
A native of Ithaca, New York, Kathy has a B.A. in Government from St. Lawrence University and an M.S. degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from the State University of New York, Cortland. She taught high school social studies, history, and government courses in public schools in Upstate New York and independent schools in Southern California (1978 – 1992). Kathy was a founding faculty member of Vivian Webb School in Claremont, California and from 1982 – 1990 taught for Vivian Webb School and the Webb School of California where she also served as chair of the history department, dean of faculty, and academic dean.
From 1992 until her retirement in 2018 she was the director of study abroad at Transylvania University and also coordinated the Kenan Lecture Series and chaired Transylvania’s annual Women’s History Month committee.
Jenifer Wuorenmaa currently serves as a Senior Administrative Officer for Mayor Linda Gorton’s Administration at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. She writes administrative policies, assists with municipal budget preparation and prepares research for presentation before the Urban County Council. She served as the project manager for the Historic Fayette County Courthouse Rehabilitation Project.
Jenifer held a previous position at the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government as a member of the Council staff for the Urban County Council, where she staffed the Public Safety, General Government, and Planning and Public Works Committees. She also served as an intern at the United States Mission to the United Nations in the Research Department.
Jenifer holds a BA in Political Science and Public Affairs from Alma College and an MA in Diplomacy and International Trade Policy from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.
On Breaking the Bronze Ceiling: “I am so proud to support and participate in an initiative to bring a piece of artwork to Lexington that recognizes and honors the numerous contributions of women to our wonderful city.”
Isabel M. Yates
Former Vice Mayor, LFUCG
Isabel Yates is a native of South Carolina, but she has made Lexington, Kentucky, her home since 1963. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and an MA from Ohio State University and has taught English at the high school and college levels.
Her career in Lexington is most notable for her work as a tireless volunteer and elected public servant. Beginning in 1992, Yates represented the 4th District on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council for three terms and then served as Vice Mayor until 2002. In 2006, she was honored with the Martha Layne Collins Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Leading Kentucky.
Among the numerous projects with which Isabel Yates has been associated over the years are McConnell Springs; the Kentucky State Parks Foundation, Inc.; and the Friends of the Kentucky Theatre.