Carol Ely has served as executive director of Historic Locust Grove since 2004. She is also an adjunct professor in the University of Louisville’s graduate program in public history. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and theater from Tufts University and earned her doctorate in American history from Brandeis University. Before moving to Louisville, she was assistant director of the Paul Revere House in Boston, Massachusetts. She also wrote the book Jewish Louisville: Portrait of a Community. Her current obsession? The musical Hamilton.
What advice would you give the younger you?
It will all work out. I’m a worrier, but I’m lucky that it did all work out.
A lesson you learned the hard way?
You have to let go of things you have no control over. That’s a lesson I keep learning and relearning. It is sort of my job to be in control of a lot of things. Sometimes I just have to take a step back, get the view from above, gain some perspective, and go on. I can’t control the situation, but I can control how I respond to it.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten?
Oddly, a bit of good business advice came from the novel Disclosure by Michael Crichton: Solve the problem. There are always politics and differences of opinion, but if you can define the real problem you can find the real solution.
What the world needs now…
I wish more people understood the common good that comes from great schools, great parks, great social service programs, and great libraries, and would be more willing to fund them.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Illustration by Dan Kisner
P.S. Read the full interview here. Plus, a beautiful spot for sweet treats and some history.