Five Questions with the Founder of Kentucky to the World - News, Weather & Sports

Five Questions with the Founder of Kentucky to the World

(Source: WAVE 3 News) (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Of course since we live here, we know the great state of Kentucky produces great people. But thanks to the vision of Shelly Zegart, we are learning about the wonderful contributions Kentuckians are making in the world, and how living in the Bluegrass State has impacted their life.

Kentucky to the World aims to enhance the state's image by showcasing outstanding men and women with Kentucky ties. They do this through a live-audience speaker series, profiles and video interviews on its website.

One of those outstanding women is style expert and author Elizabeth Mayhew. I hope you will consider joining me Aug. 23 when I will be sitting down on the stage with Elizabeth for an intimate conversation.

Elizabeth now lives in New York City but grew up in Louisville. She is the Brand Editor for Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line, Draper James. She is also a
contributing editor at NBC's Today Show and a monthly columnist for The Washington Post.

Her book Flip! For Decorating is filled with great ideas. Our conversation will take place at the Kentucky Center, Bomhard Theater on W. Main St. (Find a link for tickets below.)

Here are my Five Questions with the Founder of Kentucky to the World, Shelly Zegart.

1) How did you come up with the idea of Kentucky to the World?

Our daughter was speaking to the Pacific Council on Foreign Relations about five years ago. The first person to ask a questions afterwards was a world known international amnesty law professor (Atherton '69). He stood up and said "Amy Zegart, I grew up a block from your grandfather's drugstore at 7th and Oak." It was the Kentucky connection that mattered to him in that room of Nobel Prize winners and well known academics. It got me thinking! That and another similar happening made me ponder how we can bring these people and their accomplishments to peoples' attention. So that they will begin to feel proud of Kentucky academically, as well as for the usual things we are proud of.

2) From listening to the speakers so far, is there one common trait they have picked up from Kentucky?

It's their pride (as they have matured) in having deep roots here and the lessons learned from growing up somewhere more intimate and caring. It gave all of them a sense of confidence that many of their counterparts in the east lack.

3) Why is Kentucky to the World important to our state?

There are many efforts to raise the profile of Kentucky and to promote our food, bourbon, etc. But we are the only non-profit telling one story at a time with the goal of elevating the intellectual reputation of Kentucky. We are a catalyst for igniting change and inspiring all people - no matter their age, geography or circumstance.

4) Is there one guest that surprised you more than the others?

I would say that one exchange surprised me more than the others and that was between former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Wendy Whelan, and Emily Bingham. They had spoken once on the phone, had never met till that night and their conversation was magical. I paired them because they both were around 50, dearly loved Kentucky, had found their own voices, were in charge of who they are and they "clicked" to say the least.

5) How has your organization grown?

Since late 2013 when we had a program for 20 at the tiny Dreamland theater featuring Devin Emke, the post production sound engineer at Saturday Night Live... until Mar. 2017 when we had 500 people at the Kentucky Center for Perry Bacon, the Chief Political correspondent at ESPN's 538, in a conversation with Congressman Yarmuth. John has known Perry since he was in high school. Since the time when John interviewed Perry for his only Ivy League school application (Yale), through today, they have maintained a great friendship and working relationship. Their conversation reflected that.

To learn more Shelly's non-profit, and find tickets for my conversation with Elizabeth Mayhew, go to

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