Conference Dates: April 16-18, 2014

Memphis Cook Convention Center
255 N Main Street  |  Memphis, TN 38103  |  Phone: (901) 576-1200


Conference Chairpersons

NRC Chairperson

Mr. Bolding is the founding Executive director of United Housing, Inc. (UHI). Mr. Bolding has over 30 years of experience in affordable housing in the Memphis area. During his tenure at UHI, the organization has grown from a department of the United Way of the Mid-South to an independent organization, which provides homeownership opportunities to the residents of Memphis and Shelby County. UHI is a Neighborworks Affiliate, and a United Way member agency.

Mr. Bolding has served on numerous agency boards including, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency Board, the FHLB Advisory Council and the Federal Reserve of St. Louis Advisory Council. He currently serves as the chairman of the Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative at the University of Memphis.

Mr. Bolding received his BA and MA from the University of Memphis and serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at the University where he teaches cultural anthropology. He also is an active faculty member of the Neighborworks Training Institute.



NRC Co-Chairperson

Dr. Michael O. Minor is a local, regional, and national champion of faith-based health and wellness mobilization. He is best known as the “Southern pastor who banned fried chicken in his church.” As a community organizer for over 20 years, Dr. Minor has worked on community empowerment, non- profit business development, and faith community issues. He currently serves as the undershepherd of the Oak Hill Baptist Church in Hernando, Mississippi, president of the Mid-South Churches Cooperative Conference (State Convention), chair of the National Faith-Based Mobilization Network (Faith MoNet), and the National Director for the H.O.P.E. Health and Human Services Partnership of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated (NBCUSA) – the nation’s largest African American religious denomination. A published researcher, he provides advisory services for several local, regional, and national faith-based health and wellness initiatives. A national voice for the promotion of faith and health, Dr. Minor has generated extensive international multi-media coverage including the New York Times, Reuters News Service, Buenos Aires Herald, German Public TV ARD, NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Tell Me More, Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Southern Remedy TV Broadcast, ABC-TV, NBC News, and Fox News. In February 2012, he was featured in Guideposts Magazine. Cooking Light Magazine selected Dr. Minor as one of 20 national food heroes in its November 2012 issue.

Dr. Minor has honed his efforts through his 15 years’ as the director of education and training for the Rising Sun Usher Federation and H.O.P.E. Ministry (Northwest Mississippi) editing a comprehensive congregational usher and health and wellness ministries guide. The centerpiece of his outreach efforts is the use of trained health ambassadors. Championing the initiation and networking of health and wellness ministries in houses of worship at the local, state, regional, and national levels, Dr. Minor vigorously promotes the use of trained health ambassadors to lead these ministries.

Since his first convening of the Mid-South faith community in 1992, Dr. Minor has continued to champion similar efforts. These efforts have expanded nationally including his work with the NBCUSA, Faith MoNet, and tri-regional faith and community health summits in Atlanta and Kansas City in 2013 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Evidence of the success of his mobilization efforts have come through his work with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. During the First Lady’s visit to Mississippi in February 2010, Dr. Minor participated in the launch of this effort. Dr. Minor has received White House invitations to attend several events celebrating the success of Let’s Move! including the December 2011 national convening, the second year anniversary celebration in Orlando in February 2012, and the third year anniversary in March 2013. He continues to work with various federal agencies and national health and wellness advocacy organizations in support of faith-based outreach and sustainable lifestyle changes. In August 2013, his church was awarded a nearly $320,000 Affordable Care Act Navigator Grant by HHS, one of only two awards for the State of Mississippi.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University, Dr. Minor earned masters’ degrees in business administration and real estate development and a doctorate degree in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis. Committed to staying current in the field of faith-based health and wellness mobilization, Dr. Minor is active in professional and personal development. He is an associate faculty member at the University of Phoenix – Memphis Campus and continues to conduct primary research on the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching techniques for adult learners currently serving as a national reviewer for the Adult Higher Education Alliance.




