Tag Archives: Business

Business 101

Michelle Konkle, CFP® Financial Consultant with a Local Financial Strategies Firm

What motivates you?

The first thing that comes to my mind is my daughter. I am motivated to create the best life possible for her. In doing that, I am thankful for my career which has allowed me to have flexibility and a work life balance. These things motivate me to create a bond with clients which allows me to be able to participate emotionally in their financial victories.

What is the biggest professional risk you’ve taken?

Simple stated, being a woman in a predominantly male industry. Whether we want to believe or accept the reality, there are very few women in a financial advisor or C suite position within an organization; yet more times than not we end up in charge our family’s financial well-being. I am thankful to be on a team that values the different way of thinking which I bring to the table. They have given me the opportunity to face my fears and overcome the obstacles that I had put in my own way.

What is most rewarding about what you do for a living?

The biggest reward in my line of work is helping individuals to create and achieve financial freedom. I love being able to see the smile on their face after several conversations and assurances that their hard work has paid off and their financial goal has been met. This of course means different things to different people – it could be paying off student loans, buying your first home, or being able to retire years earlier than you had ever imagined!

The Business Issue Q and A

Extol_29_Final images_Page_029_Image_0002ANDREW PRESTON

Preston Arts Center

222 6th St.


3048 Bardstown Road




What motivates you? While there is no single motivation, the greatest I have is sharing. I see sharing as a great spark for contact with others, for the exchange of ideas, for showing that we care for each other and want what’s best. Art (whatever that means to you) is a remarkable field with many benefits, personal, emotional, mental, social, etc. To share something so good, productive, and thoughtful with others brings something positive and hopeful to the table.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest professional risk I’ve taken is opening the Jeffersonville Preston Arts Center. It’s no secret that owning a small business has always been difficult, but doing it in a century when consumers have a world of choices and a portal to those choices in their pocket, it presents a whole list of challenges to meet and overcome. When we visited what would become known as NoCo Arts and Cultural District in Jeffersonville in Aug of 2018, we saw an opportunity in its early stages and knew that nothing ventured means nothing gained. The support and kindness of the people of Jeffersonville has been exceptionally encouraging, and we can’t wait to see more and more folks stopping in, taking classes and participating in our events.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of what I do for a living is seeing someone I’ve assisted in the store take a project somewhere they couldn’t have before due to limits in understanding of materials and technique, or even a lack of belief in themselves. Bonus points for when one of our staff takes the initiative and helps the customer achieve this on their own. This pertains to both our classrooms and our salesfloor, which is essentially a big open classroom space depending on how you think about it.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_029_Image_0001DEREK INGERSOLL

Pacers and Racers

3602 Northgate Court

New Albany



What motivates you? Having a store environment that both the customers and employees enjoy being at. Over the years, so many retailers have abandoned the charm and service in favor of being profit driven. As a small business, it’s been great to be able to focus on our community and stay true to what has made us successful – which is service. It’s not hard to be kind to people and treat everyone like family.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? I fell into my role here at Pacers and Racers, so I am fortunate to not have much risk now, but I have done a wide variety of things over the years. I was a working musician for a good while, so all of that was risky in a sense there was such a large part of your career that was out of your hands, no matter how much effort you put into it. I feel I have been pretty lucky in the risk department.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? It would have to be helping others. Everyone is unique, so you not only get to meet all types of great people, but you get to help their feet out while doing it. Finding the right pair of shoes requires us to ask questions about what they do in those shoes. Not a week goes by that I am not amazed by the life of one of our customers. Everyone is on their own journey, and I am so thankful that folks wear our shoes for that journey.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_040_Image_0001BENJAMIN BYRN

DADA Boutique

219 Pearl St.

New Albany



What motivates you? I get incredibly motivated when given the opportunity to guide, mentor and develop the talents of others. I really enjoy training our new hires, helping them discover their passions and talents, and creating and environment for them to further cultivate that passion and skill set.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Choosing to open a brick and mortar store versus staying online and selling through pop-up shops was the definitely the largest professional and financial risk I’ve ever taken.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? One of my favorite things is meeting with a client for the first time whose confidence has deflated due to weight gain, aging or other body changes, and watching that confidence be completely restored through the guidance of one of our stylists or myself. Positively impacting others is difficult when you don’t feel great about yourself. Knowing that we are causing a positive ripple effect by helping others feel great about themselves is very rewarding.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_041_Image_0003MORGAN COOMER

