Q and A with EP 2017 member Hardy Farrow

Posted by: Amber Hampton at  Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hardy Farrow, current 2017 Executive Program member, was recently named to the Forbes list of 30 under 30 in the category of Education. We sat down with him to talk to him about this recent recognition and how Leadership Memphis has helped him on his journey  as Executive Director of Let’s Innovate Through Education (LITE). 

Leadership Memphis: Tell us about your recent recognition.

Hardy Farrow: Mendell Grinter and I are the only Memphians in any category to make it on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and we were both recognized in Education. Only 600 people were selected for the list from a pool of 15, 000 nominations.

LM: How did LITE begin?

HF: I taught for two years and initially it was just part of the curriculum in my classroom. It started with 3-6 ideas a year we were working with. Then I started thinking, what if I work with Bridges, Street Ministries, and expanded this out of the classroom. I took one year to teach part-time and build the organization until I got to the point that I had enough students to go full capacity.

LM: As an innovator and leader in your field, what drew you to Leadership Memphis?

HF: I have been thinking a lot about how leadership develops over time and how someone can build on skills they are not so great at. I realized I’m a self-starter, but I don’t always seek collaboration. I really liked the cohort approach (in the Executive Program). With eight executives in each community it’s not about the person, but the group. I liked that over other programs with 1 on 1 work. These teaching strategies help to continue my development as a leader.

LM: How is Leadership Memphis helping you further your work and personal goals?

HF: I’ve met a lot of people I would have never been exposed to before. Part of what we do (at LITE) is expose the kids to a variety of industries, and sometimes it is hard to get exposure to those industries. Through Leadership Memphis, I have been able to meet people from all walks of life, build out more pipelines for my students, and pay attention to what successful people look like in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and think about how I get my students there. I’m learning what pathways I can expose them to for that success.

LM: How do you see Leadership Memphis impacting the community as a whole?

HF: Leadership Memphis does a good job of picking one or two focus areas and corals leadership and resources around that. In a city with a lot of things to work on, it is important to maintain focus, and you guys are doing a good job of finding niche areas that need help and focusing your resources on that. Douglass High School (the Leadership Club Farrow’s community cohort is involved with during the nine month class) has been eye-opening to focus on one community for the whole year. Sometimes we all want to impulsively run in and do it all, but Leadership Memphis is showing us how to be strategic in how to help. 

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