Perry Bacon, Jr.


ESPN’s Senior Political Writer Perry Bacon, Jr. has been an eye-witness to and reporter of the dynamic events in American politics since 2002. From the rise of tribalism, or hyper-partisanship, the growing connection between celebrity and political success, and the changing landscape of the media environment created by technology. Perry has reported on the most important political developments that have shaped our nation over the past decade and a half.

Join us for the first in the 2017 KTW Speaker Series when Louisville native Perry Bacon, Jr. shares fascinating insights from his unique vantage point as a political observer of American politics and history.

5:30 Reception, 6:30 Program at The Kentucky Center, tickets are $25. Reserved Seating.


Describing himself as a “super nerdy kid,” never far from a book or magazine when he was growing up in Louisville, his passion for sports and politics began drawing him toward journalism. From Brook & Breck, the newspaper he co-edited while attending Male High School, to a stint at the Courier-Journal and Louisville Cardinal, his hometown experiences laid the foundation for his lifework.

In his senior year of high school Tomago Collins, a copy editor at the Courier-Journal, asked Perry about his college plans. After listing several universities and telling Collins his SAT scores, Collins, himself a Yale graduate, encouraged Perry to dream bigger.

That conversation led Perry to apply to Yale, where part of the admissions process was an interview with an alum. That was how he met John Yarmuth. A few months after that meeting, Perry was accepted and his friendship with John Yarmuth began.

For a young man whose mother had an associates’ degree (she has since earned her BA), and his father no degree at all, getting into Yale was a very big moment in the family’s life.

From Yale, Perry recounts that he had “some great fortune.” He was hired at TIME magazine’s Washington office at a time when they were seeking younger (cheaper) staffers. So at age 23, he found himself flying on Air Force One. On one trip he’d drifted off to sleep when he startled awake to someone yelling, “Mr. Bacon! Mr. Bacon!” It was Ari Fleischer, the president’s press secretary, urging him awake so he could begin the press briefing.

In his career, he’s witnessed many remarkable moments in American history. From the post 9/11 era, to the rise of Obama, and the emergence of the Tea Party and Donald Trump as a political candidate, Perry Bacon has had the opportunity both write for print and report on television. As he says, “My goal has always been to be clear in explaining to people what is happening and why.”


Kentucky to the World is Idea Festival 2016 Community Partner

Idea Festival Logo
Kentucky to the World
 is proud to be a Community Partner for IdeaFestival® 2016, an annual celebration for creative thinkers and the intellectually curious, held this year from Sept 27 – 30 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

IdeaFestival is an eclectic network of global thinkers and one-of-a-kind innovators bound together by an intense curiosity about what is impacting and shaping the future of the arts, business, technology, design, science, philosophy and education. Please visit for more information.


Kentucky to the World friends receive a special discount for the Festival Pass – sign up for our newsletter today to receive yours!



PRESS RELEASE: Kentucky to the World Presents:
“Breaking The Mold” with the Roth Brothers & Junior Bridgeman – June 2016

Louisville, KY–Kentucky to the World, Inc. will present the first live audience recording of the “Breaking the Mold” podcast. Created by Louisville native Evan Roth, the event will feature an interview with Junior Bridgeman along with special guest co-host Daniel Roth, Evan’s brother. The event will be held on Wednesday, August 3 with a reception from 5:30 to 6:30pm and the program from 6:30-8:00pm at The Henry Clay Building, 4th Floor – 604 S. Third Street, Louisville, KY 40202. Guests will hear from the Roth Brothers before serving as the live studio audience for the recording. Tickets are $25 and available for purchase at

NOTE: Evan Roth, will be in Louisville June 27 and available for advance interviews by appointment. Please contact Randy Blevins at 502-897-0649 or to schedule.

“Breaking the Mold.” with Evan Roth, host, and Daniel Roth, guest co-host, explores the people and issues fueling business today through brotherly debate and an interview that focuses on their guest’s path to success in the business world.

Daniel Roth, Executive Editor of LinkedIn, is hailed by Business Insider as the “most powerful business journalist on the Internet.” Among his countless features are a rare joint interview with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, an intimate conversation with Lena Dunham, and recently a fun and energetic chat with Gwen Stefani.

Evan Roth, managing partner of BBR Partners in NYC, turned his youthful obsession with numbers into a career in finance, first at Goldman, Sachs & Co. In 2000, he started his own firm. He works with multigenerational families and individuals and their newly created wealth to define and translate values into a comprehensive investment program.