Conference Presenters & Speakers


Conference Speaker

Jodi Pfarr of Minneapolis, MN, brings to her audiences the knowledge gained from direct experience with not-for-profit organizations. Pfarr served as executive director of Emma Norton Services, providing housing to single women with issues around low income, mental illness, and/or chemical dependency. She worked several years for Catholic Charities, supervising low-income housing units for people with mental illness, chronic inebriation, and/or low incomes. This followed her post of supervising the Special Needs Shelter for the Salvation Army.

Pfarr holds a Master of Divinity degree and is formerly a certified critical debriefer and chaplain with the St. Paul Police Department; she wrote the book Tactical Communication for law enforcement. She is familiar with the police culture and the challenges that officers face. She has advised several city and county agencies on projects related to poverty issues. Pfarr has been a consultant for aha! Process since 2001 and shares her experiences on the DVD “Jodi’s Stories.”

Selected workshops presented and products by Jodi Pfarr
Jodi Pfarr presents Bridges Out of Poverty, Applying Bridges Concepts, Understanding Class for Law Enforcement, Framework for Community Audiences, Hidden Rules of Class at Work, and What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty.

Jodi Pfarr is author of Tactical Communication: Law enforcement tools for successful encounters with people from poverty, middle class, and wealth; “Jodi's Stories: A Companion Piece to Bridges Out of Poverty” (DVD); Bridges Out of Poverty Audio Workshop; and Intersections of Poverty and the ‘Isms’ (DVD).



Conference Speaker

Dr. Elton Gatewood holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration, and has over 40 years of experience in Municipal Government Administration,Urban Planning, Community Development, Program and Organization Development, Program Monitoring and Evaluation, Economic Development, Civic Engagement, Public Participation, and Capacity Building

Retired from the City of Tacoma, WA after 37 years of service, and also worked as a Consultant and Urban Strategist with cities, national organizations, and foreign governments to assist them in developing programs and innovative approaches in neighborhood improvements, participatory democracy, and governance.

Dr. Gatewood is an adjunct professor and visiting lecturer at various colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest, and has spoken at workshops, conferences, and seminars nationally and internationally on a variety of issues, processes, and subjects relating to democracy, governance, citizen involvement, and community mobilization.


President/CEO of Beyond Housing
Conference Speaker

Chris Krehmeyer is the President/CEO of Beyond Housing, a Neighborworks America organization in St. Louis, Missouri. He has served in that capacity since 1993. Chris has or currently sits on a variety of boards including Midwest Bank Centre and Midwest Bank Centre Holding Company, the United Way of Greater St. Louis Asset Building, both Washington University and University of Missouri’s Not-For-Profit programs and the National NeighborWorks Association Board.

Chris has been an adjunct faculty member at Washington University teaching a class in social entrepreneurship. Chris is married with three children and has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Washington University.

Website: Beyond Housing


Federal Co-Chairman

Christopher A. Masingill was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2010, and serves as the Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the 252 counties and parishes in the eight states of the Delta region. Chairman Masingill has extensive experience in community and economic development and developing strategic connections between the public and private sectors.

Prior to leading the Delta Regional Authority, Masingill served the state of Arkansas as Governor Mike Beebe’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and during that time as the Arkansas Recovery Implementation Director for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which totaled over $2 Billion in Arkansas. While in Governor Beebe’s office, Chairman Masingill also served as the principal staff between the Governor’s Office and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors’ Association, the Delta Regional Authority, and the State Coordinators for Economic Recovery.

In his three years with the Delta Regional Authority, Masingill has worked with the Governors of the Delta states to leverage $66.3 million into more than $1.1 billion in private and other public sector investment; helping to create and retain 17,000 jobs within the region. During a time of economic duress in our nation, Chairman Masingill has placed a greater emphasis on supporting small business and entrepreneurship ventures as well as investing in workforce training and education efforts. His priority to increase economic development in the business sector with a focus on entrepreneurship has tripled prior DRA investment from $2.1 million to more than $7 million in three cycles. Additionally, the DRA has invested nearly $12 million in workforce development, more than doubling similar investments in the previous eight cycles.

