Who We Are



Trek Advancement, LLC is a full-service consulting firm focused on helping our clients unlock the power of transformational philanthropy. We advocated a donor-centered approach that allows our nonprofit clients to practice philanthropy rather than fundraising, and to create opportunities to partner with donors to create win-win opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KELLY WESLEY TAYLOR, J.D.
Partner
Lexington, Kentucky 

 

Clients often hear Kelly say “You can do it! Now let’s get started!” She lives to energize others into action. Kelly is an activator. She wants to understand the context of a situation, explain why it happened, in order to find solutions to nuanced problems.  She has a gift for making the complex seem simple and works best as a hands-on trainer.  Kelly also has a strong sense of commitment and is highly motivated to see things carried through to completion. Her work is a way of life, not just a job. In search of significance Kelly strives for what’s exceptional, what’s excellent and what’s authentic. Mediocrity is her nemesis. Kelly takes risks and gladly meets new challenges. She believes that philanthropy is an expression of our human connectedness. 

 

In her efforts to design a life well lived, Kelly co-founded Trek Advancement in 2009.  Trek’s guiding philosophies of good governance, solid leadership, donor-centered fundraising and mission focused action help clients build sustainable fundraising efforts. Kelly is a planned giving nerd and uses this passion to navigate comprehensive fundraising campaigns.  A talented strategic thinker and influencer, Kelly enjoys working with clients to define their strategic goals and help them create their unique roadmap for success.  Kelly likes to engage in conversations either one or one or with an audience of hundreds.  

 

Professional and Educational Background

  • Founder Trek Advancement
  • University Advancement, University of Louisville / James Graham Brown Cancer Center
  • Alumni Affairs and Development, Harvard University
  • JD, Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville
  • BA, Political Science, University of Kentucky

 

Skills and Services 

  • Comprehensive Campaign Counsel 
  • Planned Giving Assessment and Program Design 
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Presentations 
  • Executive Search and Coaching 
  • Individual and Family Philanthropic Advising 
 


 


BROOKS A. SCUDDER, M.P.A.
Partner
Lexington, Kentucky 

 

Brooks is the epitome of flexibility.  He has been “up the mountain” of capital campaign efforts many times and understand its demands, obstacles and challenges.  Unforeseen detours to a plan don’t sidetrack him; he anticipates them.  His ability to improvise and overcome ensures our clients remain productive and moving forward.  As a coach and consultant Brooks is keenly aware of the needs and desires of others.  He is generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in situations.  
 
Brooks co-founded Trek Advancement with Kelly Taylor and Jessica Bergman in 2009 in an effort to build a philanthropy consulting practice that was holistic in its approach, and donor-centered in its execution.  For Brooks honesty and trust are paramount guiding principles, and make him a confident mentor who clients feel comfortable approaching with any need. 
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Founder Trek Advancement
  • Director of Regional Development, University of Louisville
  • Director of Advancement, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry
  • Director of Development, Lexington Catholic High School
  • Assistant Executive Director, National Tourism Foundation
  • Master of Public Administration, Eastern Kentucky University
  • BA, History, Eastern Kentucky University
 
Skills and Services
  • Comprehensive Campaign Counsel
  • Major Gifts and Regional Development Programs
  • Presentations
  • Executive Search and Coaching
 


 

BETH BELL
Executive Vice President 
Lexington, Kentucky 

 

 

 

 

Beth is a keen relationship builder, specifically talented in bringing a positive outlook to her work – her enthusiasm is contagious! Her energy and optimism alleviate the pressures that come with any fundraising effort. Beth navigates Trek Advancement's clients along their roadmap for success with the motivation and good humor to make the journey fun.
 
Beth’s career path has been one filled with diversity-from Bangladesh to Lexington and a few stops in between—the commonality has been her passion for engaging in work that is meaningful and transformational. She enjoys diving into new challenges and all the details that come with them. Data is her friend and she looks for patterns that may help answer questions or solve problems.
 
