Advisory Board

Hope Zoeller, Ed.D. , Chair
Founder & President

Dr. Hope Zoeller is Founder and President of HOPE (Helping Other People Excel), LLC a leadership development and performance coaching firm. HOPE specializes in leadership and professional development for leaders at every level of the organization. For over 13 years of her professional career, Dr. Zoeller worked at UPS in various leadership roles including Customer Service, Training and Development, and Employee Relations. For the past seven years, she has been consulting with organizations on leadership development and performance coaching. Dr. Zoeller is also an Adjunct Professor at Webster University instructing in their Master of Human Resource program and Spalding University instructing in their Master of Science in Business Communication program. She has a Doctorate in Leadership Education from Spalding University with a ME from the University of Louisville in Training and Development and a BA from Bellarmine University in Communication and Psychology.

One of her most notable accomplishments includes being selected as one of Business First’s 2007 40 Under 40 recipients. This is an award given to up-and-coming leaders under the age of 40 who are on the leading edge in their occupations and who share their time and talents in community service. She was also selected for Leadership Louisville’s Class of 2011. In her spare time, she enjoys international travel, mentoring youth, walking and yoga.

Sandy Ringer, PHR, Vice-Chair
Sandy Ringer
Business Visions, LLC

With more than twenty-five years of experience in business development and strategy, market research, coaching, leadership training and change management, she has held senior executive positions with several major organizations (The Bingham Companies and Jewish Hospital Healthcare System).

She has developed and implemented strategic plans and programs for over 98 businesses and nonprofits, which have increased sales, restructured organizations, created new business opportunities, and/or developed internal systems to improve management and assist in revenue growth.  She has facilitated visioning processes with CEO’s and coached management teams.  Her “partnership” with her clients offers a unique advantage to them. When an organization’s people move into a zone of optimum sustainable best performance, so does the organization.

Her experience in consulting includes a broad array of industries – manufacturing, professional services, construction, nonprofits, media/advertising/communications, healthcare, professional associations, distributors, medical equipment, engineering, industrial and insurance organizations.

In addition to consulting, she gained national recognition serving as a United States representative to the USSR under the auspices of  The American Center for International Leadership. She is frequent speaker and co-author of professional articles published in a variety of publications. She has conducted many seminars and retreats on leadership development, change in the workplace and strategic planning.

She is active within her own community. She is a graduate of Leadership Louisville, and was a facilitator of several CEO Roundtables. She is currently a Board member with New Hope Service, a Board Advisor for the Business School at Spalding University, and a student mentor.

Sandy is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and a member of the local Louisville chapter (LSHRM).

Her expertise includes -

  • Culture and strategic alignment
  • Strategic business planning – goals and accountability plans / Human resources
  • Coaching – executive, promotional, and behavior/attitude change
  • Change implementation / Organizational Development
  • Leadership learning
  • Individual and Team alignment


Kevin Connelly
Executive Director
Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Kevin Connelly is the founding director for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE). CNPE is a not-for-profit support center that offers training and consultation for nonprofit organizations. Prior to this position, he was executive director for YMCA Safe Place Services (1991-1999). He served as Chair of the Southeastern Network for Youth and Family Services and a two-term position on the Council on Youth Policy in Washington, DC.

Kevin earned his master’s degree in psychology and psychometrics from Spalding University and BA degree in psychology from Brescia University.

In addition to his work with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, he is adjunct professor with the University of Louisville, School of Urban and Public Affairs.


Barry M. Gary
Director, Staff Development
Norton Healthcare

Barry Gary is the system director, Staff Development at Norton Healthcare.  In this role, Barry oversees all staff-related training and development programs. Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Barry worked as a training and educational leadership consultant with the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Network, where he was responsible for developing and delivering programs for Head Start and Early Head Start leadership teams to ensure compliance and the delivery quality services in communities across the nation.

Barry brings a wealth of experience to his role, having served as senior partner with Evaluation Works LLC, Louisville; manager, training and development, with Humana Service Center, Louisville; regional training manager with the Michie Co., Charlottesville, Va.; and regional training manager with CCH Inc., Riverwoods, Ill.

Barry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/general business and a Master of Arts in rhetoric and composition from Western Kentucky University. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from Bellarmine University.