Junior Bridgeman, franchise entrepreneur, played guard/forward for University of Louisville and joined the NBA in 1975 for a solid 12-year career that included Los Angeles Lakers and primarily the Milwaukee Bucks. Most recently, Junior divested his more than 350 restaurant franchises to acquire bottling territory from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska, becoming only the third new independent Coca-Cola bottler in recent decades. Junior was born in East Chicago, Indiana.

Tickets are now on sale for $25 and include a reception with appetizers from Wiltshire Pantry, water, and soft drinks. There is also a cash bar. For tickets and to learn more about the speaker series please visit  No tickets will be sold at the door.

Junior Bridgman talks business on new podcast

636014320779002512-junior-bridgemanRestaurant magnate and former University of Louisville basketball player Junior Bridgeman will give his insights about the business world on the “Breaking the Mold” podcast, presented by Kentucky to the World on Aug. 3.

Bridgeman, who also played for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, is one of the largest franchise owners in the country, owning more than 150 Wendy’s franchises and more than 100 Chili’s franchises. He has invested in more than 350 restaurants and Coca-Cola, according to a news release announcing the event.

“We couldn’t think of anyone better who have done so much for the community,” said Evan Roth, who will be hosting the Kentucky to the World event at the Henry Clay Building in Louisville. .

The podcast will be hosted by Evan Roth and his brother, Daniel Roth, executive editor of Linkedln. Evan Roth is a managing partner for BBR Partners in New York City, according to the release.

This podcast is different because the brothers grew up in Louisville, Roth said. By having “locals interviewing a local,” , it allows the audience to connect even more since they all have ties to Kentucky.

This podcast will focus on how Bridgeman got into the franchise business, when to sell a business and how the market looks currently, Roth said.

“Having a front row seat is compelling because he’s a private, humble person, and now he has the time to express himself,” he said of the live recording of the podcast. “It’s like getting to eavesdrop on a personality.”

Reporter Allana Barefield can be reached at or 502-582-4496.

IDEAS xLab and Kentucky to the World Partner on New Lifelong Learning Initiative

IDEA xLab KTW Collaboration

Louisville, Kentucky – In a knowledge-based economy where ideas that blend creativity and technical know-how are increasingly valuable, educational programs that encourage new interdisciplinary approaches are needed.

Acquisition of knowledge has been recognized as a necessary lifelong endeavor for everyone. One of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s top three priorities for Louisville is to become a city of lifelong learning.

The social entrepreneurs behind IDEAS xLab and Kentucky to the World are stepping up as champions of lifelong learning with a new program called KentuckyLab©.

“Our yearlong collaboration will focus on cultivating relationships among artists, intellectuals, academics and entrepreneurs and celebrate Kentucky’s unique influence on the creative process – whether it be in business, science or a more traditional arts-related endeavor,” said Theo Edmonds, co-founder of IDEAS xLab.

Throughout 2016, the collaboration will pair Kentucky to the World’s well-known speaker series with IDEAS xLab’s popular Mix+Pivot events.

In Spring, Summer and Fall of 2016, IDEAS xLab will present themed Mix+Pivots – where Kentucky-based artists, entrepreneurs and non-profits make five minute pitches – related to Kentucky to the World’s featured speakers.

The Mix+Pivot events will take place two weeks before each Kentucky to the World program as a kind of “warm-up”.  The featured presenters at Mix+Pivot will then be guests of honor at the Kentucky to the World program and help create the Q&A to be held with Kentucky to the World’s featured presenters.

“We identified a need to encourage new, intergenerational ties between Kentucky’s emerging young artists/entrepreneurs by connecting them with exceptional established  men and women who have made their mark on the world in many fields,” said Shelly Zegart, founder of Kentucky to the World

In addition to the Louisville presentations, the KentuckyLab© collaboration plans to present a special event in New York City in 2016 which will highlight Kentucky’s emerging contemporary artists, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs.

Lastly, the collaboration will launch the first-ever Creative Kentuckian Awards© presented to an emerging artist, scientist ,intellectual/academic and entrepreneur who are making exceptional contributions that show promise for increasing America’s imaginative capacity. A legacy award will also honor a Kentuckian who has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to creative

vision, passion, cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation that resulted in measurable advancements for the social good  of a significant number of people.

