You have to earn Influence by being honest and having good character. People with power know that others will look up to them as an example to follow.
They are honest and trustworthy in everything they do and say. The most famous people in Kentucky know that their reputation is the key to their ability to influence and lead.
By being trustworthy and honest in everything they do, they convince others to follow ideas and help them reach set goals.
This article breaks down most of the most influential people in Kentucky. You will see their images, social media handles, and what we love most about them. Let’s get started!
Top 20 most Influential people in Kentucky
#1. Jo Adell
Jo Adell ranks as number one on our list of most famous people in Kentucky. The 2017 Ballard High School graduate should be ready to play in the major leagues with the Los Angeles Angels in 2020 after three years in the minor leagues.
Adell, who is 20 years old, may start the season at Triple-A Salt Lake, but Angels fans are already dreaming of the day Adell, the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, will play in the outfield with Mike Trout.
Adell got picked up by the Angels in the first round of the 2017 draft. He needs to start producing in the big leagues as soon as possible.
Since he became a pro, he’s had some injuries, but in 76 minor league games in 2019, he hit.289 with ten home runs, 36 RBIs, seven stolen bases, and an OPS of.834.
He has some of the loudest tools in the game, as well as the skill and work ethic he needs to use that talent in the major leagues.
Adell is one of the young baseball players to watch in 2020. He should make his debut in the major leagues with the Angels, where he will bring a big bat, a lot of power, and good defensive skills.
He is the best prospect in the game who could play the outfield well with Mike Trout, the best player in baseball.”
#2. Neeli Bendapudi
As the president of U of L, Bendapudi is in charge of the school’s academic and research missions and its growing healthcare business.
She hasn’t been afraid to make big decisions with big risks, like buying the struggling Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health facilities in 2019 with the support of U of L’s trustees.
This was a risky move, but it paid off. She is still focused on making the university do more to help its students succeed.
She wants to help students with mental health problems and give more money to students from poorer backgrounds. Bendapudi doesn’t think things will get better overnight.
However, she is determined to help the old hospital keep giving patients the care they need for the long term. Neeli is one of the most influential people in Kentucky
#3. Governor Andy Beshear
Last year, Andy Beshear beat Republican Matt Bevin by about 5,100 votes. This is one of the biggest wins for Democrats across the country.
He ran a disciplined campaign that didn’t pay much attention to how popular President Donald Trump was in the state. Instead, he focused on issues like health care and public education that were important to Kentuckians’ wallets.
Beshear’s first job will be to make a tight budget that balances campaign promises. This includes a costly pay raise for teachers, with the need to avoid deep cuts.
The governor will also have to figure out how to pay for state pensions. He thinks the best way to do this is to allow more gambling.
He intends to put more money into education, health care, and pensions. He believes in making sports betting, casinos, and fantasy sports legal and ready for online poker.
Kentucky can then use these things to pay for our public pension system, giving us more money to invest in other things. For many reasons, he is one of the most famous people in Kentucky.
#4. Daniel Cameron
Daniel Cameron, a Republican, beat Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, and made history by becoming Kentucky’s first black attorney general.
He is becoming a rising star in the GOP and getting attention from Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is already talked about as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2026.
Mr. Cameron is now the leader of the GOP in Kentucky, and his future looks good. He is one of the most charismatic and down-to-earth politicians out there. The Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in August 2020 is sure to give him a prime-time speaking slot
Cameron says, “As the chief law enforcement officer for the commonwealth, it’s my job to speak up for those who can’t fight for our law enforcement community and serve Kentuckians every day.” He is one of the most influential people in Kentucky
#5. Kevin Cogan
Cogan, in charge of the One Park project, has been trying for years to get his mixed-use development worth more than $200 million built on a 3.5-acre triangle near Cherokee Park.
In December, the Louisville Metro Council said yes to a request to rezone the area for development. This was a big step forward for his team’s plans.
Supporters of the project say it will improve an ugly piece of land between Lexington Road, Grinstead Drive, and Etley Avenue and make Louisville more competitive with cities like Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas. Kevin is one of the most famous people in Kentucky.
