Christina E. Bard

Community Education Director, HDI CATS, E3TC, HAMS, UK Human Development Institute

Christina Bard is the Community Education Director at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI). She is a certified rehabilitation counselor specializing in assistive technology. Christina has been with HDI since 2008, working across projects addressing housing, employment, accessibility and assistive technology.

Anne Brooks

Director, Assurance, PwC

Anne Brooks is a Director in PwC’s Assurance practice based in Kentucky with experience providing financial statement audit services and audits of internal control to both private and publicly held clients. She has more than 10 years of experience with PwC serving clients across a broad spectrum of industries including manufacturing, retail & consumer, marketing services, equine management, and not-for-profits. She earned both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Kentucky. She is a CPA licensed in Kentucky and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kentucky State Society of CPA’s. 

Colene Elridge

Owner, Be More Consulting

Success coach and author Colene Elridge works with people and organizations who are ready to thrive. She helps create change with simple and effective tools that create better leaders and better outcomes. She is also the organizer of EmpowHer Conference, a high-energy, interactive, and hands-on experience that talks about all the things “missing” from leadership development - such as communication, negotiation, networking, and more.

Colmon Elridge

Government Relations Director, Kentucky Education Association

Colmon, 37, served eight years as the Executive Assistant and Senior Advisor to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and helped transform Kentucky’s education, health access, and business climate after the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

Colmon is from Cynthiana Kentucky and is a graduate of Transylvania University (BA) and pursued both his MPA at Eastern Kentucky University and an MBA at Sullivan University and is currently a PhD. candidate in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands.

Never forgetting his own life story of poverty and the transformative power of the intersection of education and opportunity, Colmon operates with a continued sense of gratitude which has not only led him to success in public service but to be an active member in his community.

Deeply passionate about community responsibility, Colmon has served on the boards of his alma mater, Transylvania University, on the Vestry of his church, The Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, and is currently serving on the boards of God’s Pantry Food Bank, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and is the first African-American and person of color to serve as the President of the Lexington Philharmonic.

In 2014, Colmon was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, an award given to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Gerald Ford, as well as Elvis Presley. In 2015 he was named as one of the Twenty Outstanding Young Persons of the World by Junior Chamber International (JCI).

After two successful terms as Executive Vice President of the Young Democrats of America, Colmon was named one of four rising stars in politics by MSNBC.

Colmon, his wife Victoria, and their sons Colmon, Carter, and Camden live in Georgetown, KY.

Jason Jones

Disability Specialist, KentuckyWorks, SEADA, UK Human Development Institute
Jason Jones is a Disability Specialist with the UK Human Development Institute, an advocacy specialist and the project coordinator for Kentucky Works Partnerships in Employment as well as the Southeast ADA Affiliate for Kentucky. Advocacy for people with paralysis is very personal to Jason, who was a four-sport athlete in high school before an accident involving the high-jump resulted in his becoming a quadriplegic in 1990. In 2012, Jason co-founded the Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury (KCSCI) to gather individuals with SCI from around the Commonwealth to join in the discussion of critical quality of life issues that are important to everyone. Previously, he was appointed by then-Governor Steve Beshear as the Director of Community Relations for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. 

Sarah Madison

Director and Manager of Employer Relations, Graham Office of Career Management

Sarah Madison brings over 10 years of higher education experience to the Graham Office of Career Management. In her role, she helps employers connect with student talent and develop their hiring strategy. She also represents Gatton externally across the college and in the community. Prior to her appointment at Gatton, she was the Associate Director of Admissions and Career Services at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Before Kenan-Flagler, Sarah was an Associate Director with the Wake Forest University School of Business. She was an admissions counselor and recruiter for a number of graduate business school programs, including the MBA, Master of Accounting and Master of Management. 

Blane Ruschak

President, KPMG U.S. Foundation, Inc.

Blane Ruschak’s current role includes serving as the President of the KPMG U.S. Foundation, Inc.(Foundation) where he oversees the strategy and operations for the Foundation which includes the Matching Gift Program, Disaster Relief Fund, KPMG Family for Literacy Fund, the Foundation and the Women’s PGA/Future Leaders program. He also serves as the President of The PhD Project where he oversees the strategy and operations of The PhD Project which is a program designed to create more diverse business leaders by supporting diverse professionals to get their PhD in business and become role models in the classroom, academic administration and academic leadership positions. In his previous role as Executive Director of Campus Recruiting and University Relations, he served on the Professional Partner advisory group for Beta Alpha Psi after completing his three year presidency term, served on the Board of Directors of the Education Foundation for Women in Accounting, and served on the AICPA Pre-certification Executive Education Committee (PcEEC), the Accounting Program Leadership Group (APLG) Board of Directors, and the Board of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy (FSA). He lives in Charleston, South Carolina and works out of the Montvale, New Jersey National Office.

Blane began his career in the Audit department of KPMG’s Honolulu office where he serviced clients in the healthcare, nonprofit, real estate, agribusiness, and hospitality industries. From 1988 to 1989, he participated in a two-year rotational program in KPMG’s national training center in Montvale, New Jersey where he was responsible for the development and instruction of KPMG’s numerous assurance courses. Upon his return to the Honolulu office, Blane assumed the responsibility of primary recruiter for the office in addition to servicing his assurance clients in the hospital and hospitality industries. In 1994, Blane transferred to KPMG’s Long Beach office to assist with the Southern California Healthcare Assurance and Consulting practice. In 1997, Blane transferred to the Los Angeles office where he assumed the director of College Recruiting position for the Pacific Southwest Area, where he was responsible for the hiring of all entry-level Assurance and Tax department personnel. In 2000, Blane assumed the role of national director of Campus Recruiting as part of KPMG’s National Recruiting team in Montvale, New Jersey. In 2008, Blane assumed the role of executive director for Campus Recruiting and University Relations. Blane recently assumed the President position for the KPMG Foundation and The PhD Project.

Blane attended Rutgers College in New Jersey and graduated with a BS degree in Economics in 1980. He subsequently attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he received a master’s degree in Accounting in 1982.

Kathy Sheppard-Jones

Executive Director, UK Human Development Institute

As Executive Director of the Human Development Institute, Kathy is responsible for leading the institute in pursuit of their mission to improve the inclusion, independence, and contributions of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. She oversees their core funding as a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and works across projects around employment, health and wellness, home modifications, universal design, quality assurance, community inclusion, and driver rehabilitation.

Patti Singleton

Professional Learning Coordinator, Research and Development Associate, UK Human Development Institute

Patti Singleton has worked with UK's Human Development Institute for 14 years. As Director of Early Child Technology, she oversees technology and project activities, instructional design support, designs and develops training, presentation, and distance learning modules and materials, as well as develops and implements technical assistance services. She also serves as Director of Information and Technology for the Kentucky Partnership for Early Childhood Services.