Ultimately, the KentuckyLab© collaboration is designed to become a catalyst for  instilling greater creativity, initiative and responsiveness in Kentucky’s  innovation economy by showing people fresh ways to develop needed skills for adapting to our post-industrial society.

Speakers and dates for 2016 will be announced in early January 2016.


About Kentucky to the World
Kentucky to the World, Inc. enhances Kentucky’s image, educates, and inspires by showcasing the talent, ingenuity, and excellence of outstanding men and women who claim strong Kentucky ties. KTW accomplishes its goals through multimedia programs that range from a live-audience, recorded speaker series, to the website’s written profiles and video interviews, to social media about our achievers real-time happenings and accomplishments.
KTW is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.


About IDEAS xLab
IDEAS xLab ( is a catalytic organization run by artists and art professionals working at the nexus of cultural production, social investigation and marketplace. Created to help corporations and NGOs make the leap into the future by accessing artists as a strategic human resource for building creative capacity at the frontiers of knowledge. Co-Founder of IDEAS xLab, Theo Edmonds, was chosen by Southern Living Magazine as one of “50 People Changing the Face of the South in 2015”.



Michael Wines and Sharon LaFraniere Event Photos

What an evening with THE NEW YORK TIMES correspondents Michael Wines and Sharon LaFraniere on their first return to Louisville in 19 years!

It was exciting for us to see our educational mission come to life by connecting Kentucky students with professionals who walk the paths that they dream of taking someday. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, KTW hosted 59 students from high schools including Iroquois, DuPont Manual, Pleasure Ridge Park, Atherton, Butler Traditional, and St Francis, as well as Louisville Classical Academy, Bellarmine University, The McConnell Center at University of Louisville, University of Kentucky School of Journalism and KCTCS. The event also offered proud students from Wines’ alma mater Pleasure Ridge Park the opportunity to award him as an entrant into the high school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

Also in attendance were many friends and colleagues from Wines and LaFraniere’s early days at THE LOUISVILLE TIMES.

Special thanks to our presenters, moderator Pam Platt, and our sponsors for making this highly informative and inspirational evening happen.

Rebecca, Lady, and Cecil Booth – SISTER ACT: Tales of True Life, Family & Success in the Worlds of Science, Civil Rights & Girl Power

Please join Kentucky to the World on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 for an engaging discussion as three highly successful, native Louisville sisters – an MD and author, an attorney, and a beauty marketing executive – bring to the stage fascinating stories of how their individual professions and passions have brought them love and togetherness in unexpected ways.


rebeccaALT_webRebecca Booth, MD

Rebecca Booth, MD, is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, entrepreneur and author. Recognized nationally as an expert in hormonal wellness, she wrote The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle At Any Age. She founded VENeffect, an anti-aging skin care line with her sister and beauty industry veteran, Cecil Booth. Dr. Booth earned a BGS from the University of Kentucky and an MD from University of Louisville School of Medicine. She resides in Louisville.


Lady Booth OlsonLady Booth Olson

Lady Booth Olson is an attorney living in Virginia. She practiced tax law in New York and Louisville, KY, where she also co-founded Meridian Home Medical, LLC in 1995. Since 2009, Lady has been actively involved in the marriage equality movement, with husband Ted, from the start of the landmark Perry case challenging Proposition 8 in California. She earned her BS from the University of Kentucky, JD from Georgetown University Law Center and an LLM Law degree in taxation from NYU.




Cecil BoothCecil Booth

Cecil Booth is president of Beauty Booth, LLC, a company she co-founded with her sister Dr. Rebecca Booth. VENeffect® is their company’s breakthrough anti-aging skincare line. Cecil’s career includes 20 years in marketing and global strategy as well as the management at a Fortune 500 global beauty company. She earned a BA from the University of Kentucky, an MA in advertising from Northwestern University and resides in Chicago.


About the Event

The event will be Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at the Henry Clay Building (604 S. 3rd St.). The reception starts at 5:00 and program at 6:00. Tickets are $25, which includes appetizers by Wiltshire Pantry, water and soft drinks. There will be a cash bar. Order tickets online here –  tickets will not be sold at the door.