Sweets By Morgan

533 Spring St.




What motivates you? Being able to make something different and meeting new people are what motivate me each day. I love being able to create new desserts and design different cakes for customers. I would get bored if I did the same thing day after day, and I’m lucky to be able to have freedom to create.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? My biggest professional risk I have taken is to open a brick and mortar store. We will be celebrating five years at our location in October, so I’m thankful the risk has worked out thus far.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? I think the most rewarding thing about what I do for a living is being able to make beautiful and tasty sweets for customers events and parties. It’s so awesome getting to do what you love every day. We have the best customers ever, and I’m so thankful for all of them.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_042_Image_0001ROSS WALLACE

HIM Gentlemen’s Boutique

40314 Pearl St.

New Albany

2352 Frankfort Ave.




What motivates you? One of my biggest motivators is my passion for helping people feel great. At Him, I have created my dream shopping experience for guys that gives them confidence in their own style.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? My biggest professional risk was leaving my corporate job and putting everything I had into starting Him Gentleman’s Boutique.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing is all the support I have received from the community. It’s led me to build so many relationships with incredible people.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_043_Image_0001LAURA APPLEGATE


234 Pearl St.

New Albany

562 South 4th St.




What motivates you? I love when I hear the words, “This is the coolest shop.” This is verification that we must be doing something right. It is my biggest motivation to keep doing what we are doing.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk I have taken professionally was quitting my job in the corporate world and start working the store full time.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that we created a very successful, fun, quirky business that people love.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_054_Image_0001SARAH CHARMOLI

Effiji Breath

138 E. Spring St.



What motivates you? I have vision. I can see a way to affect people’s lives in the most powerful, potent and positive ways. I can see that the thing I’m doing has the potential to change the world; for people to heal themselves and be free. I can’t stop because the fire inside of me burns too hot.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? I can’t say it’s something that would be easy to see. But I think standing up for what I believe and holding tight to my point of view, even when I can feel the criticism, the judgment and the projection. It’s happening all the time. There’s a constant test to take. But there’s always someone knocking on my door saying I can’t do what I believe in – and I just keep going.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? When people’s lives change for the better. And when they change in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. It feels like a miracle. Every single time.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_055_Image_0001AMANDA MULVENE

Dress & Dwell

138 E. Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? The hunt. I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest. I love searching for what’s on trend at our Dress & Dwell fast fashion price point. I’m always on the hunt! From market to travel. I absolutely love market as well as sourcing and finding new brands when I travel. I am very interested in traveling and what else is going on in the fashion world that isn’t what I am most familiar with. I’m currently in France scouting boutiques and finding new brands as well as antique buying with my husband for his business and buying displays for Dress & Dwell.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? If you’re an entrepreneur you are definitely more of a risk taker because as a small business owner, you aren’t guaranteed anything. I’ve taken my fair share of risk over the eight years we’ve been in business, but I believe in steady growth that’s good for both Dress & Dwell and my family. Steady growth has helped us build a strong brand, which has its own difficulties. As you grow, you are challenged to learn new things that maybe isn’t your what you are accustomed to and familiar with and that within itself can be risky.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? It’s a two part answer: It’s wonderful to help women feel great through fashion and enjoy an experience that makes them feel joy. I also love mentoring my team, seeing them grow and the relationships that cultivate through our business.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_058_Image_0001BRENT BRAUN

J&B Magic Shop

129 East Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? At the end of the day, it’s just people: I’s about making people smile and making people have a better day. I was going through a divorce, unhappy and didn’t know what I was gonna do. I walked into a magic shop, and it changed my life. I walked out a happy man. I didn’t think about the divorce and losing friends and losing everything. For three or four days, all I thought about is “How the hell did that thing happen?” and I just want to give that moment to people.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Six years ago, I quit my big job, a sales job, to start the Magic Firm, which is a magic business consulting company. I dropped everything. I looked at my wife, Stephanie, and said I’m just not happy doing what I’m doing, I need to be doing something else, I need to be making art. We downsized the house, sold everything, eliminated all of our overhead and started living the dream so I could do what I loved to do. And then three months ago, we got a brick and mortar magic shop in New Albany where we are doing shows and theatre.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing I do is sharing moments with people. We actually had a customer come in this week, saw a magic trick, left, came back three minutes later crying, “I don’t understand what just happened. Thank you for that.” Part of having the magic shop is passing the torch forward. I get to see people my age bring their kids in and tell me the story of how they went into the magic shop in Jeffersonville 20 years ago. And hopefully these kids that come into my magic shop will remember the magic and that moment.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_058_Image_0002MICHELLE WELLS

