LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mary Quinn Ramer, President of VisitLEX convention and visitors bureau, was honored Friday by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the Bourbon Women organization with its second-ever award for networking, community service and professionalism.
Ramer accepted the “Lois Mateus Networking Award” at the Bourbon Women’s second annual “Sip-Osium,” a three-day conference featuring Bourbon workshops, mixology sessions, private tastings, distillery excursions and more.
The award is named for Mateus, retired Senior Vice President of Brown-Forman, Inc., and the first woman ever to serve on the KDA Board. Her two-year term in 1992 paved the way for other women in high-ranking roles throughout Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.
“It is a great honor to receive the “Lois Mateus Networking Award,” Ramer said. “Lois has been such an inspiration to professional women in Kentucky, and to be the recipient of an award bearing her name is quite humbling.
“I appreciate the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Bourbon Women organizations vote of confidence in me and my work in the tourism and hospitality industry in Kentucky.”
Susan Reigler, President of Bourbon Women, and Kristin Meadors, the KDA’s Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, presented Ramer with an etched crystal bowl to symbolize her breakthrough role as the Lexington CVB’s first female President.
“Mary Quinn has been a tireless supporter of Kentucky’s Bourbon heritage,” Reigler said. “We’re extremely pleased to honor her tonight, especially since she helped found our organization and create a community for women who appreciate fine whiskey.”
Mateus said, “With the popularity of Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience taking tourism in the Commonwealth to new heights, it is so appropriate to have a hospitality catalyst and ambassador with a track record like Mary Quinn’s be the recipient of this mentoring award. She exemplifies networking!”
A 1998 graduate of Centre College and Danville native, Ramer began her career at Preston-Osborne, a prominent Lexington public relations, marketing and research firm, before becoming Executive Director at the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She received the Public Relations Society of America’s top honor – the Silver Anvil Award – in 2001 for her work on the 2000 Vice Presidential Debate at the Danville liberal arts institution. The Silver Anvil is considered the Pulitzer Prize of public relations.
Ramer joined the Lexington CVB in 2007 as the Vice President of Tourism Marketing and was promoted to Vice President of Marketing in 2013, becoming actively involved with rebranding the organization to VisitLEX and developing a new visitor center in the downtown core.
She was named President of the organization in 2014.
In addition, Ramer is active with several community organizations including the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, Equestrian Events International, Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, Horse County LLC and the McDowell House Museum.
She was a key leader in Lexington’s preparation and coordination of the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and is a member of the Breeders’ Cup 2015 Host Committee when the world-renowned event comes to Keeneland Racetrack in October.
KDA President Eric Gregory said he first met Ramer when he was Vice President of Public Affairs at Preston-Osborne. “You could clearly see that Mary Quinn was destined for great things,” he said.
“It’s been a joy to watch Mary Quinn’s career flourish. She is an incredible role model and an outstanding ambassador for her community, for our beloved Commonwealth and particularly for our legendary Bourbon industry. The lady knows her Bourbon.
“On behalf of the KDA Board of Directors, we are proud to nominate Mary Quinn for his prestigious award and raise a glass to her accomplishments and future success. She is a great partner to our industry and a vital part of our distilling family.”
The award is given annually by Bourbon Women in conjunction with the KDA based on the following criteria for a woman who has:
- Excelled in her profession by continuously building key relationships to contribute to the growth in her respective industry
- Broken through barriers to grow her career
- Contributed to the community through service and philanthropy
- Increased exposure for other women to grow their networking and career opportunities
- Developed creative partnerships and strategic alliances to further the growth of her respective industry
- Become a role model for female professionalism
Bourbon Women was founded in 2011 to promote the history, heritage, culture and lifestyle of Bourbon. The group has grown to nearly 700 members in 23 states and three countries, Reigler said. Learn more at www.bourbonwomen.org.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true authentic home for Bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and pours $166 million into state and local coffers each year.
The KDA recently announced that the state’s inventory of aging Bourbon barrels set a 40-year high in 2014 with 5,669,682 million charred oak casks gently sleeping in Bluegrass warehouses.
In addition, the KDA’s famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® journeys continued their record-breaking tourism trend last year with 725,000 visits across an all-time high of 18 participating distilleries.
“Bourbon Women was formed, in part, as an educational organization about bourbon’s history. With the involvement of enthusiast supporters such as Mary Quinn Ramer, Kentucky’s bourbon culture has a great future, too,” said Reigler.