Celebrating Women’s History Month in #downtownlex

There are so many incredible women that have made and continue to make a lasting impact on Downtown Lexington. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we want to recognize and honor a few of the women who are currently making a positive impact on #downtownlex.

Jennifer Taylor – Downtown Lexington Partnership Board Chair

Jennifer is a member of FORVIS’ National Advisory Services specializing in IT Risk & Compliance. She leverages more than 19 years of experience in financial institution management. Before joining FORVIS, Jennifer was most recently a community bank president following her time as a chief information officer and a bank examiner.

At FORVIS, she primarily focuses on performing IT general control assessments, cybersecurity risk assessments, and other cybersecurity-related consulting services to help clients identify and reduce security risks to their most critical data and systems. Many of her clients are financial institutions, non-profits, and start-up companies.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month to me is an opportunity to reflect and recognize the progress and impression women have made to make the world a better place for all. It was through perseverance and determination that so many were able to not only face adversity but overcome it. It is a time to celebrate those women and also to empower the women of future generations.

Is there a woman from history that you find particularly inspiring?

I always found Betty White’s unwavering ability to make people laugh so inspiring. She was one of those that could light up a room with her mere presence and her smile was infectious. In addition to her wit and charm, she was determined and wasn’t afraid to blaze her own trail. I know she broke a lot of barriers in the TV industry and did so with such grace. She may have not been a famous inventor or writer, but the way she made people feel and the impression she had on so many is lasting.

What can leaders do to empower the next generation of women leaders? 

Many assume that to be a leader it must be [linked] to a title or fame, but to be a leader is to set an example and to influence or empower others. As a leader, one has the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of those around them despite gender, age or background. The leaders of today have the power to pave the way for generations to come and it is critical that women are not only a consideration but are encouraged to be driving forces of such.

Laura Farnsworth – Director, Development & Events at Downtown Lexington Partnership

What do you do in your current role and how did you get there?

I’ve done a little bit of everything at DLP over the last 15 years. My current role is Director of Development & Events, which translates into securing sponsorships and producing events including Central Bank Thursday Night Live, Mayfest Arts Fair and many others. I’ve been involved in event production my entire career, and such a great space to be creative, engage in community relationships, and have fun in the process!

Women’s History Month is a time to purposefully reflect on those individuals who worked tirelessly to create a world where future generations can thrive. It’s also a time to highlight the successes of women in today’s world, as well as acknowledge the fight for equality that remains.

I am inspired by the force of nature that is Ms. Dolly Parton! She is all at once legendary, humble, generous, and an icon for women. Also…Islands in the Stream is one of my karaoke go-to’s!

We must listen and learn from the next generations of leaders. Together we will continue to move the rights of all humans forward, but it will take a dedicated effort and teamwork to accomplish this. If we can work hard and play hard together, we can ensure that the best is truly yet to come.








Erin Goins – Owner and Tour Guide at Bites of the Bluegrass

What do you do in your current role and how did you get there?

I went on a food tour in Montreal about eight years ago and it was great!  I heard so many interesting stories, went to restaurants I never would’ve found, and had a great guide who helped create a very fond memory of the city and its culture.  Since then, my family has gone on dozens of food tours as we’ve traveled, booking at the beginning of our trips so that we REALLY know what to do and where to eat.  When I realized Lexington didn’t have its own walking food tour, I started Bites of the Bluegrass to shine a light on our special city and its tremendous food scene!  We have so much interesting, diverse history living within our beautiful downtown streets and it makes for a wonderful afternoon dinner party to share these stories over great food with new friends.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month means creating space to recognize achievements, highlight women’s issues, and continue conversations about equality. I especially love hearing stories of Lexington lady trailblazers like Madeline McDowell Breckenridge, Charlotte Dupuy, the women of the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, Laura Clay, the Women’s Collective, and Ella Bishop.  I believe it’s incredibly important to keep these, and other, stories alive as inspiration in moving toward equal treatment.

Is there a woman from history that you find particularly inspiring?

I’m particularly inspired by Sweet Evening Breeze, one of the first openly transgender women in the nation.  By the 1930s, Sweet Evening Breeze was walking up and down these streets as her own civil rights wrecking ball, refusing to be anyone but herself.  She was known for her kindness and charisma and helped originate Lexington’s drag scene.  She once found herself in front of a judge for violating an old town law that forbade cross-dressing unless it was Halloween.  She convinced the judge it was unconstitutional and the law was taken off the books.  Sweet Evening Breeze continues to brighten our city with a beautiful mural of her image near Gratz Park.

What can leaders do to empower the next generation of women leaders?

Leaders need to continue looking for ways to place women in leadership roles and balance the pay scale.  They also need to speak up on women’s issues, like bodily autonomy and choice, and take a stand for women’s rights versus “not getting political”.  After all, women’s rights are human rights.


Thank you to Jennifer, Laura, and Erin for taking the time to answer our questions, and thank you to all of the women in the Downtown Lexington community who continue to make it a better place for us to Live, Work, and Play.

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