Join us in congratulating – and working beside – KFTC’s Co-Executive Directors | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Join us in congratulating – and working beside – KFTC’s Co-Executive Directors

KFTC’s Steering Committee is excited to announce that Joan Brannon and Lisa Abbott have accepted the positions of Co-Executive Directors!

Joan and Lisa are a committed and dynamic pair to steward KFTC’s work toward our
Audacious Goal and vision. They bring a combination of organizational knowledge and fresh perspective, cultural organizing experience and campaign skills, and so much more to our executive leadership.

Joan Brannon has worked to advance racial, economic, and social justice for over three decades. A Kentucky born percussionist and filmmaker, Joan is a healing activist, who utilizes art as a tool for community-building throughout the state. She founded DrummingWorks and has held leadership positions in non-profit and arts organizations, including the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, West Louisville Women’s Collaborative, ArtsPower and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Joan joined KFTC’s staff team last year as Organizing Co-Director and has supported KFTC’s Organizational Change Initiative, Healing and Reconciliation, staffed the Racial Justice Policy Strategy Team, worked with the Voting Rights Spokesperson Initiative, and more.



Lisa Abbott began organizing with KFTC chapters in Eastern Kentucky in 1992, and has served in a range of leadership roles within KFTC’s organizing team over three decades. She is currently an Organizing Co-Director and coordinates KFTC’s work on climate, energy and environmental justice, and Just Transition. She led a collaborative process from 2015 to 2017 to create the Empower Kentucky Plan and has continued to support KFTC chapters, recently working with Big Sandy members to launch the EKY Community Remembrance Project.

She currently represents KFTC with the Green New Deal Network, Rural Power Coalition, and United Frontline Table, serves on the boards of Climate Justice Alliance and New World Foundation, and is a Philanthropic Trustee of The Solutions Project.

“This creates a new chapter for KFTC, one that invites those that believe change is possible to join the movement,” noted Ebony O’Rea, KFTC At Large Representative. “Joan and Lisa create the balance that will help us all get to our next, new shore.”


As the search for new leadership ends, we thank the Transition Team – Rebecca Tucker, David Miller, Kathy Curtis, K.A. Owens, Dana Beasley Brown, Sharon Murphy, Tayna Fogle, Jessica Hays Lucas, and Heather Mahoney – for their patient, persistent, principled, and productive work over the last 15 months. Thanks also to Emily Goldfarb and Anita Budhraja with GoldRio Consulting for their guidance and support. We owe an especially tremendous amount of gratitude to Heather Mahoney, who also served as Acting Executive Director during this time. 


Time after time in KFTC’s journey – beginning with the members at that first KFTC meeting in 1981 and continuing through scores of grassroots leaders and staff team members – people have shown up to share leadership of the organization and work for a better Kentucky.  We look forward to Joan and Lisa’s contributions to that story.

As Kathy Curtis, KFTC At-Large Representative, said, “In Joan and Lisa we have a team of women dedicated to a better KFTC and Kentucky. All they need is us beside them.”

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating – and working beside – KFTC’s new Co-Executive Directors, Joan Brannon and Lisa Abbott.