Leadership Memphis Celebrates Four Decades of Rich History and Kicks Off 40 More Years of Impacting Change in Our “Place of Good Abode”

The energy was palpable. In a room filled with more than 700 Memphis movers and shakers surrounded by forty years of the city’s rich history – friends, classmates, and colleagues reunited as conversations ranged from catching up to sharing upcoming projects to making plans to work together on a new venture. Whatever the topic of discussion, it all came back to the reason we were in the room – Leadership Memphis was celebrating 40 years of making an impact in this “Place of Good Abode,” and everyone in the room played a hand in reaching that momentous milestone.

Looking back on what has been accomplished, whether in the past 200 years, 40 years, or even two years, one cannot help but be inspired. The volume of great things that have been done in Memphis could seem exhausting, but if you choose to use them as a springboard for exploring the many great things left to do, it is also inspiring. Great things don’t just happen, though; they take great people – great LEADERS – from every corner of our community. Leaders in business, non-profit, government, neighborhood, faith, and more, each of whom bring a different, yet equally valuable, perspective to the table.

There is a priceless synergy that is created by bringing together individuals with unique viewpoints and diverse backgrounds who have a shared passion for impacting change. Organizations like Leadership Memphis, whose purpose is to connect individuals who might not otherwise cross paths, are crucial for building a coalition of civic leaders who can tackle any challenge, obstacle, or issue that our community might face. We don’t know what we don’t know, but the more willing we are to open our minds and learn from each other, the higher our potential to accomplish remarkable things together.

The work that Leadership Memphis does is just as worthy of investment today as it was forty years ago when the founders first envisioned a path to lead Memphis out of the turmoil that had enveloped the city following the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we embark on the next 40 years of our investment in the Bluff City, Leadership Memphis has established three areas of focus:

  • Leadership
  • Volunteering
  • Networking

Each of these is a critical component to our continued commitment to bringing together the movers and shakers of our community for maximum impact. For Leadership, we are partnering with Leadership Tennessee and the University of Memphis for a Leadership Innovation Summit in October 2019 that will explore the impact of artificial intelligence on community. For Volunteering, in 2020, we will be partnering with F&H Solutions to host the Amazing Memphis Bike Build, which will ultimately provide more than 1,000 bikes to local youths. Our goal is to build 200 bikes in the first year. Finally, we are developing a new “Networking for Impact” series that we look forward to launching in the coming months.

Where do you (and we) go next? Your investment in Leadership Memphis is an investment in the next forty years and beyond in this “Place of Good Abode.”  What your investment looks like is up to you:

Finally – We want your feedback!

We need your input to complete a two-minute survey so we can continue to improve. Your thoughtful responses will help as we develop and plan future events and programs. Thanks in advance for your response! Take the survey HERE.

As Dr. King said, “I cannot be all that I ought to be until you are all that you ought to be.”  This quote has been the north star of every endeavor at Leadership Memphis and will continue to be our guiding principle for the future. We could not be all that we are without acknowledging and thanking the many generous individuals and organizations that have given of themselves to help celebrate 40 years of Leadership Memphis:

  • Presenting Sponsor FedEx
  • All corporate and table sponsors
  • Event Co-Chairs Shannon Brown and Julie Ellis
  • 40th Anniversary host committee and volunteers
  • Emcees Joe Birch and Mearl Purvis
  • 40th Anniversary program participants, especially Richard Smith
  • Executive Producer Beverly Robertson
  • 40 Change Makers
  • Leadership Memphis Board of Directors
  • All past Board Chairs and Board Members
  • Leadership Memphis Staff

Thank you, all, for celebrating 40 years of Leadership Memphis. We cannot wait for the next 40 years!

Ready for Your Photo Op?  Check out the many incredible photos from the 40th Anniversary Luncheon HERE.

Watch the video of the 40th Anniversary Celebration HERE.