He has met the goals set by the planning commission and the Metro Council, Cogan, and his team will start what he calls the “sophisticated” design of the project. They will move from renderings and rough ideas to detailed drawings.
That will allow the team to improve its engineering and price the project correctly. He thinks a timeline for building and breaking ground will be announced in late 2020 or early 2021.
#6. Mallory Coerford
Mallory Coerford is one of the most influential people in Kentucky. Comerford is a member of the USA Swimming National Team and has won four NCAA gold medals.
She has more awards than any other Louisville athlete. She graduated in December, the end of a fantastic academic and athletic college career.
Comerford has won nine ACC titles and became the ACC Swimmer of the Year three times. On the world stage, she was part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team that set an American record and broke three American records at the 2018 Short Course World Championships.
She was also part of two relay teams that set world records. She won two silver and two gold medals at the 2019 FINA World Championships. She also set a world record in the mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
#7. Kelly Crafts
Kelly Crafts is one of the most famous people in Kentucky She works for the UN as an ambassador. The ambassador is from Lexington and got married to a coal magnate.
However, she has promised to “fight for all countries to do their part to address climate change.” The 57-year-old man has been to the U.N. before.
She was a substitute delegate for President George W. Bush in 2007. Craft was also President Trump’s ambassador to Canada until she became confirmed as U.N. ambassador in September.
Craft helped get a new free trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in that job. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to the deal, called the USMCA.
Kelly has a unique ability to find things in common with everyone she meets and connect with them. She is a good negotiator, as shown by how well she worked to make the USMCA trade agreement happen. She sticks to her values and is always polite.
#8. Dr. Melissa Currie
As head of the University of Louisville’s Division of Forensic Pediatrics, Dr. Currie is in charge of some of the most severe and complicated suspected child abuse cases in the state.
Her division does complete forensic evaluations of cases. Social workers use them to decide whether to take children away from their homes.
She was one of the first people to join the state’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel. It was set up in 2012 to investigate cases where a child dies or is seriously hurt because of suspected abuse or neglect.
Currie was the first board-certified pediatrician in Kentucky who worked with children who went through any form of abuse. She serves as a source of hope to many and is one of the most influential people in Kentucky
#9. Cathe Dykstra
As the Family Scholar House’s chief possibility officer, Dykstra helps families break out of the cycle of poverty through education and other services.
The five Family Scholar House campuses give single parents a stable place to live and care for their children while they go to college.
Outside of the residential program, families can use a variety of services. These could be academic and career coaching, life skills training, and job shadowing.
Dykstra says that 2020 may be the first time more than 100 scholars get their degrees in the same year. It changed things for more than 100 families.
Dykstra says that Family Scholar House will also expand its regional and country reach. She has slowly become one of the most famous people in Kentucky.
#10. Matt Gibson
Gibson will be the CEO and president of the Kentucky Derby Festival in 2020. He is one of the most influential people in Kentucky. Mike Berry was in charge of the festival for 22 years before Gibson took over.
In his new job, Gibson oversees more than 70 community events. Thunder Over Louisville, one of the country’s biggest air and fireworks shows, is the first one he is in charge of. In 1997, he started working there as an event manager.
He quickly moved up the ranks, becoming the director of operations and then the vice president of events before joining the Senior Leadership Team. In October 2019, he became CEO.
With Gibson in charge, the Kentucky Derby Festival will start a new era in 2020. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the group’s leader has changed. Gibson has been in charge of the festival’s events and operations since 2003.
He already knows everything there is to know about the events, but he wants to learn even more. In 2020, he will have a large-scale perception study done, and the results will help shape the KDF of the future.
Gibson has a lot of great ideas for the festival in 2020 and beyond. He wants to keep breaking down barriers in the community, which is one of his most important goals.
#11. Chris Hartmann
Chris Hartman has been in charge of the Fairness Campaign for 11 years. During that time, the number of cities in Kentucky with anti-discrimination LGBTQ Fairness Ordinances has grown from 3 to 16.