Now a Lexingtonian for life, Beth is passionate about her community—Thoroughbred horses, UK Basketball, rolling countryside—she’s drunk the Koolaid. Beth strives to make Lexington an even better place through volunteer service. She enjoys spending time outside with her husband, two young children, and mutt dog.
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Account Planning & Strategy, Cornett (Advertising & Marketing)
  • Annual Fund & Signature Events, The Land Trust for Tennessee
  • Merchant Services, Newtek Community Financial
  • BA, Economics, Sewanee: The University of the South
 
Skills and Services
  • Comprehensive Campaign Counsel 
  • Capital Projects Campaign Counsel
  • Internal Readiness and Feasibility Study Design and Process
  • Annual and Major Giving Program Design
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Special Events 
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Presentations 
 
 

CHERYL K. ESTES, M.S.
Administrative Assistant
Lexington, Kentucky

 

 

Cheryl brings to Trek a passion for education and personal health. She is instinctively drawn to the process of gaining knowledge and skills with a great desire to learn and continuously improve. She equates education with understanding more about something today than she did yesterday. She is not easily flustered by unexpected events – a “go with the flow” attitude. Her strengths impel her to do things the right way with a commitment to stable values. 
 
Cheryl came to Trek in 2015 with experience working with non-profits and office management.  She has a capacity for keeping things in order as she keeps the Trek office running smoothly.
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Administrative Coordinator, Trek Advancement
  • Outreach Coordinator/Instructor, Lexington Healing Arts Academy
  • Administrative Assistant, University of Kentucky
  • Volunteer Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy, Kentucky Chapter
  • MS, Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky
  • BS, Biology, University of Kentucky
 
Skills and Services
  • Prospect research
  • Budget planning
  • Office management 
  • Seminars
 

 


JESSICA TERRY BERGMAN, M.A.
Trek Advancement Senior Associate
New Albany, Indiana 

 

Jessica is an analytical maximizer who likes to understand an individual’s or organization’s strengths to stimulate personal and group excellence. She is intrigued with the unique qualities of each person, culture, or a group dynamic. She has a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together peacefully and productively.  She is deeply committed to the people and organizations she serves along with the places they call home. Jessica believes that leadership development, education and philanthropy are the keys to building organizations and communities that can thrive and sustainably grow. Additionally, Jessica loves nothing more that a big fat crazy idea. Ideas are fascinating to her and her ability to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena can lead to her to unique solutions to everyday problems. 
 
Over the course of her career, she has worked with various schools and organizations in professional and volunteer capacities to assess their current strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to build a big picture assessment from which to move forward with best practices.
 
Professional and Educational Highlights
  • Founder, Trek Advancement LLC
  • Mission Advancement, Vice President, Union College
  • Student Development, Dean of Students, Lees-McRae College
  • MA, Geography, Appalachian State University
  • BS, Sociology, Union College
 
Skills and Services 
  • Annual and Major Giving Program Design
  • Program Assessment and Measurement Development
  • Staff Training and On-Boarding
  • Personal Coaching 
  • Internal Readiness and Feasibility Study Design and Process
  • Group Facilitation and Team Building

 

 

MEGHAN CAPLAN, J.D.
Trek Advancement Associate
Louisville, Kentucky

 

 

 

 

Meghan is a strategic thinker who loves using innovation and creativity to help clients reach their goals.  She is intrigued with the unique qualities of each person, and has a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together for a common mission.  In drawing out the strengths of teams, Meghan loves maximizing potential and uncovering unique ideas to help organizations achieve group excellence.  She is an intuitive advisor who loves working hand in hand with clients.  Deeply motivated by empowering others, Meghan is focused on digging beneath the complex surface to simplify, connect, and transform! 
 