Mariposa Consignments

222 Pearl St #102

New Albany



What motivates you? One of my favorite quotes is “Owning a business is like riding a lion. People think, “Wow, that’s really brave!” In the meantime you’re like, “How the hell did I get a lion, and how do I keep it from eating me!?” I get so wrapped up in the day to day stuff sometimes I forget to stop and be present in the moment.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk would be owning Mariposa Consignments. That was nearly eight years ago. There were many freak out moments in the middle of the night – still do sometimes. Downtown was just beginning, and the bridge had closed. It was sink or swim. I ate and breathed Mariposa. No one cares more about your business than YOU. Owning a business is a love/hate relationship.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding things are those moments when customers come in and tell us we made a difference. Sometimes, it’s us (Mariposa staff) and sometimes it’s our space. We help them find that special treat and become a part of their day. What has surprised me are the moments when a client says,”You know, when I was here last week, it was one of the worst days of my life. I came in here and you made me feel better.” I never expect that, and it humbles me every time. Our customers have become like family. We have been through births, deaths, proms, weddings, special occasions, health diagnoses, promotions and life changes.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_059_Image_0001TINA COOPER

RiverCity Workwear

4020 Earnings Way

New Albany



What motivates you? Enjoying my job motivates me. Having good workers around me doing their job motivates me.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Biggest risk was opening my own business. Most rewarding is opening my own business. There were and always will be struggles, but overall, I would have rather have taken the risk of opening my own business than looking back years later and wondering if I could have done it. I live with the risk of failure everyday, but it just keeps me moving forward and trying new ideas and taking more risk.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing to me is the accomplishment of taking nothing and building a financially successful business from the ground up.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_060_Image_0001NICOLE LENFERT SHARP

Balance Holistic Salon

1419 E Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? My motivation and inspiration stems from my creativity. I love being an artist. The beauty industry has allowed me to express my artistic side for 16 years now. As a business owner, I can finally put all of my ideas to life. Balance Holistic Salon is my work of art.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk I took was opening up my space in two weeks time – but I did it! Passing state board, ordering supplies, filing LLC, and promoting my new business with a logo, brand, etc. I probably didn’t need to go so big so fast, but that’s how I roll. I get an idea, and so it shall be done!

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing to me about being a hair designer is the experience we give our clients from the minute they walk into the door. They can finally relax. From the scalp massage to their finished look, we are making people feel good about themselves.

Business 101 – Fashion Up and Forward

From casual to kempt – and everything in between – here’s what’s hot this autumn.

Photography by Clay Cook

Styling: Miranda McDonald

Model: Alex Duke

Hair and Makeup: Anastasia Gerdes

Assistant: Emily Frye, Sean Reagan

Jumpsuit available at Dillard’s; Express blouse from stylist’s personal collection.

Jumpsuit available at Dillard’s; Express blouse from stylist’s personal collection.

Blue suit available at Dillard’s; blouse and metallic shoes available at Stella’s Resale.

Blue suit available at Dillard’s; blouse and metallic shoes available at Stella’s Resale.

Coat, t-shirt and jeans all available at Dillard’s.

Coat, t-shirt and jeans all available at Dillard’s.

Yellow lace dress available at Dillard’s

Yellow lace dress available at Dillard’s

Regional Pitch Competition – Fueled by Elevate Ventures and 1804

Thursday, June 13, 2019


The Root
110 East Market Street
New Albany, IN 47150




Business 101 | Jim Epperson

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-53-46-amJim Epperson

Executive Director

SoIN Tourism


“A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Indiana Tourism Association – Government Affairs Co-Chair & Board of Directors; Destinations International – Advocacy Committee; One Southern Indiana, Board of Directors; IU Southeast Chancellor’s Medallion Committee; Rotary Club of New Albany – Community Toast Committee; Falls of the Ohio Foundation – Community Leadership Council.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

Southern Indiana has amazing potential, and we are seeing little bits of it achieved every day with new businesses, new residents and improvements to our quality of place. I often hold up northern Kentucky (Covington & Newport and the greater three-county area) as an example of potential realized and where we can be in the future. Their growth is not without mistakes from which we can learn.


Our growth needs to foster success for even more local, independent business that has rejuvenated our downtowns. The authenticity of local is vital to help us carve out our own niche within the collection of Louisville “neighborhoods.”


A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders. Our most transformative projects are going to be regional and will require that kind of cooperation.


