Alumni Spotlight: Peggy Noe Stevens, "The Oprah of Entertaining"

A 1987 graduate from the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information, Peggy Noe Stevens has become an entrepreneurial skyrocket and a pioneer for women.  Peggy is the Founder and President of Peggy Noe Stevens and Associates, an image branding company, which focuses on improving the unique professional image of people and places. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, presenting about the importance of professional presence.  Additionally, Peggy is the world’s first female Master Bourbon Taster in the industry and can trace her lineage back to some of the great bourbon-making families in the Bluegrass.   In 2011, she founded the first women’s consumer organization in the beverage industry, Bourbon Women, which holds membership from women across the country.

Called the “Oprah of entertaining,” Peggy has represented Kentucky for such notables as Julia Child, Bobby Flay and the Prince of Spain. Her most recent work includes authoring the book, Professional Presence: A Four Part Guide to Building your Personal Brand. Peggy says inspiration for the book came from “advice she would have given herself in her early twenties for developing a career,” and she hopes it will serve that role for those who read it now.  When asked about how her Communication degree has served her, she says, it has allowed her to succeed in versatile roles including, public relations, public speaking, and marketing, “with a communication foundation, you can step in and out of all work environments and I am grateful for that.”

Taking Peggy back to her University of Kentucky days…

Most memorable moment at UK:  “Winning Greek Woman of the Year, which was awarded by my peers. I believe it was very representative of the work I did, and it was the first time I was awarded for being a leader.”

Favorite professor: “Professor Donnelly: Marketing.  He had practical experience and was a great presenter.”

Favorite class:  “Basic Public Speaking. It was my first taste of being in front of audience. I enjoyed getting up in front of my classmates and engaging them.”

Advice to becoming a better public speaker:  “Always put things into perspective. You are not curing cancer; you are just sharing knowledge with others. Everyone in room is just like you.  The audience is rooting for you and doesn’t want to see you fail.  Keep that in mind.”

Greatest professional accomplishment: “Starting my own company. I think I am a risk taker and I have always had an entrepreneurship spirit. Even after college, I knew I wanted to start my own company, but I couldn’t at that point. But, it was always a life goal of mine to start my own company by 40.”

What do you miss the most about college?  “There are two things I really miss about college. The first is the freedom to take any classes you want and be in charge of how you spend your time. The second is comradery and  spending time with your friends. It’s hard to do that once you are in your career and you have greater responsibilities.”

For more information on Peggy, you can go to her webpage: