2019 Sister Circle Forum

The Sister Circle Forum is a half-day conference for undergraduate, graduate, and professional women from the University of Kentucky and the Lexington community, focusing on the experiences of women of color. Through interactive workshops, presentations, activities, and a dynamic keynote address, conference attendees will engage in critical conversations surrounding women of color in today’s world. 


"The Future is Female"

Date: February 1, 2019
Time: 8:00am - 2:00pm

Gatton Student Center, University of Kentucky



Overall Program: 


Individual Sessions:  



Schedule Overview

8:00am Registration and Breakfast   Ballroom A (Gatton Student Center, 212A)
9:00am Welcome

Cassandra Johnson

Counselor, Student Support Services

Ballroom A (Gatton Student Center, 212A)
9:20am - 10:10am      Breakout Sessions I

Taking Risks: Is it Worth My Time?

Facilitator: Antomia Farrell

Interim Director of Diversity, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

MLK Center (Gatton Student Center, A230)
  As women, we often question if we are making the best decision based on varied variables. Why aren’t women taking risks? Well, it’s not that women aren’t taking risk; however, studies show women are more hesitant in doing so. In this workshop we will discuss why risks are worth your time from a personal and professional standpoint. 

Meet Me at the Intersection: Navigating Multiple Marginalized Identities

Facilitator: Carol Taylor-Shim

Director, Bias Incident Support Services

LGBTQ Resource Center (Gatton Student Center, A250A)
  Can any of us truly claim just one identity? We are all multifaceted, complex individuals who experience the world differently. As women of color, we live at the intersection of race and gender in addition to a host of other marginalized identities. However, we are often put in positions where it feels as though we're forced to choose one identity over another. In this session, participants will explore their experiences living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities and how intersectionality impacts our daily lives.  

She Said What? Exploring Implicit Bias and How it Affects Interpersonal Relationships

Facilitator: Jimmi Nicholson

Director of Admissions, College of Law

Senate Chamber (Gatton Student Center, A268)
  Every day, every hour, every minute, there is a woman affected by a generalization made about her.  Implicit bias is a thing and it matters! This interactive session will define Implicit Bias and through open discussion share examples ranging from social media, movies to our personal lives. Additionally, in this session we will share how to respond when incidents of implicit bias occur. 
10:20am - 11:05am      Breakout Sessions II

Hidden Figures: An Exploration of Women Navigating Male-Dominated Fields


Nigel Vinegar


Adrian Wilson
Cagney Coomer
Victoria Clark
Ashley Oliver 

Senate Chamber (Gatton Student Center, A268)
  It's hard to remember a time when women could not vote, have a line of credit, or jobs outside the home. Despite societal progress, workplace gender-based challenges still exist. Panelists in this session will share their experiences working in male dominated fields and best practices for navigating these spaces. 
  I Hired Myself

Facilitator: Kheiston Tilford

Creative Director and Branding Strategist, Kheiston Tilford Consulting Services 

LGBTQ Resource Center (Gatton Student Center, A250A)
  “Micromanaging and a 9-5 just wasn’t for me...so I hired myself!” During this session you will learn how Kheiston became her on own boss in less than 2 years. You will receive tips on how to ignite your purpose, make an impact and produce profit outside of traditional work. Explore how she went from receiving minimum pay to being on her own time and having the freedom to live life on her own terms.
  Leaning In? Having it All? How to Make it Work

Facilitator: Stephanie Mayberry

Senior Academic Advisor, Off-Campus Students

MLK Center (Gatton Student Center, A230)
  This session will provide insight and tips for success for women juggling multiple responsibilities, including parenting, working full-time, attending school, etc.  Participants will leave the session with a toolkit that will aid in their success of balancing it all.
11:15am - 12:15pm      Session III - Featured Panel
  Women Navigating Politics


Dr. Sonja Feist-Price


Latoya Drake

Melissa Moore Murphy, Esq.