Purchase tickets to this event - click here

Kirby Headshot John NationMODERATOR: Kirby Adams


Since graduating from Trinity University Kirby Adams has worked in a career which has allowed her to explore the lives of fascinating people, a multitude of newsworthy events and topics and to travel across the globe. She settled down in Louisville after being asked to spend a year at WHAS 11 working with the television show Louisville Tonight Live. During that year she met a Louisville man, they married and had two daughters and Kirby extended that year to 20.


She is a avid supporter of health and fitness with plenty of personal experience having ranked in the top 75 female marathon runners in the United States, finished 8th in the US cycling Olympic Trials and won the Texas State Triathlon and Biathlon titles.


Today she writes features for the Courier Journal and feels blessed to have found a career which has spanned 30 years and says “nearly every day is different, exciting and truly a joy.”





FishbowlNY: New York Times Couple Returns to Kentucky

By Richard Horgan, October 21, 2015
Originally posted on FishbowlNY website

It’s been 19 years since New York Times journalists Michael Wines andSharon LaFraniere were in Louisville. But they are back there tonight for a special panel discussion presented by the event series Kentucky to the World.

Wines and LaFraniere met while working at the Louisville Times. They both currently write for the New York Times; in between, they traveled the world while he served as the paper’s bureau chief in Moscow, Beijing and Johannesburg. Moderating the discussion tonight at The Henry Clay Building about the intersection of their professional and public lives is another veteran reporter:

Pam Platt has been a journalist for almost 38 years, working as a reporter, an editor, a columnist, an ombudsman and an editorial director (twice) – most recently at The Courier-Journal. She left her job there earlier this year. Her beloved career has allowed her to interview everyone from astronauts to the Village People, although not at the same time, and has nurtured her as a lifelong learner.

She also has served as president of the international Organization of News Ombudsmen and as a judge for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism.

Check out Wines’ NYT pieces here and LaFraniere’s work here. Wines is a native of Louisville.

UK Now: Kentucky to the World Presents UK Alumnus and Renowned Journalist Michael Wines

By Blair Hoover, October 20 2015
Originally posted on UKNow website

Kentucky to the World, an organization that showcases the unique achievements of extraordinary men and women who claim strong Kentucky ties, will host University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information graduate, Louisville native and former New York Times Beijing Bureau Chief Michael Wines and award-winning New York Times journalist Sharon LaFraniere on Oct. 21.


Wines and LaFraniere, who met while working at The Louisville Times, will return to Louisville for the first time in 19 years to bring the public a glimpse into the fascinating world of their intersecting private and professional lives, which includes covering Russia’s invasion of Chechnya and the Iran Contra affair. The Oct. 21 program titled “Breaking World News from The Louisville Times to The New York Times” begins at 6:30 p.m. at The Henry Clay Building in Louisville with a reception at 5:30 p.m.


“While Sharon and Michael built their early careers in Louisville, they went on to cover some of the most important global events for the world’s top media outlets. Theirs is a story many don’t know locally and just what Kentucky to the World wants to reveal with its programs,” said Kentucky to the World founder Shelly Zegart.


Wines, who has covered national and international affairs for The New York Times since 1988,started his first newspaper at age 5 from his home in Shively. In 1980, he left Louisville for Washington D.C. where he first worked for the National Journal, then the Los Angeles Times. He is known for having broken a number of significant stories on espionage issues during the dying days of the Cold War. From 1998 to 2012, he lived in and reported from Moscow, Johannesburg, and ultimately Beijing, serving as The New York Times bureau chief in all three locations.


LaFraniere, now a national investigative reporter at The New York Times, has held a number of roles in journalism including a reporter and editor for The Washington Post for 20 years, where she covered territories such as the war zones in Chechnya and Afghanistan.  LaFraniere began writing for The New York Times in 2003, covering southern Africa and is now based in New York. LaFraniere is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gerald Loeb Award in 2013, the Michael Kelly Award in 2006 and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1999.


A limited number of tickets for the evening event are now on sale for $25 and will include appetizers from Wiltshire Pantry with a cash bar available. The reception will start at 5:30 p.m. and presentation at 6:30 p.m. Guests can purchase tickets for this exclusive event and learn more about the series at No tickets will be sold at the door.

Kentucky to the World, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that showcases the talent, ingenuity and excellence of the world’s prominent men and women who claim strong Kentucky ties, to promote Kentucky’s image and educate and inspire people of all ages.  Kentucky to the World is funded through the generosity of involved community members.  To learn more visit