Who or what motivates you?

In destination marketing, we work to bring visitors to town who spend money here. What they spend here supports jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors and beyond. That person who has a job in hospitality because of the people we bring to town is my motivation. Hospitality provides a path regardless of degree; our industry provides a second income on a flexible schedule for the household so that childcare is easier; almost all businesses in the sector are small and entrepreneurial; and our industry provides most peoples’ first jobs, training them for a career of contribution.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I am a proponent of ongoing professional development for me and our team. Attending conferences and workshops, sharing with colleagues from around the state or country, refreshes and refocuses us by getting us out of our daily routine. Time away allows us to think about how to bring that next cutting-edge idea back home and put it to work.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Knowing that I can retreat to important things like faith and family combined with a network of incredible colleagues who have been there, done that, gets me through the rough patches.


What are you most proud of professionally?

Having been able to explore my profession in different places but ending up back in my hometown and being able to contribute to our common success.

Business 101 | John E. Jones


John E. Jones


John Jones Automotive Group, John Jones Police Pursuit Vehicles


“I push myself every day to be better than the day before.”


Boards, volunteer or community work: 

Board Member Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority, Reserve Officer with local County Sheriff’s Departments.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years? 

I would like to see all the local Municipalities working together towards the one goal of making our region a more desirable area where our young people would want to live and work. To reach this goal, we have to have a trained and motivated work force working with this goal in mind. I would like to see more small community parks and recreation areas in Southern Indiana; places where families can go and enjoy their time together.

Also, I think people would be amazed at the number of residents who do not have access to broadband internet service; that is very important for every resident to have access.


Who or what motivates you? 

My family, my employees and my business. In order for them to be successful, I push myself every day to be better than the day before. I want to see everyone do well for themselves, and if they succeed then I have succeeded.


What habits/routines have helped with your success? 

Staying highly organized every day. I try to answer every single email, phone call and clear my desk before I go home each night – even if that means going home for dinner and then coming back into the office later. I want to be ready for whatever challenge I might have the next day. Little issues tend to always become bigger issues. It’s always easier to solve small problems instead of larger ones that are out of control.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?  

The responsibility of running my business.


What are you most proud of professionally? 

The growth of my business over 35 years. I started with 15 employees selling about 20 vehicles a month in one location. Now, John Jones Automotive Group has over 200 employees, six locations in Southern Indiana and averages 400 sold vehicles per month. We are always growing, and that is definitely something I’m proud of.

Business 101 | Wendy Dant Chesser

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-53-16-amWendy Dant Chesser

President & CEO

One Southern Indiana


“I am so fortunate that I get to work toward this passion every day.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Part of my job is to represent our business community on various boards and commissions, including: Louisville Zoo Foundation Board; Ivy Tech Regional Board of Trustees; Kentucky Derby Festival Board of Directors; Greater Louisville, Inc. Board of Directors; Indiana Economic Development Association (Chair); Indiana Metro Chambers Group; Kentucky-Indiana Exchange Board of Directors/Managing Partner; Falls of the Ohio Foundation Board; Louisville Regional Airlift Development Board of Directors; Align Southern Indiana Board of Directors; 55,000 Degrees Board of Directors.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

We measure economic growth not only through job creation, but also tax base investment and increased consumer spending. A big emphasis during recent years is on our workforce development needs. We support increasing average wages in our area because we cannot build vibrant communities on low-wage jobs.  However, workers have to be skilled for higher wage positions, which is why you see much of our focus on increasing business/education partnerships to lead to higher wages. So, by 2028, I would like to see wages in our counties surpass the average wage for Indiana’s state average.


Who or what motivates you?

Good energy and fresh ideas. I love to be surround with positive people who have can-do attitudes. They give me energy.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I do my best to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. I feel better and think more clearly when I do.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

In community and economic development work, there are high times and low times – it is the nature of local economies to ebb and flow. Remembering this not only motivates me to celebrate the accomplishments, but also instills the perseverance to work harder when times are bad.


What are you most proud of professionally?

My passion is to create opportunities for people who call Southern Indiana home. I am so fortunate that I get to work toward this passion every day.

Dress for Your Success

Photography by Gretchen Bell

Creative Direction & Styling by Miranda McDonald

Surely, clothes don’t make the man or woman – or do they? A number of recent studies have found donning more formal work attire can lead to increased productivity, heightened attention of how you treat others and more favorable first impressions. The findings only pertain to certain industries – and there’s no denying the benefits of comfort and functionality in apparel – but one thing is clear: You can dress for success and have a bit of fun, too.