These laws forbid discrimination against LGBTQ people in jobs, housing, and public places. They got into place in cities as big as Louisville and as small as Vicco in Appalachia. The main goal of Hartman and the Fairness Campaign is to make the whole state fair.
Hartman has set a goal for the state to have 20 fairness ordinances by the end of 2022. He hopes that bringing this kind of awareness to the local level will be the tipping point for LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws at the state level.
In 2022, there will also be elections, so Hartman and the campaign can back candidates who will support fairness laws in the capital. Chris is one of the most famous people in Kentucky
#12. Treva Hodges
Hodges will be the mayor of Charlestown, Indiana. He beat longtime Republican Bob Hall in the November election, and a December recount confirmed that he won. Hodges, who is 40 years old, is the first woman to run a city or town in Clark County as mayor.
The Democrat has promised to clear the city’s finances in southern Indiana. He has also pushed for restoring private property rights and holding town hall meetings to hear from residents. One more goal is to fix the city’s sewer problems.
Hodges has said she wants to give the city of about 8,000 people about 30 minutes north of Louisville a new spark. Hall is fighting her narrow victory in court, but Hodges will have a chance to move forward and make her campaign promises come true in the new year. Treva Hodges is one of the most influential people in Kentucky
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#13. Gladys Lopez
Gladys Lopez is one of the most famous people in Kentucky Lopez the vice president of Norton Healthcare and the chief human resources officer.
Since joining the company almost two years ago, Lopez has worked to ensure that diversity and inclusion get more attention inside and outside the company.
Lopez pushed the company to become a primary sponsor of the Louisville Pride Festival and to help Unity Jam. This gives back-to-school supplies to kids who don’t have much money.
Lopez is also on the boards of the Health Enterprises Network, the Fund for the Arts, and the Kentuckiana Hispanic Business Council Inc. Lopez has spent time getting to know people in Louisville.
In 2020, she wanted to put those connections to work. She wants to start two new employee resource groups at Norton to help Hispanic workers and people with different abilities. She is one of the most influential people in Kentucky
#14. Lara MacGregor
MacGregor started Hope Scarves, a non-profit group collecting scarves and cancer survivors’ stories. Lara gives them to people going through treatment to give them hope and support.
MacGregor was first told she had breast cancer in 2007, but it went away for almost seven years. In January 2014, she had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
MacGregor first started Hope Scarves in 2012. With the help of staff and many volunteers, the organization sends nearly 50 scarves worldwide every week.
In 2022, MacGregor plans to start her website, laramacgregor.com, where she will share her story of getting over cancer and living life.
MacGregor wants to tell stories on her blog, in her new podcast, and public throughout the year. She will show that there is always hope in the world, no matter how bad things are.
MacGregor wants to keep making connections by living fully in the present day. She became a source of hope and is one of the most famous people in Kentucky
#15. Sen. Mitch McConnell
McConnell is the senior senator from Kentucky and the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. He has worked his way up to become one of the most influential people in Washington. No surprise he comes in as one of the most influential people in Kentucky.
McConnell is in charge of the Senate and has led efforts to change the country’s judicial system. He has done this by blocking Democratic nominations made by the previous administration. McConnell sped up the nominations of current conservatives who share his views.
He is proud that people call him the “Grim Reaper” because he kills progressive bills from the House. McConnell doesn’t care about how unpopular he is in his home state.
Instead, he talks about his work to promote Kentucky’s hemp industry, send money to fight opioid addiction, and build Louisville’s long-awaited new VA hospital.
#16. J. Herbert Nelson II
Nelson was the first African American to be in charge of the Presbyterian church in the United States in its 300-year history. He is the third generation of pastors in his family.
Nelson has worked as a clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since he got elected in 2016. He has worked on climate change, gun violence, and homelessness.
Nelson’s job takes him all over the country and outside of it, but he also fights for causes in his hometown of Louisville. Nelson said that he is also working to modernize the denomination by meeting people where they are and moving to a needs-based, community-focused ministry.
