Lead­er­ship Memphis seeks nom­i­nees

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint - Your Turn

Less than 10 years af­ter the as­sas­si­na­tion of Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., a head­line in The Wall Street Jour­nal read “Memphis: The Sun Belt’s Dark Spot.” The dis­mal ed­i­to­rial ex­posed the world to the po­lice and fire strikes, Na­tional Guard pa­trols and cur­fews, burn­ing build­ings, and other aw­ful events that had taken over the Bluff City. It was dur­ing this time when many were turn­ing their backs on Memphis that civic leader Kate Gooch, lawyer Lewis Donel­son and lawyer Lu­cius Burch rec­og­nized an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate mo­men­tous change.

These three vi­sion­ar­ies un­der­stood that a city is only as great as its lead­er­ship and, along with 140 sup­port­ers, they were de­ter­mined to take bold ac­tions to change Memphis for the bet­ter. The re­sult of their ef­fort was The Memphis In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Re­spon­si­bil­ity, a bold new non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion and the fore­run­ner to Lead­er­ship Memphis, whose mis­sion has re­mained to pre­pare and mo­bi­lize lead­ers to work for the good of the whole com­mu­nity.

In 1979, Lead­er­ship Memphis grad­u­ated its in­au­gu­ral class. Forty years and 3,377 alumni later, we are proudly cel­e­brat­ing our 40th an­niver­sary of im­pact­ing change in Memphis.

The list of in­di­vid­u­als who have grad­u­ated from our pro­grams or served with us over the past forty years is as im­pres­sive as it is di­verse and in­cludes civic, com­mu­nity, and spir­i­tual lead­ers, may­ors, mem­bers of the Memphis City Coun­cil and Shelby County Com­mis­sion, lawyers, teach­ers, busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, as well as state, re­gional and fed­eral of­fi­cials.

Each of these people has im­pacted change in their ca­reers and com­mu­nity, but we know more in­di­vid­u­als de­serve to be rec­og­nized for help­ing to make Memphis bet­ter.

As we cel­e­brate our 40th an­niver­sary, we will be hon­or­ing our orig­i­nal found­ing board of directors, which in­cluded Fedex founder Fred Smith, Au­to­zone founder J.R. Pitt Hyde, for­mer Memphis Mayor Dr. W.W. Her­en­ton, the Rev. So­nia Walker, a so­cial jus­tice ad­vo­cate, busi­ness­man and de­vel­oper Jack Belz, and Kate Gooch, as well as another 10 founders who will be rec­og­nized posthu­mously.

In ad­di­tion, we will pay trib­ute to 40 Change Mak­ers who have made Memphis bet­ter, as se­lected from four main cat­e­gories: 1 Busi­ness 2 Health care 3 Arts/ed­u­ca­tion 4 Non­profit/com­mu­nity

We are ask­ing the com­mu­nity for nom­i­na­tions. Change Mak­ers do not have to be an alum­nus of Lead­er­ship Memphis. A panel of judges will make the fi­nal se­lec­tions, 10 per cat­e­gory, and they will be hon­ored at the Lead­er­ship Memphis 40th An­niver­sary Lun­cheon on May 21, 2019, co-chaired by Fedex ex­ec­u­tive In­volve­ment Shan­non Brown and lawyer Julie El­lis.

We are ac­cept­ing nom­i­na­tions for in­di­vid­u­als who fit the def­i­ni­tion of a Change Maker:

1 One who drives change by gath­er­ing knowl­edge, gal­va­niz­ing re­sources and us­ing their con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence to fa­cil­i­tate change, or

2 A per­son who in­spires change that im­pacts a broad base of people ei­ther so­cially, ed­u­ca­tion­ally, eco­nom­i­cally, spir­i­tu­ally or po­lit­i­cally.

Please join us in cel­e­brat­ing 40 years of Lead­er­ship Memphis by mak­ing your nom­i­na­tion for a Change Maker from the past 40 years. You can do so on our web­site: lead­er­ship­mem­phis.org.

As Lead­er­ship Memphis moves into the next forty years, we take with us the rich his­tory of our city and the pas­sion­ate people who are at the heart of it, and we are hon­ored to con­tinue pre­par­ing and mo­bi­liz­ing civic lead­ers to im­pact change for a Greater Memphis.

David Wil­liams is Pres­i­dent/ceo of Lead­er­ship Memphis

David Wil­liams Guest colum­nist

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