Chris and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Mia and Ava, and reside in Little Rock.

Executive Director
alt.Consulting, Inc.

Ms. Polonius is a founding member and Executive Director of alt.Consulting, an innovative non-profit organization started in 1998 to provide customized, managerial assistance and capital to rural-based and minority-owned businesses throughout Arkansas, Mississippi and West Tennessee. In 2009, she launched alt.Capital, a subsidiary of alt.Consulting which combines managerial assistance with loan funds to create access to capital for entrepreneurs locked out of traditional lending sources.

In 2011, Ms Polonius launched the Arkansas Green Energy Network, a wealth creation value chain engaging over 80 critical and support partners. The value chain includes farmers growing an energy crop in the winter, an innovative micro-bio-refinery developed in the Delta and both local and large regional customers of biofuel. Ms Polonius has held speaking engagements across the country about wealth creation value chains and is training two intermediaries to utilize wealth creation value chains. She is a member of WealthWorks, a national collaborative of organizations utilizing this approach to community, economic development.

Ms. Polonius leads a team of twelve management consultants and loan professionals and has personally worked with over 240 small businesses in manufacturing, distribution, service and retail. She has conducted financial audits, facilitated planning sessions and customized financial management systems for these businesses.

As a Business Development Consultant at the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, she served more than 30 clients through an intensive management consulting process. Ms. Polonius earned a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters of Economics at Boston University. Prior to pursuing her graduate work, she worked for three years with rural micro-enterprise development projects in Chile and the Dominican Republic. She has also worked as a financial manager for several manufacturers and a distribution companies in Hamburg, Germany. Ms. Polonius received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a specialization in international economic development.

Ms. Polonius currently serves on the following boards of directors:
• Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in North Carolina
• Community Resource Group in Arkansas
• Arkansas State Board of Acupuncture and Related Techniques

In the past, Ms Polonius has served as a board member of:
• Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Advisory Council
• Regions Bank Community Development Corporation
• Southern Rural Development Initiative

Website: alt.Consulting


Executive Director
The Democracy Collaborative

Ted Howard is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. The Collaborative is recognized as a national leader in the fast growing field of community wealth building strategies and policy development. Its “Anchor Institutions” project focuses on the role universities, hospitals, and other place-based anchors can play in fostering inclusive economic and community development.

In July 2010, Mr. Howard was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation. In this position, he has been a member of a team that developed a comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

Mr. Howard lectures frequently about community wealth building, most recently at the Clinton Global Initiative-America, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Co-operatives United World Conference (Manchester, England) and the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, as well as at numerous universities including the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Michigan State and Yale.

He is the author of numerous articles appearing in popular and community development publications. His chapter “Owning Your Own Job Is a Beautiful Thing” is included in a book of readings (Investing in What Works for America’s Communities) published in 2012 by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. His most recent publications (co-authored with colleagues in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning) is The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth and The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs (with Steve Dubb and Sarah McKinley).

Mr. Howard serves on the board of directors of LIFT, a national organization dedicated to engaging young Americans in combating poverty in our nation’s core urban areas; its chapters are based in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. He is also a founding member of the board of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation.

Mr. Howard was designated a CFED Innovation Award recipient in 2010. The magazine Utne Reader named him one of “25 visionaries who are changing your world.”

Website: The Democracy Collaborative


National Development Council Field Director

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Murphy Cheatham is a product of two Louisiana natives and Grambling State University graduates. In May 2001 Murphy earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting at Grambling State University while serving as Polemarch(President) of the Gamma Psi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the President of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College. After receiving his degree Murphy moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he gained experience as a financial analyst and senior accountant for various real estate firms.

In 2007, while the Financial Project Manager for the first Leader in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) Certified residential development in Arizona, Murphy furthered his education and skill set by becoming first African-American male to earn a M.S. in Real Estate Development from Arizona State University. With a desire to capitalize on his expanded skill set, Mr. Cheatham accepted a position in Dallas, Texas as a public-private partnership real estate project manager with an international architecture and engineering firm.