This is essential and urgent work if the church wants to stay relevant. Herbert Nelson is one of the most famous people in Kentucky
#17. Antonio Pantoja
Pantoja, who is now 35, used to be homeless in Louisville. He is a well-known photographer, writer, and horror film director whose work has won over 200 awards.
The Hispanic-Italian artist often films in Louisville, bringing jobs and attention to the city and creating inspiring characters that go against stereotypes.
In June, more than 1,500 people went to the Louisville Palace to see the premiere of his movie “One Must Fall.” Pantoja is making two movies right now in Louisville. One of them is “Elena’s Guardian,” in which a monster fights bullies on behalf of a disabled girl.
He is working with “Where the Wild Things Are” character creator Sonny Gerasimowicz, an art director.
He also gives free photo and video workshops and has taken portraits of more than 300 artists whose pictures he gave away. He is one of the most influential people in Kentucky.
#18. Ryan Rogers
Rogers is a local chef and business owner who runs restaurants like Royals Hot Chicken, Feast BBQ, and bar Vetti. Rogers, who became an Eater Young Gun in 2015, has plans for Louisville’s restaurant scene in 2020.
This includes opening another Royals location and working on another project he won’t discuss yet. Rogers is a young chef who has only been in Louisville for a short time. He has been improving fast-casual food in the city by focusing on flavor and hospitality.
At the start of the year, Royals Hot Chicken will open a new location in Jeffersontown. Rogers likes to stay out of the spotlight, but the fact that his restaurants are popular means that one or more of them are likely to grow. He is one of the most famous people in Kentucky
#19. Senate President Robert Stivers
As the president of the state Senate, Stivers is in charge of his party’s 28-9 supermajority in the General Assembly’s upper chamber. The Democratic governor ran on a platform of legalizing casino gambling to get more money for public schools and raises for teachers.
However, Stivers said before and after the election that this wouldn’t happen in the Senate. Will Stivers, from Manchester, led Senate Republicans in a way that could lead to a legislative compromise with Beshear.
Later this month, Beshear’s administration will present a budget proposal that may include ideas for new tax revenue. Robert Stivers is one of the most famous people in Kentucky
#20. Tiffanie Wiley
As a child, Wiley got bullied a lot at school because she had vitiligo. This was a condition in which patches of skin lost their color. She found it hard to love herself.
Now that she is 31, the Louisville native has learned to love her skin and has become a motivational speaker focusing on helping young people and stopping bullying.
Her “I Am Great” movement reminds people of all ages that they will be great no matter what life throws at them.
Wiley is ready to step up her work after four years of organizing. She is working to make “I Am Great” a non-profit organization and getting ready to make her scholarship for young people bigger in its second year.
Wiley also wants to reach out to more young people and be more present in schools. All of this is on top of her full-time job as a civilian human resources specialist for the Army. She is one of the most influential people in Kentucky.
People know who celebrities are no matter where they go. This is a benefit because when random people recognize someone, it often gives them a massive boost of confidence. It can be an excellent chance to brag to a friend, “Wow, I’m so famous. Everyone knows who I am.”
Most of the Influential people in Kentucky who have been famous for a long time get over this initial boost to their egos quickly. They all come together to make the world a better place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most well-known people in the world were born or raised in the Bluegrass State. This includes explorers and pioneers like Daniel Boone, athletes like Muhammad Ali, movie stars like George Clooney, musicians like Loretta Lynn, and even some of America’s most influential politicians (Abraham Lincoln).
Abraham Lincoln was the first president born west of the Appalachians. He was the 16th president of the United States. On February 12, 1809, he was born in a log cabin at Sinking Springs Farm. At the time, that part of Kentucky was still a rough frontier.
Fort Harrod, now Harrodsburg, was built by James Harrod in 1774. It was the first permanent settlement in Kentucky. Boonesboro got founded in 1775.
Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, and Chris Stapleton.