Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell is a GRAMMY Award-winning engineer, producer, composer, award-winning movie producer and studio owner.
Boo is the son of legendary Hi Records and Al Green producer, Willie Mitchell. He began his storied musical career in 1987 at the young age of 16 honing his chops song writing and playing keyboards. His first paid session as a keyboard player was in 1988 on Al Green’s GRAMMY Award-winning “As Long as We’re Together.” That same year, he formed a rap group called the M-Team. The M-Team was the first rap group from Memphis to release a full length album. The M-Team was also Memphis’ first rap group to have a video played on MTV (Can You Kick It Like This).
In 2016, Boo won the Record of the Year GRAMMY for the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk.” It was the first time a record made in Memphis has won a GRAMMY for Record of the Year.
Briahna Chambers is an instructor with Tech901.
Tech901 is a non-profit organization with a charter to train current or potential Memphians for a variety of information technology jobs and to work with employees to increase the Memphis technology job base. Briahna teaches various classes, including a CompTIA A+ course to a group of mostly high school students at the Juice Plus+ Technical Training Center at the Boys and Girls Club. She has also had the privilege of teaching multiple classes at the University of Memphis and at Tech901’s new headquarters at Crosstown Concourse.
Although she is relatively new to Memphis, Briahna sees tremendous potential in the city. Tech901 shares her vision, with a goal to facilitate the area’s growth to 10,000 area technology workers by 2025. She is working to increase the supply of trained tech workers in Memphis to assist the needs of local companies and to attract high-profile employers to Memphis.
Briahna has an MBA in Information Technology Management and degrees in both Computer Science and Business as well as multiple IT certifications.
rit Fitzpatrick is a tech entrepreneur, social innovator, and digital creative.
In 2013, she founded MentorMe, a startup building technology to make it easier for organizations to start, manage, and grow mentoring programs. Today, more than 100 schools and organizations have used MentorMe’s technology nationwide.
Brit has been invited to speak on entrepreneurship; social innovation; mentorship; and diversity in entrepreneurship and technology at conferences across the U.S. — including Dreamforce, White House Demo Day, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Summit. Her work has been profiled in national media outlets — including GOOD Magazine, Essence, Inc., FastCompany, and Madame Noire. And she has been honored as an American Express Top 50 under 40 in social enterprise.
Brit is a proud honors graduate of Howard University. A Louisville, KY native, Brit cites her “hometown hero” Muhammad Ali as one her most significant influences.
Cinthya Bolanos is a community-minded student entrepeneur.
Cinthya is an Educational Studies major at Rhodes College. She started a program called “Juntos” which provides Latinx elementary students books and spreads information regarding early childhood literacy. She also worked with Regional One Health to develop an Innovation Playbook that will help foster a culture of innovation in the hospital. She is currently working on developing an ordering and delivery system designed for stadiums called Clu.
Demetria Frank is an Associate Professor at the University of Memphis School of Law.
She is also the director of Project MI, a collaborative that aims to transform the criminal justice system by connecting communities to lawmakers. Demetria’s scholarly research focuses on prisoner rights and bias in the criminal justice system.
A native Houstonian, Demetria attended the University of Texas School of Law and began her legal career as a toxic tort litigation attorney before moving into the public sector as a Community Prosecutor in the Dallas City Attorney’s Office. Her tenure as an Associate Judge for the City of Dallas has been one of the most influential experiences in her legal career.
In her free time, Demetria enjoys cooking, travel, and spending time with her daughter, Tia.
Dorchelle Spence is Vice President of the Riverfront Development Corporation.
She provides strategic direction and oversight of new riverfront initiatives. In addition to serving as chief of staff, Dorchelle is responsible for marketing, public relations, advertising, community relations, fund development, programming and government relations.
Dorchelle is also a published author. Her novel, No Less Worthy, was released in 2014.
In 2013, she was named a Woman of Excellence by The New Tri-State Defender. In 2003, she was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by The Memphis Business Journal and in 2001, Dorchelle was named one of 50 Women Who Make a Difference by Memphis Woman magazine.
Dorchelle earned her MBA from the University of Memphis and is an alumnus of both Leadership Memphis and the New Memphis Institute.
Dr. Justin Baker
Justin Baker, M.D. is the chief of the Division of Quality of Life and Palliative Care for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
He works with patients who are facing the very real possibility of death. Justin is a leader in integrating palliative care into the care of children with cancer – a topic he frequently is asked to speak on both nationally and internationally.
Justin earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX, where he also completed his residency in pediatrics. He joined St. Jude in 2004, first as a fellow in pediatric hematology/oncology. He joined the faculty in 2007. He is also director of the hospital’s Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. In addition to his responsibilities at the hospital, he is married and the proud father of four children.
Drew Holcomb has collected many souvenirs over the course of his musical career.
A road warrior for more than a decade, Drew has spent his adulthood onstage and on the road, traveling from place to place with a catalog of vibrant, honest songs that explore the full range of American roots music.