In 2010, Murphy was the youngest person to be appointed to the position of Bureau Chief of Housing and Business Development with the City of Shreveport. In that capacity he managed a $4M annual budget and team of eleven responsible for real estate and business development and programs primarily in the low-moderate income areas of the city. While with the city, Murphy was certified as a Construction and Production Manager through NeighborWorks America and a Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council.

2012 Mr. Cheatham joined NDC as a Field Director in the Central United States Region. This position allows him to fulfill what he has identified as his lifelong purpose of revitalization of low-moderate income areas. In addition to his professional obligations, he serves on the Executive Board of Grambling State University’s College of Business and serves a key role on a special task force created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to make affordable housing more environmentally safe. Mr. Cheatham’s future plans are to continue the revitalization of low-moderate income areas of the country through creating partnerships between NDC and existing entities to capitalize opportunities in key areas.

Website: The National Development Council


Executive Director
Memphis Area Association of Governments

Pamela Marshall is the Executive Director of the Memphis Area Association of Governments (MAAG). Her responsibilities include managing a policy board of local elected officials in six counties (Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, and Lauderdale) in Tennessee as well as Crittenden County in Arkansas and DeSoto County in Mississippi. Pamela works with state, regional and federal officials on programs and funding while influencing positive change for MAAG's service communities.

Pamela brings more than 12 years of progressive experience in extensive public policy with legislative victories as Chief of Staff for the Shelby County Mayor's office where she developed solid professional relationships with key elected officials and their staff at the federal, state, and local levels. She was Vice President of Public Policy and Affairs at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce chairing the Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee and playing a key role in saving Tennessee's only oil refinery. Pamela also served as the Community Relations Officer for TDOT. In this position she managed relationships with the media, community groups, local, state, and federal government officials for the 21 counties in West Tennessee.

During her years in broadcast journalism, Pamela held various positions in television and radio from show host to news anchor.

Pamela is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism.

Website: Memphis Area Association of Governments


Executive Director
Grow Memphis

Christopher Peterson became GrowMemphis' Executive Director in January 2012 after Josephine Alexander, long-time GrowMemphis Project Coordinator left the organization to pursue her dream of farming. A native Memphian with a deep passion and love for the city, Chris returned to Memphis in August 2011 after completing his Master's Degree in Human Values and Contemporary Global Ethics at King's College London, where he focussed his studies on the practical and philosophical viability of small scale, local food systems.

Aside from his academic career, Chris has some dirt under his fingernails as well. Chris has been involved in social justice causes both locally and globally: in 2008 Chris spent a summer in Nicaragua working for a community development organization. While there he gained some valuable practical experience both in community engagement as well as in agriculture via a brief stint on an organic coffee farm. Additionally, while at Christian Brothers University as an undergraduate he co-founded both the CBU Social Justice Committee and the CBU Community Garden, which he managed during his senior year of college. Chris has also been trained as a community organizer by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

Website: Grow Memphis


Regional Economic Development Initiative

Lisa Hankins is the Director of the 11-county Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) at Southwest Tennessee Development District. Prior to joining REDI, she was the Executive Director of the Lauderdale Chamber/Economic & Community Development in Ripley, where she held that position for 11 years. She is a graduate of the University of TN at Martin where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. She is also a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, the Economic Development Institute; the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute and is a graduate and alumni of WestStar and Leadership Lauderdale. She is a recipient of the CTTP (Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional) designation. She is a member of TEDC, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SEDC, TCCE & WTCCE.

Lisa has two children, Ginny, 25, a teacher and Greg, 22, who is serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Website: Regional Economic Development Initiative


Special Assistant for Research and Innovation
City of Memphis

Maria Fuhrmann was appointed Special Assistant for Research and Innovation by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. in December 2012. Before taking the post with the Wharton administration, Maria spent 6 years as a Research Analyst for the Memphis City Council, adding a unique perspective of city government operations to Wharton’s team.

