2021 Change Makers Awards

Leadership Memphis is seeking nominations from the community for its Change Maker Awards.

Leadership Memphis celebrated its 40th Anniversary by honoring 40 Change Makers from the past 40 years at the 40th Anniversary Luncheon in May 2019. The following year, Leadership Memphis honored more of the Mid-South’s most impactful leaders at its Leadership Awards Luncheon on March 6, 2020 at the Holiday Inn – University of Memphis. The organization is now preparing to select its next round of Change Makers and is asking for community input to give everyone an opportunity to put forward an individual they believe to be a Change Maker.

Leadership Memphis defines a Change Maker as an individual who changed the lives of others in a positive way through their actions. David Williams, Previous President/CEO, further describes a Change Maker saying, “Each Change Maker has impacted our community in a very big and in a very positive way. Their work has helped enhance the quality of life and livelihoods of others and made Memphis a better place in the process.”

A Change Maker can create dynamic change in one or more sectors, including business, nonprofit, academic, government, faith neighborhoods, the arts and the community at large. A Change Maker might be someone who has been a “serial” change maker over their lifetime or an emerging change-maker who has demonstrated the ability to make sustainable change for the betterment of Memphis.

“Leadership Memphis seeks to recognize and reward these transformers for their achievements through our Change Maker Awards,” continued Williams. “These awards seek to celebrate those individuals who through their work have contributed to improving the community in a meaningful way. Because of them, Memphis has been changed for the better and changed forever.”

Nominations from the community can be made by clicking the link below with a deadline of 5:00 p.m. on December 18, 2020. The panel of judges will select up to ten Change Makers who will be honored at the Annual Leadership Memphis Awards Luncheon on March 12, 2021 at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis.

The community can view a list of the previous ten Change Makers awarded in March 2020 and the inaugural 40 Change Makers awarded in May 2019 below, along with the specific criteria to be used by the panel of judges for the next round of recipients.

Click Here To Submit Your Nomination!

2020 Change Makers 

Sen. Raumesh Akbari, State Senator, Tennessee General Assembly
Janet Boscarino, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Clean Memphis
Carol Coletta, President & CEO, Memphis River Parks Partnership
Willie Gregory, Director of Global Community Impact, Nike
Kevin Kane, President & CEO, Memphis Tourism
Anne Mathes, Executive Director, Community Legal Center
Dr. Isaac Rodriguez, Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer, Sweet Bio/Seeding Success
Richard Shadyac, President & CEO, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Dwayne Spencer, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis
Dr. Jan Young, Executive Director, Assisi Foundation

Inaugural 40th Change Makers 

Calvin Anderson, Retired,Chief of Staff and SVP, BlueCross Blue Shield
Ekundayo Bandele, Founder/CEO, Hattiloo
Ron Belz, President/COO, Belz Enterprises Inc
Kathy Buckman, Gibson President/CEO, KBG Technologies
Trey Carter, President, Olympic Career Training Institute
Staley Cates Vice-Chairman, Principal LongLeaf Partners Funds
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, The 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, First Baptist Church – Broad
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 and CEO, FedEx
Susan Stephenson, Founder & CEO, 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


  1. Responsible for leading far reaching community change in Memphis
  2. Result in a meaningful and measurable impact on other Memphians
  3. Champion diversity, equity and inclusion in Memphis
  4. Successfully bring about Memphis change in operation/sphere of influence
  5. Create change that is sustainable in Memphis
  6. Implement change that is adaptable and embraced by others in Memphis
  7. Serve as a role model for Memphians
  8. Inspire others to become change makers in Memphis
  9. Invest time, resources and talents in our community
  10. Demonstrate the importance of connectedness/collaboration in Memphis

Click Here To Submit Your Nomination!