Photographer: Gretchen Bell • hernameisgretchen.com

Creative Director and Stylist: Miranda McDonald • TheChicStreet.com

Models: Justin Sinkler and Jessica Malloy

Hair and Makeup: Strandz Salon & Threadz Boutique, 322 Vincennes St. in New Albany • 812.945.5480 • strandzandthreadz.com



Mariposa Consignments, 222 Pearl St. #102 in New Albany • 812.725.8508 • @MariposaConsignments on Facebook


HIM Gentleman’s Boutique, 314 Pearl St. in New Albany • 812.595.7752 • himgb.com


Sapphire on Spring, 326 Spring St. in Jeffersonville • 812.920.0017 • sapphireboutique.com


House of K, 137 E. Market St. in New Albany • 502.640.0049 • @houseofkboutique on Facebook


Dillard’s • Green Tree Mall, 757 E. Lewis and Clark Pkwy in Clarksville • Mall St Matthews, 5000 Shelbyville Road in Louisville • dillards.com



Culbertson Mansion, 914 E. Main St. in New Albany • 812.944.9600 • culbertsonmansionshs@indianamuseum.org


Downtown New Albany • cityofnewalbany.com • developna.org


Bella Roma Italiana Cuisine, 134 E. Market St. in New Albany • 812.725.9495


Double Barrel, 147 E. Main St. in New Albany • @doublebarrel2018 on Facebook

Look 1:

Model Jessica Malloy: Vintage Polka Dot Skirt, $14.98, J.Crew Sweater, $14.99, and Button-down, $8.99, from Mariposa Consignments. Model Justin Sinkler: Stetson Hat, $78; Stitch Note Knit, $59; The Tie Bar Socks, $10; and Paisley & Gray Coat, $180, all from HIM Gentleman’s Boutique. Location: Culbertson Mansion.


Look 2:

Jessica: Vintage Hat, $12.99, and Red Clutch, $14.99, from Mariposa Consignments; Tweed Dress, $85, and Bangles Bracelets, $40, from Sapphire on Spring. Location: Bella Roma Italiana Cuisine.





Look 3:

Jessica: Halston Dress, $48, and Cece Sweater, $79, from Dillard’s; Patent Handbag from Sapphire on Spring, $65; Vintage Tweed Coat, $24.99, from Mariposa Consignments. Location: Downtown New Albany.screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-43-20-am

Look 4:

Jessica: The Limited Suit, $24.99, and Vintage Headpiece (not for sale), from Mariposa Consignments; and Calvin Klein Blouse, $69.50 from Dillard’s. Justin: Stetson Hat, $78; Mizzen + Main Button-Down, $145; Paisley & Gray Coat, $180; TH Flex Pants, $79; and The Tie Bar Tie, $19, all from HIM Gentleman’s Boutique. Location: Downtown New Albany.screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-43-27-amscreen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-49-00-am

Look 5:

Jessica: Puff Sleeve Blouse, $44, Tuxedo Pants, $77, and Velvet and Jewel Clutch, $65, all from Sapphire on Spring $65; Necklace, $88, and Bracelet, $32, from House of K. Justin: Paisley & Grey Suit Pants, $90; Coat, $180; Mizzen + Main Shirt, $145; The Tie Bar Tie, $20; and Daniel Wellington Watch, $229, all from HIM Gentleman’s Boutique. Location: Double Barrel.screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-49-18-am


Ensuring Survival

University of Louisville Family Business Center supports generations of businesses

By Remy Sisk

Photos by Christian Watson

Family Business Center Board Chair Bob Koetter

Family Business Center
Board Chair Bob Koetter

“There’s a sense of comfort in talking to someone else in a family business who understands some of the dynamics. There’s a feeling of, ‘Oh, I’m not the only one who has these issues.’” – University of Louisville Family Business Center Board Chair Bob Koetter Jr.


The classic idiom “mom and pop shop” refers not only to the charming and familiar nature of a businesses but also the idea that its operators are somehow related. The family business can be one of the finest institutions of an economy – members of the same family harnessing synergy and working together toward a common goal. However, the passion and emotion that is inherent in the very definition of a family can sometimes hinder the success of that business or worse by creating a divide between family members. The University of Louisville Family Business Center helps prevent family businesses from stepping into the pitfalls that are all too common by offering an unparalleled myriad of resources so that they thrive with constant vivacity for generations to come.