Maria serves as Mayor Wharton’s liaison to the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, a Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative tasked with increasing small business development in target core city neighborhoods and reducing gun violence. Maria is passionate about helping make Memphis a City of Choice, highlighting Memphis’ many assets, finding ways to create a vibrant, thriving urban core to attract and retain knowledge workers and young professionals, as well as bike/ped and environmental advocacy.

Maria is a graduate of the University of Memphis and has lived in her adopted hometown since 1991.

Website: Innovate Memphis


Program Associate
Plough Foundation

Katie has a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State University’s College of Education and a Master of Science from the University of Alabama’s College of Arts & Sciences. Her master’s thesis, “The Role of Parents’ Incarceration in the Emotional Health and Problem Behaviors of At-risk Adolescents” was recently published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Prior to joining the Plough Foundation in 2011, Katie served as Community Outreach and Public Policy Associate for The Urban Child Institute.

Katie is the Foundation’s lead researcher and for the past two years has overseen an intense data collection and stakeholder convening around the issues of aging. Katie is active in numerous community organizations.

Website: Plough Foundation



Federal Highway Administration
Division Administrator

In February 2010, Pam Kordenbrock became the Division Administrator for the FHWA Tennessee Division. In this capacity she leads a multi-disciplinary staff of 23 that is responsible for an $800 million federal-aid program and provides policy guidance to FHWA’s State, local and other federal partners. Prior to coming to Tennessee, Pam was the Assistant Division Administrator in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pam joined FHWA’s Training Program in 1993 with assignments in Washington, DC, California and Illinois. Following the Training Program, Pam held positions in the Office of Operations in Washington, DC as well as FHWA offices in Los Angeles, CA and Baltimore, MD. Pam has a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Transportation Engineering from the University of Virginia. Pam is a native of Moblile, AL, is married to a wonderfully patient husband and tries to manage a sweet yet (now) pampered dog she found in her office parking lot.



Administrator, City of Memphis
Division of Housing and Community Development

Mairi Albertson is the Planning Administrator for the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development. Ms. Albertson has over 15 years experience with the City, providing oversight of neighborhood and city wide planning efforts and coordinating research and grant writing related to housing and community development. This includes recommending programs and funding based on the needs identified for the community, with an emphasis on providing housing and services to the most vulnerable populations in Memphis. A significant part of this work involves facilitating strategic partnerships that will leverage the resources necessary to meet the community’s needs.


Strategic Management, LLC

Felicia Harris-Williams is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and the owner of Strategic Management (SM), formerly Diversity Research Associates. Prior to starting SM, Felicia served as the Grants Coordinator for the City of Memphis, Division of Housing and Community Development and the Memphis Housing Authority (2008-2013). Her areas of focus are strategic planning, grants and organizational management, community development, and cultural competency issues. She brings over 15 years of experience in the areas of grants, community engagement, community building, social advocacy, and evaluation studies.

Before joining the City of Memphis, Felicia served at the University of Memphis as the Asst. Director of Training and Development for the Tennessee Alcohol and Drug Prevention Outcome Longitudinal Evaluation Project and the Office of Minority Health Evaluation Project (2002-2008). Felicia completed her graduate studies in Applied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Memphis, with an emphasis in Medical and Urban Anthropology (2002). Currently, her time is split between her public service and research interests in Housing and Community Development, Health Disparities, Cultural Competency, Poverty, and Race issues. Felicia is also a proud member of the Grant Professionals Association, American Planning Association, as well as the American Evaluation Association.

Website: Strategic Management, LLC


Executive Director
Rangeline Neighborhood Community Development Corporation

Elder Charlie Caswell serves his community as the CEO of Community Builders Civic and Entrepreneur Institute, Executive Director of Rangeline Neighborhood Community Development Corporation, and a board member of The Frayser Neighborhood Council, a non-profit organization which a focuses on “Building Neighborhood Capacity”.

He has been a dedicated community activist in the cities of Memphis, TN and Atlanta, GA.

Charlie Caswell’s personal experience of rising up during his employment as a youth to a position of management attests to his sense of drive and determination. He continued on to eventually own his own business which has instilled an entrepreneurial spirit that supports his work as an author.

