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A Shelbyville resident was recently named the 2009 Kentucky Business and Professional Women Young Careerist.
Elizabeth Nichols won the nomination by the Shelby County Business and Professional Women chapter and won the regional and state competitions. She was invited to give her speech at the national conference in St. Louis.
Mary Jo Newton, past president of Shelby County BPW, said Nichols is the second from the chapter to win the state contest, which is for young, upcoming women in a career. Tina Tipton won in 1972.
Nichols said she was honored to get the title.
"I just felt very honored to receive such an award," she said. "I couldn't have done it without all the support of my parents and all the mentors I have."
Newton said Nichols' work ethic and community service is why she won.
“When she sets her mind to do something, she's going to do the very best she can,” Newton said. “She's involved in a lot of things and wants to be involved in her community.”
Nichols works with families in the drug court as the program supervisor for Shelby, Spencer and Anderson counties.
She said she tries to be a role model to the young women who she sees in the court.
"I try to show them the opportunities there are for women," Nichols said.
She said it's rewarding to know the work she's doing is making a safer and stronger community.
“I remember a participant saying while I was holding one of their children, 'Ms. Elizabeth, just imagine how much you're going to love your own because you love us so much,'" Nichols said in a press release. "It really touched my heart because they know I am here to help them become successful members of society and truly care about their sobriety.”
Nichols also has volunteered at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Shelby County Probation Parole and the Louisville morgue.
Tina Messer, regional drug court supervisor, said in the press release that she could see why Nichols won the award.
“She is the consummate professional,” she said. “Elizabeth approaches her work with energy, enthusiasm and efficiency. I am very lucky that I get to work with her.”
Nichols received a bachelor's degree in political science from Western Kentucky University and a master's degree in criminal justice and policy studies from Eastern Kentucky University.
She is the daughter of Jerry and Candora McKinley and the wife of Kyle Nichols.