“The role of the Family Business Center and how it can help this community is basically keeping these businesses in the community,” said Family Business Center Board Chair Bob Koetter Jr. “That’s important because statistically, only 13 percent of family businesses survive and make it to the third generation. … What the Family Business Center does is provide those tools to teach and prepare and make sure family businesses can survive throughout many generations.”


Some of the resources provided by the Family Business Center include education forums, individual business assessment and frequent, active networking. According to members, the greatest asset, however, is the roundtable option the center offers. “We go by adult learning theories that adults retain and learn information more in a peer-to-peer setting,” explained Interim Director Brittany Boone. “We have quite a few services, but our most valued service is the roundtable. We have four categories of roundtables, and they’re really peer-to-peer support groups.


“It’s a lot of similar people sitting around the table discussing things that are either going on in their family or their businesses. And either someone is experiencing what they’re experiencing at the same time, or they’ve already experienced it and they’re able to give advice.”


The four categories of these roundtables are CEOs, next generation, women and non-family executives, all of which are highly specialized groups that help foster robust development in many areas of family businesses.


The roundtables offer mentorship and education that professionals cannot find elsewhere. “There’s a sense of comfort in talking to someone else in a family business who understands maybe what some of those dynamics are that they’re dealing with,” Koetter said. “There’s a feeling of, ‘Oh, I’m not the only one who has these issues.’”


It’s not hard to become a member of the Family Business Center. There’s a simple online application to fill out and submit. Once a member is approved, they simply pay their dues, which are different for businesses of different sizes, and are then able to begin taking full advantage of the center’s resources.


Currently, most members are second generation, but Boone said the more than 100 members are made up of everything from first generation business owners to eighth generation, which means those who have been around for multiple generations are able to impart wisdom to some of the younger businesses.


“Businesses that are in later generational ownership, they kind of become advisors to the other family business owners,” Boone explained. “It’s almost like a nurturing sort of characteristic they take on in that they really do take pride in being able to help the earlier family businesses.”


And the success is evident. Although Boone admits it can be somewhat difficult to specifically measure the triumphs of the center, the very survival of these business may be testament enough, which is extremely important for the vitality of the community.


The members collectively employ over 13,000 individuals and generate almost $8 billion annually, said Koetter, who is a prime example of the efficacy of the Family Business Center. His company, Koetter Construction, is one of the region’s most renowned family businesses, and what the center has given Koetter has led to him now wanting to be a resource himself.


“They’ve helped me, so this is an opportunity for me to give back and hopefully help someone else,” he said.


As one of only about 60 family business centers in the U.S., the University of Louisville Family Business Center provides extraordinary resources for businesses but also, perhaps more importantly, families.


“I’m very proud because I have an opportunity to help family businesses to survive and also for the families themselves to be able to peacefully have holiday dinners together and spend time together,” Koetter said. “I see families that get torn apart and can’t even go to Thanksgiving dinner together, and it’s just so disappointing to see that the business has torn them apart.”

Family Business Center Interim Director Brittany Boone

Family Business Center Interim Director Brittany Boone

Boone agrees: “They always say never mix business with emotion, but you can’t do that when you’re working with your family,” she said. “There’s always going to be those emotions there, but at the same time, it’s so rewarding because the families are able to build wealth, build a legacy and we want to make sure that they are able to maintain that.”


Looking ahead, the Family Business Center is considering incorporating more education into its pool of resources but will regardless continue ensuring the community is aware of the singular opportunity of being involved. “We’re always told that we’re the best kept secret in Louisville, and we don’t want to be a secret necessarily anymore,” Boone said. “We just want to make sure we’re impacting as many people as we can.”


Family Business Center

College of Business

University of Louisville





Business 101

Local leaders share secrets to success, advice and goals for our region

Photos by Christian Watson, Tony Bennett & Danny Alexander

This is an exciting time for Southern Indiana, a region that is filled with business professionals striving to make our community better in myriad ways, from economic development and job creation to philanthropic endeavors that assist those of us who need it most. For this, Extol’s inaugural Business Issue, we asked local industry leaders and business owners to share their insight, advice, accolades, secrets to success and their hopes for our collective future.

Wendy Dant Chesser

John E. Jones

Jim Epperson

Brent Rogers

Dana Huber

Alan Muncy

Linda Speed

Scott Neumann

Stefanie Griffith

Eileen Yanoviak, Ph.D

Cheryl “Cricket” Koetter

Case Belcher