Sylvia Lovely jokes about how she was born in city hall—but she’s only half kidding. The small hospital in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky where she was born was transformed years later into the city hall of Frenchburg, her hometown. She came full circle recently when she was named as the first female chair of the board of regents at her alma mater, Morehead State University.
Ms. Lovely has been actively involved with cities since 1988, when she started as a staff attorney with the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC), a membership organization of more than 380 cities across the Commonwealth.
Since 1990, Ms. Lovely has been executive director and CEO of KLC.
In addition to her work at the Kentucky League of Cities, Ms. Lovely is also president of the NewCities Institute, a national nonprofit organization that encourages citizens to help their communities thrive in the rapidly changing technology and global challenges of the 21st century. Ms. Lovely is a regular contributor to national newspapers and publications and a featured commentator on various TV and radio programs. In addition to authoring two books based on the NewCities 12 Principles of Community Building, she is also publishes City magazine, a community issues publication.
Her passion for civic engagement has led to numerous awards and recognitions. She was named one of one of Kentucky’s Top Women of Influence and Appalachian Woman of the Year. In 2006 she was awarded Kentucky’s highest honor for public service, the Vic Hellard Award. Ms. Lovely believes in the power of people, no matter who they are or where they live. She inspires others with this simple but powerful message: “Ideas that transform the world can begin locally with people who see the possible.”
Ms. Lovely is a graduate of the UK College of Law and is an Adjunct Faculty Member of the UK Martin School of Public Policy and Administration.