Philanthropy is the journey.  Motivated by her deep desire to advise organizations on their unique individual paths, she joined Trek Advancement in 2018.   Personally inspired by the power of individuals to make change in the world, Meghan believes that people are only limited by the bounds of their imaginations. She is proud to utilize the depth of her skills in an exciting way -- and empower the change-makers of the future.
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Director of Institutional Advancement, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, KY
  • Adjunct Professor, Spalding University, Louisville, KY
  • Trust Consultant, US Bank Corp., Minneapolis, MN
  • JD, Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, MN 
  • BA, International Studies, Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Lean Six Sigma White Belt Certification
  • Trained at Indiana University Lilly Center on Philanthropy
 
Skills and Services 
  • Comprehensive Campaign Counsel 
  • Planned Giving Assessment and Program Design 
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Annual Fund & Major Gift Growth
  • State Funding Initiatives
  • Foundation and Corporate Giving 
  • Leadership & Board Development
  • Communications & Special Events 


 

PAUL B. CHEWNING, Ed.D.
Trek Advancement Of Counsel 
Lexington, Kentucky
 
 
Volunteer, mentor, help, do whatever you can.  That’s how Paul approaches life.  Paul is known to boost the esteem or confidence of an individual and takes a commonsense approach to situations.  He enjoys being generous with his time, knowledge, skills and experiences, and resources as demonstrated by more than forty years in alumni and development work.  He practices these characteristics being an active volunteer with nonprofit organizations.  He is known to bring an upbeat perspective to helping solve client needs, as well as working with volunteers.  And along the way if you need a smile, compliment or helping hand, Paul will be right there for you. Everyone who knows him will tell you that he will do whatever it takes to bring the best out of people-and to make sure they receive the credit and recognition.
 
Paul enjoys connecting with clients who need help analyzing their program needs.  He approaches his work using philosophies that Trek embraces - a holistic and sustainable approach.  Alumni continue to be an integral component of the health and vitality of educational institutions, just like members and participants of other nonprofit organizations.  He believes in focusing on identifying the exciting opportunities of connecting and reconnecting people and programs to support the vision and mission of each client.
 
*Bonus!  Paul practices what he preaches.  He’s a Scout Leader, President of the Lexington Rotary Club, beyond-the-backyard birdwatcher and international traveler.
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Appalachian College Association
  • West Virginia Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • EdD, Drake University
  • MA, University of Minnesota
  • BA, Bethany College (WV)
 
Skills and Services
  • Strategic Planning/Visioning
  • Alumni Surveys
  • Alumni Program and Service Assessments
  • External Operational Assessments
  • Board and Volunteer Development
 

 

Rick DuBose
Trek Advancement Of Counsel 
Bowling Green, Kentucky

 

Rick considers his ability to connect people and create an atmosphere of trust and respect to be the foundation of his diverse and successful career. He believes having fun to be critical to successful team performance.  His open, friendly and genuine personality has contributed to his success in everything he has done, especially fundraising. People just feel comfortable with Rick and are willing to share their stories with him. Throughout his career in higher education and beyond, he is credited with making others around him better by creating an environment for others to grow professionally. His ever-present smile puts everyone at ease. His ability to adapt to most any situation made it possible for Rick to be successful in leadership roles in a variety of career assignments. He feels these qualities are his strengths when helping clients of all sizes, needs and aspirations strive to reach their goals. 
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Leadership role in Western Kentucky University’s first two comprehensive campaigns that raised more than $300M
  • WKU Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations/Chief of Staff/Director of Corporate Foundation Relations
  • BA, Political Science, Western Kentucky University

 

 

BILL LARAMEE, Ed.D.
Trek Advancement Of Counsel 
Berea, Kentucky

 

Bill brings forty years of higher education leadership and fundraising experience to the Trek team. He has a deep commitment to value-based institutions and to supporting leaders who aspire to purposeful action. As a life-long learner, he has a thirst for new ideas and enjoys bringing ideas to a place of action, and especially so when those ideas create bridges for social justice.  He is known for asking good questions and observing and listening carefully to help others achieve personal and professional ambitions and to find either small or large ways to impact the day-to-day quality of life in our communities, colleges, churches, and, for some, the world stage.   
 
