George Lindsey calls Tracy Frederick “The Little General” for only one reason: she earned the moniker.
What the Brown-Forman senior public relations specialist lacks in size, she more than makes up for with tenacity – but only when she has to.
Lindsey recalls witnessing Frederick lose her usual warm smile and display a ferocity he didn’t know she could muster while on the backside of Churchill Downs a day or two before the Kentucky Derby, the one time of year when even she admits, “Nobody scares me that week.”
Frederick had scheduled Brown-Forman Chief Entertaining Officer Tim Laird to appear on numerous radio and television shows from around the country, including a daily segment called “Cocktail Corner” with Lindsey and his 102.3 The Max co-hosts, Aaron Miller and Lynda Lambert, at the same time every morning. Then the crew from a national television network saw and recognized Laird. Even though the Louisville cocktail legend was supposed to go on air momentarily with Lindsey and his colleagues, “They grabbed him and they were going to take him and run off with him.” At least they tried.
Frederick, who is barely 5-foot-tall, put her foot down – literally – and firmly told the national crew they would have to wait their turn. “She said, “˜You back off,’ ” Lindsey recounted. “(She said), “˜We have a radio bit that we’ve done all week at this time – and he is doing it today.’ This guy was like 10 times her size, but she backed him down.”
Lindsey said he was undeniably impressed by her toughness, but she fully earned her nickname when he saw her other abilities. “She is the most organized person I’ve ever worked with in my entire life,” he said. “It’s like military precision how she gets things to go. “¦ She’s like, “˜At 7:06 this happens. At 7:12 this happens. At 7:18 this happens.’ I was like, holy cow! Little general. We just love working with her.”
FOX 41 Executive Producer Cara Sabin appreciates Frederick’s positive nature and ability to read a person’s emotions., “She has a really good understanding of what people are going through. She knows when to jump in and when to stand back. It’s her job to bridge that area between the people she’s trying to get in front of the media and the people in the media. It’s something that she’s learned over time, and she does it very, very well.”
So well, in fact, that Sabin doesn’t bother ringing up anyone else – and she means anyone – when she’s ready to fill Derby Week time slots for WDRB’s “Fox in the Morning” show. “She is absolutely my first call when we start planning those six live shows that we do on the backside. I can always depend on her. She’s that go-to person for us.”
Frederick has had to cultivate her skills on the job. She started as a temporary employee at Brown-Forman after graduating from college with a speech pathology degree and trying to figure out her next step.
Rick Bubenhofer, the company’s public relations director, was wowed by Frederick, as were many others at Brown-Forman. When she interviewed for a full-time position in Bubenhofer’s department, it was clear she lacked the formal education, but Frederick “came in and she impressed me with her enthusiasm and her willingness to work and her ideas.”
Over the past decade, she’s worked her way up to her current position under Bubenhofer and now feels as if she’s doing what she was always destined to do. “I knew it was right when what I was doing didn’t feel like work,” regardless of the long hours, she said. Frederick also plans to stay with Brown-Forman for the long haul, “at least as long as they’ll have me.”
Brown-Forman definitely does, Bubenhofer said. “She’s a great asset. She is just remarkably buttoned down and fairly unflappable. She doesn’t get rattled. She knows what she’s doing. She’s just a terrific asset for what we’re trying to accomplish at Brown-Forman, and she’s made major contributions to the successes we’ve enjoyed. Plus, she’s just a heck of a lot of fun to work with.”
Husband Joe, head golf pro and general manager at Jeffersonville Elks Country Club in Jeffersonville; daughters Hyllie, 7, and Julia, 4; and 18 nieces and nephews.
A Frederick has been on Trinity High School’s campus since 1977. Right now we have a freshman, sophomore and senior. It’s fun to watch them grow.
Best adult beverage
Woodford has a special role in my life. I know (Woodford Reserve Master Distiller) Chris Morris might cringe, but I like to drink it with ginger ale. I also really like the French Martini: Finlandia Vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice. Tim Laird, Brown-Forman’s chief entertaining officer, taught me you’ve got to shake it really, really hard. I am so spoiled by very talented people who make my life easy.
Brown-Forman is a huge supporter of responsible drinking. We all want to celebrate, and we want to do it responsibly. That is why Brown-Forman partnered with City Scoot (a designated driver service located in Louisville). The company offers its employees free, anonymous access to City Scoot. Call (502) 566-6384 or go to cityscoot.com.
I’m trying to drink more water, but I’m a Coke girl.
Out ‘n’ about
Joe and I love low-key dinners. One of our favorite spots is Baxter Station. It’s just dark and quiet and low-key. Oh, and Joe loves the Cajun linguine.
I only buy on sale. I’m a mom and my kids come first. Probably my favorite place to shop is T.J.Maxx.
I love to read, even if it’s just reading my daughters’ books to them. My mom was like that.
Oh my goodness, the last movie I saw was (the animated hit) “Tangled.” It was great. Like my book list, my movies have changed. I really like lighthearted movies. I want to know that the boy ends up with the girl, and I can sleep through the night.
Par for the course
Joe and I met years ago when he was working at Seneca Golf Course as the golf pro. A girlfriend and I scheduled lessons with him; she canceled, but I went anyway. We’ve been together ever since. We’ll go out and play nine holes. He’s the most patient teacher and husband in a houseful of women.
Category: The Profile
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.