With a career spanning 2½ decades, Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carmen Inman has been an integral part of the local business community. Late last month, she announced her mid-October retirement in a letter to chamber board Chair Paola Roe.
“We are sad to see her tenure come to end, as she has given 25 incredible years to this chamber and has worked tirelessly to create a stronger membership drive, community involvement and partnership across Frankfort and communities surrounding us,” Roe told The State Journal.
We couldn’t agree more.
In fact, we consider Inman to be one-fifth of a group of local trailblazers we once dubbed the Female Fab Five — a nod to the 1991 University of Michigan men’s basketball team, the only team to compete in the NCAA championship game with an all-freshman starting lineup.
In addition to Inman, the Female Fab Five included Kentucky Capital Development Corp. President and CEO Terri Bradshaw; Frankfort-Franklin County Tourist Commission Executive Director Robin Antenucci; former City Manager Cindy Steinhauser; and former Downtown Frankfort Inc. Executive Director Kelly Everman. Together, these leaders were a driving force in propelling Frankfort forward over the last few years.
Yet, none have matched Inman’s longevity and commitment. She is also well respected among her peers and was awarded the Chamber Executive of the Year by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE) in 2018.
“She’s been nothing less than a mentor to anybody in the business,” said KCCE Executive Director Amy Cloud during the award ceremony.
Inman has certainly left her stamp on the local chamber and her legacy will continue in the numerous programs she has been a part of — including the Frankfort IMPACT program, which helps local students become more ready for the workforce. She has also been instrumental in helping employers find qualified career-ready workers and believes the community is ready for full Work Ready status, which is obtained through an application process.
Among the initiatives Inman is most proud of is the “Frankfort: Kentucky Distilled” branding campaign, which began in 2017 and identifies the city as more than just the capital of Kentucky — something outsiders have a hard time seeing past.
But it is her unwavering service to the Frankfort area that Inman's tenure will be most remembered for. And even though she’s still got a month left at the helm, we thank her for her part in making Frankfort a great place to work, live and play.