Laura Melillo Barnum and Mary Ellen Wiederwohl — Louisville’s Most Dynamic, Influential and Powerful


You could make a case that Laura Melillo Barnum and Mary Ellen Wiederwohl are two of the most dynamic and important women in Louisville, and they’re both on the Rusty Satellite this week.

Laura is organizing the celebration of Yum! Brands’ 18th birthday by trying to get 9 tons of food donated at Yum’s annual food drive on Oct. 9. The energetic dynamo heads up Yum’s Foundation, which reaches around the globe to fight hunger. Before moving to Louisville 20 years ago, she was in a high-profile position as a spokesperson in the Reagan and Bush White Houses.

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl’s name is always mentioned around town when it comes to wondering who will succeed Greg Fischer as Mayor. While that’s at least six years away, Wiederwohl has a pretty good job now – as chief of Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development arm. That puts here square in the middle of discussions about the downtown Convention Center, the planned Omni Hotel and dozens of other projects in all parts of the Metro. Not bad for someone who studied music in college.

In other news, I checked out the progress of Turkey Run Park, set to open this month, by bike. Joe’s Older Than Dirt is closing, but will be replaced by something cooler. The LEO Weekly Best of Louisville awards came out, and the list of activities for the weekend is vast — from the St. James Court Art Show to the Idea Festival to playoff soccer at Slugger Field. Hear about it all right here on the Rusty Satellite Show.

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Louisville Forward. Bill Brymer photo
Laura Melillo Barnum at Yum! Brands. Bill Brymer photo