The crowd responded with a standing ovation Thursday night when Christina Finley was named the 2010 Woman of the Year.

Finley said she was “speechless” when her name was announced — but she quickly rebounded and expressed her gratitude to the group attending Thursday’s Women in Business awards ceremony at the London Community Center.

“To think I was chosen among all these outstanding women,” Finley said.  “This makes me feel very humble.”

Finley, who founded The Job Shop Staffing Services, was one of 36 women nominated for the honor at the second annual event, coordinated by the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador’s Club.

Finley’s many accomplishments include serving as education chair for the chamber of commerce, as well volunteering time with March of Dimes, the United Way, UNITE and her children’s schools. She was also recognized for her devotion to her children and her unrelenting faith in God, and proved she was committed to them as she ended her speech.

“This is an honor,” Finley said. “I thank my family, my employees, and most of all, my Lord and Savior.”

The other four winners included: Dana Johnson, L&N Credit Union, in the Quality of Life category; Virginia Dempsey, president of Saint Joseph-London in the healthcare category; Rachel Hacker, Bush Elementary teacher and founder of Camp L.E.A.P., in the education division; and Carletta Watkins, owner of Carletta Watkins Photography, in the business/enterpreneurship category.

Minuteman Press owner Garry Conley got many laughs and lots of applause when he talked to the crowd about the importance of women.

“God worked hard for six days and then he rested,” Conley said. “It says that in the Bible. He created man and he looked around and said, ‘This is not good.’ Then he created woman and said, ‘This is good.’”

Lucille Carloftis and her son, Jon, were guest speakers. Jon is a nationally known garden designer who got his inspiration from his mother. Jon and Lucille operate Rockcastle River Trading Company in Livingston. Lucille also read excerpts from her book, “A Wonderful Journey.”

The ceremony featured musical selections by Jeff Rehmet and vocal performances by Brandy Mullins and Presley Morgan. There was also a table decorating competition, of which Flowers by Charles Ray was the winner. Other table decor selections were donated by Carousel Florist & Gifts, Elegant Designs by Robert, Heaven Sent Flowers, Lowe’s of London, Ryser’s and The White Lily Florals & Gifts.

Staff writer Nita Johnson can be reached by e-mail at

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