Katie Gaughan
Founder and Primary Coach
POINT C Business Consultancy

As founder and president of Point C Business Consultancy, Katie Gaughan collaborates with leaders and organizations to overcome challenges and achieve objectives through executive coaching, leadership development, and team alignment programs. She is seen as a trusted strategic partner with a unique combination of business savvy, leadership expertise, professional coaching skills, and contagious enthusiasm.

Katie has a strong track record of success in leading, developing and empowering individuals to new levels of productivity and performance. During her corporate career, Katie held a variety of management and executive positions for companies ranging from innovative technology start-up to traditional manufacturing operation to multi-billion dollar global corporations.

Katie is immediate past president of the Ohio Valley regional chapter of the International Coach Federation and founder of Louisville Coaches CONNECT. In addition to earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University, Katie has taken graduate level courses at Kellogg School of Management, has received extensive coaching training through Corporate Coach University and The Coaches Training Institute, and was selected as a Leadership Louisville Bingham Fellow in 2009.


Deb Gmelin, Ph.D
Director of Leadership Strategies
Humana Inc.

Debra Gmelin is a corporate director with the Leadership Institute at Humana Inc., a premiere health care solution company, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Gmelin has over two decades of experience in the consumer goods industry, holding executive positions with the Coca-Cola Company, Frito-Lay and Jack Daniel’s prior to joining Humana. Gmelin holds a doctorate degree from George Washington University in Leadership and Organizational Studies; M.A. from Central Michigan University and a B.A. from Michigan State University.  She is the author of Executive Women and Leadership (2005) and performs stand-up comedy.


Julie Halbert
Prudential Heating & Air

Julie Halbert, CPA, controller at Prudential Heating and Air Conditioning Co., Inc. has over 25 years of accounting management experience. Julie specializes in accounting for service industries such as health care, real estate and development and contracting services.

Julie holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Spalding University where she graduated suma cum laude and was the recipient of the Henry Clay award for academic excellence. Julie also holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Sullivan University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Julie is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the Kentucky Society of CPA’s.


Ken Mudd
Director, HR Corporate
LG&E and KU Energy LLC

JD, Brandies School of Law, 1982

Currently Director, HR – Corporate for LG&E/KU Energy Services LLC with responsibility for benefits, compensation, HRIS, and general HR issues.  In all, Ken has nearly 30 years of experience in legal, managerial and mediation in a wide range of employment, labor and family law issues.

Previously served as Senior Counsel in the Law Department with responsibility for labor, employment, benefits and litigation.  Member of the LBA and past chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.  Received mediation training through the Harvard Program on Negotiations, Just Solutions Mediation Service and the Federal Bar Association.

Ken was admitted by Indiana Wesleyan University as an Associate Professor (certified to teach Bachelor and Master level courses related to law, human resources and business management).  In 2009, Ken was appointed to serve on the Ulmer Center Advisory Board at the University of Louisville, and in 2012 Ken received an appointment to serve on The Spalding University School of Business Advisory Board.

Craig Spears, CPA
Stuedle Spears & Francke PSC

Craig Spears, CPA has been a partner at Stuedle, Spears & Francke CPAs  for 22 years.  A graduate of Western Kentucky University, he has served in public accounting for 29 years, specializing in corporate, estate, trust and individual tax planning and preparation.

He is currently on the board of directors of the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce and Spalding University’s Advisory Council for the School of Business and Communications. He previously has served on the board of directors of Music Theater Louisville and the National Kidney Foundation of Kentucky.

Megan Verret, Ph.D.
Director, Organizational Development
YUM! Brands

Megan Verret leads the People Development function at Yum! Brands where she is responsible for all areas related to the selection, training, development and retention of employees.  This role allows her to actively engage on issues tied to organizational design and restructure, succession planning, diversity and culture.

In her 12 years at Yum! Brands (including KFC, A&W, and Long John Silver’s), Megan has led a variety of HR functions to include Training, Employee Relations, Talent Management, and HR Readiness. In particular, she has a passion for projects tied to developing high potential talent, creating one system franchise partnerships and designing innovative employee selection tools.

Megan holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Industrial Organizational Psychology with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Business Administration. She lives in Louisville, KY with her husband, Alex, and their three children.