NAWBO Kentucky announces EPIC award winners
The Association honored six women and businesses at the 2022 EPIC Awards including women business owner of the year

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The National Association of Woman Business Owners (NAWBO) Kentucky hit a major milestone this year: 30 years of business in the Bluegrass. To celebrate this achievement, they honored women business owners from across Kentucky and southern Indiana at their Annual EPIC Awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 18.

The EPIC Award event is a time to gather as a group of businesswomen and acknowledge the amazing leaders throughout the state. NAWBO presented multiple awards at the EPIC event this year, and the winners for each award are in.

Woman Business Owner of the Year was awarded to Christine Smalley of Fort Thomas Coffee.

Christine Smalley is the owner and president of Fort Thomas Coffee, located in Fort Thomas. FTC opened in March of 2019 and will expand in June of 2022 to include a wine and cocktail bar and business center. “This award is not about me, but it is about all the women in this room. We made this possible,” said Smalley.

NAWBO also announced the Next-Gen Women Business Owner of the Year, which focuses on the younger generation of women business owners to uplift them in their efforts. This award was presented to Brooke Corder of Squeaky Cleaners, LLC.

Brooke Corder is the owner of Squeaky Cleaners, LLC, located in Louisville. This housekeeping, residential, and commercial cleaning services business opened in February of 2020. “The little idea turned into the beautiful dream that I have today,” said Corder. “Thank you for honoring me and helping me through it!”

The third EPIC award is the Public Policy Catalyst of the Year, which honors women who have made a difference in our area through their continuous work on bettering public policy. Adriane Polyniak of Kentucky Cannabis Company received this award.

Adriane Polyniak works with the Kentucky Cannabis Company, LLC, in Midway, and has been involved in multiple policy changes that have been beneficial to women business owners. Some of those policies include the legalization of hemp, Shawna’s Law, and improved access to cannabis research.

NAWBO established a new tradition this year of recognizing women business owners who have excelled in their careers for 30 or more years by adding another award, the Legacy Award. The winner of this award is Alice Houston, co-owner of HJI Supply Chain Solutions in Louisville.

The final two awards, NAWBO Corporate Partner of the Year and NAWBO Member of the Year, were announced during the EPIC event.  

NAWBO Corporate Partner of the Year was awarded to Wiser Strategies, a public relations and communication firm in Lexington, KY. President and APR Nancy Wiser has worked with NAWBO on many projects, including the new NAWBO website and media relations efforts that made the EPIC event possible. 

NAWBO Member of the Year was awarded to Vanessa Pennoyer, MBA. Founder and owner of Go2Girl, LLC, Vanessa has been involved with NAWBO for years. She stepped up this year to assist with all marketing efforts, as well as assistant duties. “I never would have been able to start my business without the help of NAWBO,” said Pennoyer. “This means more to me than you know.” 

The NAWBO Kentucky EPIC Awards took place on Wednesday, May 18 at the Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville, Kentucky from 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM. For more information on NAWBO Kentucky and the annual EPIC Awards, click here.

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) was founded in 1975 and is the unified voice of over 11 million women-owned businesses in America, representing the fastest-growing segment of the economy. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries with local chapters across the US. NAWBO began its first chapter in the Bluegrass state 30 years ago, and NAWBO Kentucky is now a thriving organization with a vision for statewide growth.


NAWBO Kentucky serves Kentucky, the Southern Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio areas.

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