Tara Miller, the 2014 Young Leader of the Year, knows something about building relationships.
She managed to build a lot of them in directing the successful $7.3 million capital campaign for the new Lourdes Hospice Care Center, noted Gary Adkisson, general manager of The Paducah Sun and Four Rivers Business Journal, in announcing this year's recipient Friday at a luncheon at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center.
"When you look at some of the big things that have been accomplished over the past year, no one accomplished more than Tara Miller," Adkisson said. "To raise almost seven-and-a-half million dollars in six or seven months is just so impressive."
Donors like Rex and Jackie Smith told Adkisson they supported the project because they believed in it, but there was more to their involvement. "We just love her to death," they said of Miller.
"That's the kind of relationships you have to build," Adkisson said.
Miller is president of the Lourdes Foundation and vice president/chief philanthropy officer at Lourdes.
She likened leadership to being in an orchestra, sometimes being a conductor, but always managing to blend the talents of the whole group.
"I work with amazing people at Lourdes," Miller said. "I have been very blessed to have passionate, dedicated volunteers who help us do what we do. They make leadership really easy. You just kind of gather the troops, and with everyone being on the same page ... great things happen."
Miller was chosen from 11 finalists nominated for the Young Leaders of Western Kentucky recognition. With the award, the Four Rivers Business Journal, in partnership with the Leadership Paducah Foundation, seeks to recognize young leaders under 40 who are making a difference within their profession and in the community.
Other finalists included: Lakilia Bedeau, director of Tornado Alley YSC at Paducah Tilghman; Frank Bennett, CEO of the National Quilt Museum; Tara Blazina, a certified public accountant with Kemper CPA Group; Jamey Brown, financial planner and investment manager with UBS Wealth Management; Andy Carloss, owner of Midtown Market; Mary Foley, executive director of Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center; Angela Mathis, mortgage lender, assistant vice president at CFSB; Edward Musselman, real estate investor/entrepreneur; Lee Syphus, vice president, Mercy Medical Associates, Lourdes hospital; and Brooke Wiles, assistant vice president and director of marketing at FNB Bank, Inc.
Last year's Young Leader of the Year, Michael Ceglinski, McCracken County High School principal, briefly addressed the group.
"I congratulate all the nominees today because what you have done has made an impact," Ceglinski said.
"The sum total of what you do makes our community better, so all of your organizations and the leadership you are providing continue to make Paducah and McCracken County the wonderful place it is to live and raise a family."
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.