Janice Sword Way has been a familiar figure in Northern Kentucky for more than 25 years as an involved community leader and through her high-profile associations in the health care field. She led the St. Luke Community Foundation until the merger of The St. Luke Hospitals with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, where her latest assignment was assistant vice president of development. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Kentucky program of which she was recently named the new president. Leadership Kentucky is the state’s premier leadership training organization, which prepares participates to take active roles in advancing the state for the common good.

Q You have been part of the Northern Kentucky community for a long time, involved and engaged in many ways. How do you think this experience has prepared you for your new challenge?

A Years of involvement with the Northern Kentucky Chamber and participation in other community organizations has offered insight on our state’s issues, as well the value of volunteer involvement. Professionally, my background in fundraising, marketing, lobbying, working with volunteer boards and seeking relevant speakers for meetings and conferences provides a perfect base for this position. Fortunately, I have lived in various areas of Kentucky, which will be helpful as I travel throughout the state.

Q How did you benefit from the Leadership Kentucky experience? 

I was fortunate to be a part of one of the earliest Leadership Kentucky classes in 1987. The in-depth knowledge of the Commonwealth, life-long relationships established, and awareness of the importance of involvement in one’s community were values I learned in the LKY Class that have deeply impacted my professional life. Friendships made during those class sessions opened doors for me in Northern Kentucky and resulted in my move to the area 25 years ago to work in health care.

Q Given your own leadership in NKY—from chairing fundraisers to serving on boards—what is your advice to others who want to be involved and engaged?

A Get involved and stay involved! There are many needs throughout Kentucky that would benefit from the expertise and volunteer dedication each of us possess. We can make our region a better place through our efforts. By fostering understanding of issues and forging new relationships among community and regional leaders, organizations such as Leadership Kentucky bring informed perspective to communities and companies. Nonprofit and community organizations appreciate volunteer support and welcome new ideas and people.

Q Leadership Kentucky has been the premier leadership training experience in the state. What would you say to those who may want to apply for the next class?

A Leadership Kentucky—as well as local leadership programs—provides a life-altering, insightful, growth experience both professionally and personally. I highly recommend interested candidates to go to the Leadership Kentucky website at leadershipky.org and review the qualifications, overview of the program and application guidelines. An individual may self-nominate or may be nominated by alumnus of Leadership Kentucky, board members of Leadership Kentucky, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, civic organizations, and/or corporations.

Q Will you be staying on in Northern Kentucky or relocating?

A This new role with Leadership Kentucky will take me throughout the Commonwealth. I will be staying in Northern Kentucky and commuting as necessary.

Q What are you most looking forward to as you take on this new and important responsibility?

A I am honored and excited to have been chosen as the president of Leadership Kentucky. Traveling throughout Kentucky, meeting new people, looking for occasions to promote the LKY program, getting to know each year’s new class members and exploring opportunities for Leadership Kentucky to partner with other organizations to improve our state are just a few of the many aspects of this position for which I am enthused.