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In honor of 100 years since women fought and received the right to vote, we are featuring local women who are improving our lives and breaking barriers today.

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Leading Louisville’s on-camera division of the Helen Wells Talent Agency, BETH HALL (center) is a skilled talent scout and acting coach who founded the Actors Center for Training. This summer she’s launching ACT Louisville’s Performing Arts Summer Intensives for young actors and teens.

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ERIN BRIDGES, 25, is the fundraising director for the Sunrise Movement, a group of young people across the country demanding economic and environmental change via the New Green Deal. Kentucky born and bred, Erin wants to dispel the myth that young people don’t have futures in this area, she says, and that investing in young women’s leadership is a winning strategy to stop climate change.

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A lively and captivating businesswoman, NATALIA BISHOP’s business, Level Up, is going national after winning the Midwest chapter of SoGal, a global pitch start-up competition. 

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Artist WHITNEY OLSEN’s confidence and energy flow through her work in a way that belies her youth. Her glasswork and prismatic cutouts suspended from KMAC’s ceiling over the holidays were feminine in a non cloying way, the work of an artist who is grounded when she wants to be and pure air when she doesn’t.

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At the age of 16, NICO THOM founded She Became, a non-profit mentoring program that teaches girls in grades 3-5 that “they can break any glass ceiling.” The group meets after school and instills confidence by educating students on the careers they’re able to choose as they grow into adulthood. Four years later, She Became now enrolls close to 200 young girls.

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SARAH STRITE, currently working at SOU!, one of the city’s hottest new restaurants, is a Sullivan University graduate who assisted in two James Beard House dinners and has held positions at several of Louisville’s most popular eateries, working her way up to the well-deserved rank of sous chef.

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Check out the complete lists of all 28 Women to Watch in Part 1 and Part 2.

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