Calvin Anderson Retired; Chief of Staff & SVP BlueCross BlueShield
Ekundayo Bandele Founder/CEO Hattiloo
Ron Belz President/CEO Belz Enterprises Inc.
Kathy Buckman Gibson President/CEO KBG Technologies
Trey Carter President Olympic Career Training Institute
Staley Cates Vice-Chairman Southeastern Asset Management, Inc.
Darrell Cobbins President & Principal Broker Universal Commercial
Adam Cruthirds Student Rhodes College
Fred Davis Founder Fred L. Davis Insurance Agency
Meka Egwuekwe Co-Founder & Executive Director CodeCrew
Marlon Foster Founder & Executive Director KnowledgeQuest
Art Gilliam CEO WLOK-AM 1340
Rabbi Micah Greenstein Senior Rabbi Temple Israel
Carolyn Hardy President & CEO Chism Hardy Investments LLC
Whitney Hardy Founder & Executive Director YoungArtsPatrons
Michael Hooks Jr. Owner & CEO AllWorld Project Management
Pitt Hyde III Founder Hyde Family Foundation
Dr. Stan Hyland Professor University of Memphis
Victoria Jones Founder The CLTV
Fred Jones Jr. Founder Southern Heritage Classic
Mary McDaniel Retired; President/Owner FedEx; MHM Consultants, LLC
Charles McVean Chairman & CEO McVean Trading & Investments
Dr. Scott Morris Founder & CEO Church Health
Rev. Dr. Keith Norman Pastor; Vice President of Government Affairs First Baptist Church-Broad; Baptist Memorial Healthcare
Deanie Parker Retired; President & CEO Soulsville Foundation
David Porter CEO Made in Memphis Entertainment
Stephen Reynolds Retired; President Emeritus Baptist Memorial Healthcare
Beverly Robertson President & CEO Greater Memphis Chamber
Dr. Kenneth Robinson President/CEO United Way of the Mid-South
Gayle Rose Founder & CEO EVS Corporation
Gary Shorb Executive Director The Urban Child Institute
Fred Smith Founder, Chairman & CEO FedEx
Susan Stephenson Co-Founder & President Independent Bank
Henry Turley Founder & CEO Henry Turley Company
Anita Vaughn Retired; CEO/Administrator Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women
Jose Velazquez Owner The James Lee House
Yancy Villa – Calvo Independent Artist
Rev. Sonia Walker Associate Pastor First Congregational Church
Spence L. Wilson Chairman Kemmons Wilson Companies
Lauren Wilson Young Founder & Owner Sweet Lala’s Bakery

40th Anniversary Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Founder Sponsor


Hyde Family Foundation

Prodigi Arts

Best Class Ever Sponsor 

AAR Corp

Baptist Memorial Health Care

Belz Enterprises



Morris Marketing Group

Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority

Regional One Health

Community Sponsor

Allworld Project Management


BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee


Butler Snow


Chism Hardy Enterprises

Drexel Chemical

Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc./Graceland

First Tennessee Foundation

Gayle Rose


Independent Bank

KBG Technologies

KRM Enterprises

Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation

Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC

McVean Trading & Investments

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Monogram Foods

NIKE, Inc.

Shelby County Board of Commissioners

Shelby County Government


SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

Temple Israel

Tower Ventures

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Table Sponsor

ALCO Management

Belinda Anderson/Ritche Bowden

brg3s architects


Christ Community Health Services


Greater Memphis Chamber

Huey’s Restaurants


Memphis Library Foundation

Memphis Tourism

Olympic Career Training Institute

Orion Federal Credit Union

Regions Bank

Saint Francis Healthcare


The Commercial Appeal

The J.M. Smucker Company


Turner Construction

University of Memphis

Urban Child Institute


Vernon & Barbara Stafford Jr.

To purchase table sponsorships, contact David Williams, President and CEO, at 901-628-6156 or dwilliams@leadershipmemphis.org

Event Co-Chairs

Shannon Brown, SVP of AGFS/Chief Diversity Officer, FedEx Express
Julie Ellis, Senior Council, Butler Snow

Host Committee

Belinda Anderson
Ritchie Bowden
Reggie Crenshaw
Scott Fountain
Carolyn Hardy
Janas Jackson
Terry Lynch
Valerie Morris
Reginald Porter Jr.
Beverly Robertson
Jack Sammons
Karl Schledwitz
Leigh Shockey
Brian Stephens
Percie Strong-Jenkins
Richard Smith
Rick Wagers
Kami Wigginton
David Williams