Bill’s passion equates with a psychological ownership for anything he commits to, whether large or small. That ownership will always be driven by a process of learning and desired outcomes, supported by respectful and deepening relationships with colleagues. The process of learning is most fulfilled when Bill can help others take delight in discovering that beneath many complex ideas rest action that is morally and ethically sensitive and professionally sensible. Often times that means dealing with a lot of grey but it’s in that tension that Bill most enjoys interacting with colleagues. 
Bill is comfortable engaging in conversations about most any topic but is especially interested in higher education, faith-based studies and work, and environmental conservation.
 
Bill presently serves on the board of Warren Wilson College, NC, a board member for Sustainable Harvest International, ME, and as a board member for the Lyndon State College Foundation, VT. He has taught in the areas of philanthropy, business management and marketing, education and general studies and has published a number of professional articles in the area of philanthropy, board development, student affairs, work-learning, leadership and spiritual and moral development.
 
Bill and his wife, Monica, presently divide their year between Berea, KY and northern VT.    
 
Professional and Educational Background
  • Emeritus Vice President for Alumni and College Relations, Berea College, Berea, KY
  • Dean of Institutional Advancement, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont
  • Dean of Students at Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont
  • Ed.D, Educational Leadership, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA  
  • M. Ed., Guidance and Counseling, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. MA
  • Masters of Liberal Studies, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
  • B.S. Business Management, Western New England University, Springfield, MA
 
Skills and Services
  • Coaching in higher education leadership
  • Counsel on overall management and best practices in Development and Alumni Services
  • Board assessment and development
  • Strategic planning for higher education
 

 

 

VICKY MYERS
Trek Advancement Of Counsel 
Lexington, Kentucky

Vicky is an achiever looking forward to applying 35-plus years of advancement leadership to help Trek clients harness the power of philanthropy to activate change.  A strong believer that if things aren’t moving forward, they are falling behind, Vicky seeks the best available data and relies on well-honed instincts to forge strategies that generate results.  She loves the challenge of discovering the way forward -- and coaching, encouraging and inspiring colleagues to use their own gifts and talents to rise to their full potential.  Meeting deadlines, keeping promises and paying attention to details are the foundation of her work ethic and the everyday means to producing spectacular results.  
 
Her broad platform of experience and perspectives include working in higher education, the environment, science and medicine, the arts and social welfare.  A life long passion for learning drives Vicky’s personal philosophy and approach to life and she is at her very best when her work aligns with her personal interests and values.  Curiosity, humor and teamwork are hallmarks of her style.  She believes and has seen over and over again in the non-profit sector that relationships can be fiercely powerful forces for good.
 
 
Professional Education and Background
  • Chief Philanthropy Officer, University of Kentucky Medical Center (UK HealthCare)
  • Co-Founder, UK HealthCare Arts in HealthCare Program
  • Associate Vice President for Development, University of Miami Medical Center
  • National Fundraising Director, American Prairie Foundation
  • Vice President for Development, World Wildlife Fund
  • Executive Director, Center for Marine and Environmental Analyses, University of Miami
  • Director of External Relations, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami
  • Vice President, United Way Miami, Florida
  • BA, Journalism, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Post-graduate study, Environmental Science and Policy, University of Miami
  • Board Member and Development Committee Chair, Central Kentucky Riding for Hope
  • Past President and Board Member, Life Member, Ronald McDonald Charities of the Bluegrass
  • Past Board Member, National Society for Arts in HealthCare
 
Skills and Services
  • Comprehensive Campaign Counsel
  • Capital Projects
  • HealthCare Major Gifts and Grateful Patient Programs
  • Message and Case Statement Development, Philanthropy Writing
  • Strategic Planning, Program Design and Development
  • Staff Recruitment, Development and Retention Planning
  • Executive Search and Coaching
  • Board Development and Training
  • Family Philanthropy Advising