He released a new, highly collaborative album in 2017 entitled “Souvenir.” The album focuses on the things that truly stick with you - family and friends, music and memories, people and places - in a fast-moving world.
In 2006, Ekundayo founded Hattiloo Theatre, a Black repertory, in Memphis.
As the theatre's artistic leader, he has directed several plays that include Katori Hall's "Hurt Village”; portrayed King in August Wilson's 'King Hedley II'; wrote a popular holiday play titled 'If Scrooge was a Brother'; and worked as assistant director to Ruben Santiago-Hudson on “Paradise Blue” that starred TV & film star Blair Underwood, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
As Hattiloo’s administrative leader, from 2012 - 2014, he spearheaded a $4.3M capital campaign that resulted in the construction of Hattiloo’s 11,000 square-foot venue in Memphis, Tennessee’s popular Overton Square district. The theatre opened debt-free in June 2014. In 2016, he led a second capital campaign that raised $900,000 for the construction of the Hattiloo Development Center, which opened in April 2017, also debt-free.
Over the course of 11-years, Ekundayo has developed Hattiloo from a small community theatre with a $60,000 annual budget into a regional cultural institution with a $1.7M budget, and a growing $500,000 endowment. His civic involvement includes chairman of the Memphis Branding Initiative, chairman of the Memphis Youth Guidance Commission, and board member of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Elena Delavega, PhD, MSW is Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Memphis.
Her most recent project involves measuring attributions of poverty with the Blame Index, which she developed with Dr. Peter Kindle of the University of South Dakota.
Elena also serves as Associate Director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and as founder and co-director of the Social Welfare Research Consortium, SWRC.
Elizabeth Cawein is a publicist, strategist, and music advocate.
In 2014, she launched a not-for-profit initiative called Music Export Memphis, which leverages public and private support to function as an export office for Memphis music, creating opportunities for musicians and driving economic development through music and culture. Elizabeth has moderated panels at international music conference SXSW and has presented showcases at Folk Alliance International, SXSW, and AmericanaFest. She is dedicated to the belief that smart cities are music cities.
She is also the founder of Signal Flow Public Relations, a boutique media firm dedicated to serving the Memphis music industry. Her clients include the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, The Recording Academy, Royal Studios, and others. In 2016 the Greater Memphis Chamber selected Signal Flow PR as one of its ‘10 to Watch’ companies in 2017.
Gregory Thompson is the Director of Research and Strategy at Clayborn Reborn.
He is active in national conversations surrounding race and equity in America.
Before joining Clayborn he served as the CEO of the Thriving Cities Group and as the Executive Director of New City Commons—both in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Gregory holds a PhD from the University of Virginia where he wrote his dissertation on Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hardy Farrow is the Executive Director of Let’s Innovate through Education (LITE Memphis).
LITE Memphis equips minority students with 21st-century skills to create wealth. Through an 8-year pipeline of support from age 17 to age 25, LITE empowers students to be entrepreneurs by helping them launch business ideas, get matched with paid internships, and receive capital to scale ideas. LITE has been named one of the 20 ideas that can change the world by Forbes Magazine, and 85 percent of students in LITE are on track to graduate college.
Hardy was named one of the Forbes 30 under 30 in Education in 2017 and recognized as the youngest recipient of the Memphis Business Journal Top 40 under 40 in 2017. Hardy was the recipient of the National Innovation in Teaching award as a first year Teach for America teacher and was selected as a regional finalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award via Teach for America in his second year. Hardy is a graduate of the George Washington University where he majored in political science.
Jen Andrews is the CEO of Shelby Farms Park and Conservancy.
She is responsible for the overall management of Shelby Farms Park and for design and implementation of the more than $70 million master plan for capital projects at Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline.
Jen serves on a number of boards and commissions including Mid-South Regional Greenprint Communications Committee, Riverfront Development Corporation, and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Originally from Marianna, Arkansas, Jen is a graduate of Rhodes College with a degree in English Literature and focus on postcolonial literature and theory.
John M. Newman is an expert on competition and innovation policy in technology markets.
He began his legal career with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, where he helped investigate and litigate abusive practices by large firms in a variety of industries. John has also advised multiple start-ups pro bono on a variety of contract and intellectual property matters.
At the U of M, John teaches antitrust and contract law. His scholarship has been published in leading academic journals, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and the Vanderbilt Law Review. His commentary has been featured by CNBC, Business Insider, and Bloomberg, and he has delivered lectures at universities ranging from New York to Shenzhen. John has received the law school’s Faculty Scholarship Award and is the youngest faculty member in the school’s history to have been selected as Professor of the Year. In his spare time, John enjoys cooking, modern art, renovating his downtown condo, and skateboarding.
Joseph Wooten is a keyboard player, singer, songwriter, author and philanthropist.
He has been a keyboard player and vocalist for The Steve Miller Band, one of America’s premier classic rock bands, since 1993.
Joseph also wrote a book: It All Matters: What I Believe, Words I Live By. He has two solo recordings, Soul of Freedom and Hands of Soul as well as production credits on over 35 albums.