Elder Caswell owes a lot of his success to two great men in his life that have mentored and guided him along the way, Pastors Ricky Floyd and Walter Smith. Also, Elder Caswell is thankful for an inspirational and influential leader, City of Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, who inspired him as a child and continues to do so today.

Elder Charlie Caswell Jr. is a husband, father, community activist, author, and great man of vision. He was born and raised in Memphis. Elder Caswell is the proud father of six beautiful children and the husband of Mrs. Teresa Landrum Caswell.

Charlie Caswell is a man of God with the heart of God toward his people.


Memphis Housing Authority

Ian Randolph, CFP®, has been involved with the Ready Shelby team since 2010. He is an integral part of Ready Shelby Neighbors and helped this FEMA recognized program win Neighborhood-USA’s national Best Neighborhood Program in 2012. As a Memphis Housing Authority Commissioner, Randolph has helped Ready Shelby neighbors begin C.E.R.T. training for MHA’s tower and senior facility residents. He is also a Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) instructor.

Executive Director of the Consortium on Health Education, Economic Empowerment, and Research (CHEER)

Dr. White-Means is Executive Director of the Consortium on Health Education, Economic Empowerment, and Research (CHEER) and Professor of Economics at University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She received her undergraduate training at Grinnell College and her Masters and Doctoral training at Northwestern University.

As Executive Director of CHEER, Dr. White-Means leads a community partnership that uses the principles of community based participatory research to serve as a primary resource in the Mississippi Delta’s effort to eliminate health disparities and transform health outcomes. CHEER is an Exploratory Center of Excellence on Health Disparities that is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). CHEER’s “Transforming Health Disparities into Health Possibilities” grant targets housing development residents and church members in the 38126 zipcode in Memphis and uses community assets and personal economic efficacy to improve healthy lifestyles for at risk persons of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. These efforts will result in new and innovative approaches to address high rates of chronic illnesses and diminish racial/ethnic inequities in health status.

Dr. White-Means is a health economist with over twenty-five years of research emphasis in health disparities and access to care for ethnic minorities, women, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations. Her research emphasizes long-term care for ethnic elderly, labor market implications of caregiving, and racial disparities faced by blacks and Hispanics in the utilization of medical services. Her research studies have documented the distinction between racial/ethnic differences and racial/ethnic disparities in health care utilization, and also how labor market disparities are associated with health insurance disparities. One of her recent publications is the first to examine race and skintone preferences among pre-professional health care providers, providing a foundation for exploring the role of implicit bias in explaining racial/ethnic disparities in health care utilization.

Dr. White-Means is Past-President of the National Economic Association, a Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and on the steering committee for the Meharry Medical College Community Health Centers, Community Networks Program. Dr. White-Means is a graduate of the 1998 class of Leadership Memphis, has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors for Memphis Health Center, and served as Board Chair of Bluff City Christian College. She is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Advisory Committee for Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative. In 2011, Dr. White-Means was appointed as Board Member for the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economic Profession.


Deputy Executive Director for The Works, Inc.

Mr. Thomas is Deputy Executive Director for The Works, Inc., a nonprofit community development corporation serving the South Memphis community. He oversees programs related to housing development, elderly home repairs, the South Memphis Farmers Market, and implementation of the South Memphis Revitalization Action Plan. He has worked in the Memphis community development industry for twelve years. He currently serves on the Healthy Memphis Common Table Consumer Engagement Steering Committee as a Co-Chair; on the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis Board of Directors; and as Compliance Committee Chair of The Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of the City of Memphis.

Principal, Self Tucker Architects

Jimmie Tucker is a founder and managing principal of Self + Tucker Architects (STA). He is a LEED. Accredited Professional with over 25 years experience as an architect and urban planner. Jimmie is a native Memphian and in recent years has focused his work at STA toward revitalizing downtown and various neighborhoods. Under his leadership, Self + Tucker Architects has established its Urban Design studio which integrates community planning, zoning analysis, land use research and building design with an emphasis on engaging clients and community stakeholders in a participatory design process. Jimmie has extensive experience and expertise in master planning sites and neighborhood through his experience with HOPE VI and other large scale residential and commercial redevelopment projects.