Sherelle Pierre

Liz Sheehan, PhD


Senate Chamber (Gatton Student Center, A268)
  As women of color matriculate through higher education, they come to recognize there are fewer and fewer people who look like them in their classes.  The greater the level of education, the more pronounced the situation becomes, and in America’s political arena’s, this community of women is scarce at best. This “Women Navigating Politics” panel will highlight the experiences of women of color working in American politics, and the ways in which their identity impacts their daily challenges.  In addition, panelists with discuss and respond to questions about maintaining a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives. 
12:30pm - 2:00pm Luncheon and Awards Keynote: Judge Pamela Goodwine Ballroom A (Gatton Student Center, 212A)


Keynote & Featured Panelists


Judge Pamela R. Goodwine

Judge Goodwine was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio.  She moved to Lexington in November of 1979 to begin her career as a court reporter.  She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky, Carol Martin Gatton College of Business in 1991 and from University of Kentucky College of Law in 1994.

Judge Goodwine was employed by the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs from 1994 until her appointment to the bench in 1999.  She became the first African American female to be appointed and subsequently elected to the bench in Fayette County, Kentucky.   
Judge Goodwine was elected to the Fayette Circuit Court in 2003 and served as Vice-Chief of the Fayette Circuit Court from 2006-2016.  In 2016, she became Chief Judge of the Fayette Circuit Court.  

In November of 2018, Judge Goodwine was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals for the 5th Appellate District, which covers 11 counties, including Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott and Woodford counties.




Latoya Drake

LaToya Drake is a nutrition and food educator, community garden organizer, and longtime public servant with over a decade of experience. Drake received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Louisville in 2007 and in 2018 completed her Masters of Science in Integrative and Functional Nutrition from Saybrook University (Oakland, California). Drake, a champion for children and families, has held a variety of professional service roles including residential counselor, dependency case manager, substance abuse counselor, service coordinator, middle school nutrition liaison and is now serving as the Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences in her home County, Barren. Her passion for wellness, food and, gardening have fueled her personal growth and career development. In her free time, LaToya enjoys hanging out with her golden-doodle and her husband.



Melissa Moore Murphy

Melissa Moore Murphy graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1998, with a B.A. in Political Science and History in the Honors Program, and a minor in Vocal Music Performance. She received her Juris Doctor from UK College of Law in 2001.

Melissa has spent most of her legal career as a criminal prosecutor. She has worked as an Assistant Commonwealth’s, Assistant County, and a Special Assistant United States’ Attorney.  She is currently an Attorney Senior in the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s (LFUCG) Law Department. Melissa currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, GreenHouse17, Downtown Lexington Partnership and she is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Melissa has served on three Site-Based Decision Making Councils within Fayette County Schools.  She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.




Sherelle Roberts Pierre

Sherelle Pierre is a public relations and political operative, involved citizen and leader. She is a business owner - Sherelle R. Pierre PR & Political Consulting. Sherelle is a doctoral student in the Political Science Department at the University of Kentucky. Pierre serves on the board of directors of several agencies: The New Leaders Council, The Fayette County Health Department, The Community Relations Board of Federal Medical Prison in Lexington, Kentucky and The Pearls of Service Foundation Board. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.





Liz Sheehan

Dr. Liz Sheehan moved to Lexington to join the psychology faculty at University of Kentucky. One of her most valued aspects of her work is the ability to mentor undergraduates in career planning and graduate students in teaching. She is on the LFUCG Environmental Commission and the CivicLex Governance Board; is involved with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Girl Scouts, The Women’s Network, Kid’s Cancer Alliance, Hope Center, and Junior League; and ran for local office in 2018. Her free time is spent with her family or practicing yoga. As a certified yoga instructor, she teaches a variety of yoga styles, such as senior chair yoga and meditation for everyone. She works professionally and personally to promote social justice, civic engagement,critical thinking, and holistic well-being in our community.