Joseph strongly believes in the worth of every individual and has worked to raise awareness of homelessness in America.
Josh Campbell is a professional storyteller from Memphis, TN.
He specializes in personal narratives. For the last five years he has served as the Creative Director of Spillit Memphis. He has performed across the Southeast in one man shows and storytelling festivals.
He has helped hundreds of storytellers prepare stories for the stage. He has conducted workshops in corporate and educational settings. He is also the Middle School Director at the Maria Montessori School in Memphis. He believes everyone has a story to tell.
Josh Spickler is the executive director at Just City.
Just City is an advocacy organization pursuing smarter criminal justice policies for Memphis and Tennessee. Far too often, a person’s path through the criminal justice system is determined by wealth, and the burdens of that involvement can persist for a lifetime. In only two years, Just City has helped change Tennessee law, making it easier and more affordable to seal a criminal record and get a second chance. Just City continues to focus on areas in the criminal justice system, like expungement, bail, and driver licensing, where poverty is a barrier to justice.
Josh speaks publicly and works with local and national media to tell stories about public defense and criminal justice reform. He believes none of us should be defined by the worst thing we’ve ever done.
Josh has degrees from the University of Memphis Law School and Rhodes College.
Joshua J. Yates is a cultural sociologist and social entrepreneur.
He has dedicated his life to bridging the worlds of academic theory and social practice in order to help communities grapple with one of our society's grand challenges: what it will mean and take to thrive in contexts of increasing economic inequality, technological disruption, environmental change, and political fracture.
As Research Director of the Thriving Cities Lab, an initiative of University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, Joshua’s scholarly work focuses on the changing paradigms of civic life in 21st century urban contexts.
Joshua also serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Thriving Cities Group, a nonprofit working to equip communities to disrupt and rebuild their civic infrastructure through a series of innovative civic ventures. Starting in 2018, Thriving Cities Group will be partnering with the Cook Analytics and Trading Lab at the University of Memphis to launch the nation's first ever city-based Social Impact Exchange.
Katrina Coleman is a comic and producer.
She was the founding president of the Memphis Comedy Festival and co-created and produces the wildly popular You Look Like show, currently in production as a webseries directed by Craig Brewer.
Katrina is also an advocate for domestic abuse survivors and works to make Memphis better one inappropriate joke at a time.
Kynnedy Tuggle is a community-minded student entrepeneur.
Kynnedy is an Educational Studies major at Rhodes College. She started a small business, Love in a Kup, designed to provide quality, yet affordable cupcakes to urban communities around the city of Memphis. After graduating, Kynnedy plans to take steps to attend graduate school, teach in an elementary school in Memphis and continue to grow Love In A Kup.
Logan Guleff has been named one of the Most Influential Teens by Time Magazine and a James Beard Blended Burger Winner.
Since becoming the 2014 MasterChef Junior champion he has become a rising star in the culinary world. He was named Southern Living‘s Best New Southern Cook and earned a spot on Fortune Magazine’s 18 Under 18 list; he’s also the youngest certified judge for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee, and the youngest chef to cook at the historic James Beard House in New York City.
Logan just released his first book, “Logan’s Chef Notes and Half Baked Tales”.
Sarah Carpenter is a native Memphian and proud resident of the North Memphis community
In 2015 she helped establish The Memphis Lift and in 2016 became its executive director. Sarah leads the organization with a parent-focused dedication to community engagement. She brings parents to the table to educate them about school performance in order to demand high quality education through choice and healthy competition. She leads a team of 16 parents who work to support the mission of The Memphis Lift, making the powerless parent powerful.
Her proudest accomplishment has been seeing her grandchildren and other children in her community attend college, graduate, and become productive citizens. Prior to founding The Memphis Lift, Sarah also served on several boards, including the Northside Family Resource Center Board and the board of KIPP Public Charter Schools.
Suzanne Carlson is Transportation and Mobility Project Manager at Innovate Memphis.
She promotes and improves transit, walking, bicycling and shared use mobility across Memphis.
Suzanne serves on the boards of Explore Bike Share, Bike Walk Memphis, and the Compost Fairy. She previously worked as Pedestrian Program Manager for Chicago Department of Transportation and Director of Environmental Affairs at Chicago Public Schools, and founded a community bike shop in Seattle, Washington. She has a Masters in Public Administration and is a LEED AP BD+C.
Terri Lee Freeman is president of the National Civil Rights Museum.
She is responsible for providing strategic leadership in furthering the museum’s mission as an educational and cultural institution. During her tenure, Terri has emphasized the connection between the historic civil rights era and today’s contemporary issues.
A graduate of the 2016 class of Leadership Memphis, she serves on several boards, including the Community Foundation for Greater Memphis, the New Memphis Institute, and the Memphis Visitors’ and Convention Bureau. She also serves as a member of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition Steering Committee.
Terri received her bachelor’s degree in journalism/communication arts from the University of Dayton and her master’s degree in organizational communications from Howard University.
She is married to Dr. Bowyer G. Freeman and is the proud mother of three daughters and has two grandchildren.