Hustle Heart FB coverMADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/4/19) — Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. will host its 5th annual 2019 Women’s Conference, themed “Hustle & Heart,” Thursday, April 11 at the Ballard Convention Center.

Helen Gülgün Bukulmez, a Lexington attorney specializing in immigration and personal-injury law and Northern Kentucky University law professor, and Tammie McCullough, co-owner of West KY Aquaponics in Draffenville, are the scheduled keynote speakers.

Bukulmez regularly speaks on topics related to entrepreneurialism, business development, wellness, law project management, attorney marketing and technology at local and national conventions. Born to Bosnian and Macedonian parents, she was raised in Urla, Izmir, a small Bosnian immigrant town of farmers on the Aegean coast of Turkey. She earned a degree in business and economics from the University of Uludag in Bursa, Turkey, and studied psychology at the University of Kentucky. She received her Juris Doctor degree from NKU Chase College of Law and is licensed to practice law in Kentucky.

“It is an honor to be invited to share time with the creative, talented, brilliant people of Madisonville,” Helen Bukulmez said in a statement. “It is the exact same hustle and love that takes a young woman across the oceans away from anything familiar that keeps her eyes set on success and finally gives her the life that is better than her dreams. The same care in raising her young child that also makes her one of the better leaders in her community."

McCullough founded West KY Aquaponics ( with her husband, father and son in 2016. In aquaponics, the waste produced by farmed fish supplies nutrients for crops grown in water, and this integrated process, in turn, purifies the closed-loop system. With support in business planning from the Murray State University’s Small Business Development Center, ground was broken in autumn 2017 for an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, bio-secure greenhouse in Draffenville. 

“It is my privilege to be asked to speak at the Women’s Conference in Madisonville,” she said. “I’m looking forward to sharing my entrepreneurial story and hope to inspire other women to pursue their dreams.”

The EDC reports more than 80 women-owned businesses help fuel the economic vitality of the region, and, since 2013, women have accounted for almost exactly half of the civilian labor force in Hopkins County.

“This conference is annually a great professional networking event and learning opportunity, and we are particularly excited about the two keynote speakers we landed for this year’s event,” MHCED president Ray Hagerman said. “Also, given the conference’s success in its first four years, we are expanding the schedule and opening vendor space for women-owned businesses to come out and introduce themselves to the community.”

Tickets for the 2019 Women’s Conference in Madisonville are $20 and include breakfast and lunch. Conference tickets with vendor space (with chairs and tables provided) are $50. Visit to register. For more information on the Women’s Conference, contact Ruthann Padgett with Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development at (270) 821-1939, extension 202, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SurfKY News

Information provided by Ruthann Padgett

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