Humans of Lexington | Gathan Borden

Were you born and raised in KY or are you a transplant?
I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, so that always makes for great conversation and jokes since I market Lexington! I grew up in the suburbs of Louisville in the Fern Creek/Jeffersontown area.

Tell us about your family.
I was raised in a two-parent household and I have one older brother who lives in St. Louis, MO. My wife and I met at the University of Kentucky and we got married in 2006. Together we share a daughter, Sydney, who is 12 and a son, Christian, who is 8… and our newest member of the family is Teddy our poochon puppy.

What is your educational background and how did it help you acquire your current job?
I graduated from the University of Kentucky as a double major in Business Management and Business Marketing with a Minor in Communications. I think my classes along with my campus involvement helped steer me in my career choices and provided me with a solid foundation to build upon. I hustled so much in college, juggling classes, fraternity work and internships, and I use that same hustle mentality today.

What is your current job and what does it entail?
My current job is the Vice President of Marketing at VisitLEX. I oversee the marketing department, which also includes the Visitors Center. Our marketing team handles all the advertising, branding, marketing, public relations, social media, visitor services and web strategies for the city of Lexington as it relates to travel and tourism. My day-to-day is never the same, which keeps me energized, but I spend a great deal of time in meetings discussing and planning strategies to bring in more visitors to Lexington to help grow the local economy.

What is the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is that I get to create stories about Lexington and share them with the world.

How would you describe Lexington to someone that knew nothing about the city?
I often use three words – horses, bourbon and tranquil. I do tell people that Lexington is not a vacation destination, it’s a travel experience. And when I say that, I tell people that Lexington is a place where you want a car, so that you can drive around and experience horse farms, bourbon distilleries and other authentic Kentucky experiences that you don’t get to do when you go on a traditional vacation.

What do you love most about Lexington?
The scenery of Lexington is what I love most. Everyday I get to drive by these beautiful horse farms and bourbon distilleries and then, because I work downtown, I am surrounded by beautiful architecture too. These types of scenes are not something you can see just anywhere in the world; they are specific to Lexington.

Where are your go to “eat, stay and play” places in Lexington?
Since our office is in the renovated Courthouse, I tend to eat around those areas most often, so Zim’s and Oscar Diggs are two of my favorite places to eat. I recently stayed at the new City Center Marriott downtown a few months back and loved the experience there. For play, I would have to say the golf courses at Kearney Hills and Griffin Gate, the bourbon tasting and shopping experience at Justins’ House of Bourbon and the live music and cocktails at Creaux.

What is on your bucket list (within KY) that you have never had the opportunity to experience?
I have never been to Red River Gorge, and as much as we talk about it from a tourism perspective, I need to go see it for myself.

Gathan Borden VisitLex Humans of Lexington

Moving away from your professional life, a bit about you personally……

What’s your favorite place on earth?
The Caribbean – give me those beaches and clear water any day.

What historical event would you most like to have witnessed?
I would have to say August 28, 1963 with the March on Washington and the “I Have A Dream” speech. Ironically, it is a speech and a cause that we are still fighting for 57 years later.

What is your most prized possession?
I have a photo of my mother and I dancing at my wedding, that means the world to me. My mother lost her battle to breast cancer 6 weeks after I got married, so she never got to see me become a father and my kids never got to meet her. I share stories about her with them all the time, as they each have a piece of her in them.

What places or adventures are still on your bucket list?
A trip to Paris and Italy are on my bucket list and an adventure that my brother and I are doing is trying to get to every professional football stadium to see an NFL game. We’ve been making yearly NFL trips for the past 5 years or so.

What’s your no-fail go-for-it motivational song?
Without a doubt it would be “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. He was a hip-hop legend, and, in this song, he talks about his rise to fame not being easy. The song also talks about the people who doubted his potential, people he looked up to for inspiration and guidance, and the overall message that no matter what you face growing up, you have the opportunity to make something of yourself.

What’s the best mistake you ever made?
I was an athlete growing up, and I ran track at the University of Kentucky, but chose to step away after my freshman due to injuries. It’s a regret that still haunts me to this day, but had I continued to run track, I doubt I would have been able to experience everything that came my way in college after that. It taught me that sometimes you have to take a step back so that you can take two steps forward.

If you could choose any magical power, what would it be?
I actually have this conversation a lot with my 8-year-old son, and my magical power would be the ability to fly.

What’s one thing you’d change about yourself?
Not. A. Thing. There are areas I would like to continue to improve on, but I wouldn’t change anything, because that is what makes me who I am today.

What is your pettiest pet peeve?
People who friend you and converse with you on social media, but don’t speak in public when they see you.

What is something very few people know about you?
I come from a very musical family, so growing up, I learned to play five instruments and I was in the marching band in high school. I was that rare breed of the guy who played sports and was in the band. I also currently sing in a gospel group and have recorded a gospel album as part of a choir.

If someone were to provide you with an all-expenses paid vacation to anywhere – where would you go and who would you take with you?
My destination would have to be Africa. And I’m bringing my wife and kids, my brother and his family, my father and our close group of friends and their families.