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Emily Phillips

The Center for Rural Development has announced that Emily Phillips will assume a dual leadership role in the organization.

Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, announced this week that Phillips will serve as youth programs coordinator while continuing her current position as community liaison.

Phillips will coordinate The Center’s three summer youth leadership programs—Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers, and Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI)—and carry on her work as a community representative of The Center within its 42-county primary service area.

“Emily will concentrate on moving our youth leadership programs forward as we begin recruitment this fall for middle and high school students seeking to apply for next year’s summer camps,” Lawson said. “The Center is dedicated to helping the youth of Southern and Eastern Kentucky develop the skills they need to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.”

Since January, Phillips has served as community liaison and sales associate at The Center. She documents her travels across the region and experiences along the way in a blog, “The Center Lane,” posted on The Center’s website at

“I am honored to be asked to lead these programs that have such a profound effect on the future of our region,” Phillips said. “Working with the youth programs this past summer, I got to see the immediate impact our programming has on these incredible young people.  I look forward to working with these students to make our region an even better place to live and work.”

Before she joined The Center’s staff, Phillips was employed by Monticello Banking Company in Wayne County. Prior to that, she served as a major gifts officer at Union College in Barbourville.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Transylvania University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

While completing her graduate work, she also served as an intern for Kentucky League of Cities, a Lexington-based organization that supports community innovation, effective leadership and quality governance in cities across Kentucky.

Phillips and her husband, Frank, an attorney with Phillips & Phillips Attorneys, make their home in Monticello.