Leadership Memphis seeks nominees
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