Since 2007 Jimmie has shared his expertise as an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the University of Memphis. His design studios emphasize community engagement and sustainable design. Jimmie received his Bachelor in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University and a Master in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. As project manager for the Memphis Heritage Trail, Jimmie leads a team that is charged with documenting and animating the city’s history and cultural heritage so that it is more visible and imprinted on the Downtown landscape. Jimmie has an appreciation for history and a passion for the careful balance of client, user and community input. Most importantly, he is dedicated to design that elevates the experience of buildings and public places.

Attorney, Brewer & Barlow PLC

Steve Barlow is a lawyer with Brewer & Barlow PLC in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a staff attorney for the City of Memphis. His firm focuses on issues related to community development, social justice and civil rights. His firm recently served as local counsel in the now settled matter of Memphis/Shelby County versus Wells Fargo, in which Wells Fargo was charged with discriminatory, predatory lending practices that resulted in blighted and abandoned property across the community. Steve has been involved in community organizing, legislative advocacy and community development efforts in Memphis, Tennessee since 1995, and has led efforts for the past six years to use civil litigation in the Shelby County Environmental Court to enforce blight reduction and hold negligent property owners accountable. He coordinates all public nuisance litigation for the City of Memphis and for the Downtown Memphis Commission, and frequently consults with local, statewide and national leaders on legislative and practical resolutions to the challenges brought on by vacancy and abandonment. He is an active advocate for creative, data driven, neighborhood-based community revitalization.

For five years, he was Associate Director and Housing Director of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee. Steve has served as a law clerk to Western District of Tennessee Bankruptcy Judge Jennie D. Latta, and practiced law in the Real Estate and Banking division of Bass, Berry and Sims PLC’s Memphis office. Steve graduated from the University of Memphis with a Masters in Anthropology in 1996, and in 2004 received his J.D., magna cum laude, also from the University of Memphis. Steve and his wife of 17 years, have two boys ages 14 and 8.

School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy
University of Memphis

Stan Hyland is currently the Head of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Memphis. His research interests include neighborhood revitalization, community building, social entrepreneurship, participatory action research/evaluation and community economic development. Hyland is involved in major community initiatives throughout Shelby County. These initiatives have included UPTOWN, the University District, College Park (LeMoyne Owen), and Lakeland. Professor Hyland has been involved in the transformation of public housing in Memphis and the evaluation of four of the HOPE VI projects. For the past five years his work on health disparity and more effective delivery systems has been funded by the Urban Child Institute.

Hyland has collaborated on nearly $3.5 million dollars in funding, and has produced severty-five reports, monographs, and articles, and a seminal book on Community Building for the 21st Century was published by the School of American Research. His most recent article is entitled “Developing Poverty Reform Efforts in the Memphis Region: Lessons For an Engaged Anthropology.”

He has collaborated with numerous governmental agencies, nonprofits, and community based organizations. He and his team received the Best Practices Award (Memphis Maps) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1988-1990 he directed research for the Federal Commission on the Economic Development of the Lower Mississippi Delta region, chaired by then governor, Bill Clinton.

Stan has received 30 major honors including the College of Arts and Sciences Meritorious Faculty Award, the University’s Engaged Scholarship Award, Harold Love Award, seven SPUR research Awards, and a Faudree Professorship.

He currently serves on the Memphis Landmarks Commission and the Board of Directors for the Urban Child Institute. Dr. Hyland graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana, with a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1977.

Executive Director
Binghampton Development Corporation

Mr. Montague was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He attended the University of Tennessee from 1976 to 1980, and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering degree with honors. While working in the materials industry for BFGoodrich, Mr. Montague earned a Masters in Business Administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. From 1983 to 1993, Mr. Montague worked in a number of strategic marketing and management positions at BFGoodrich and as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a rapid prototyping technology company in Austin, Texas known as DTM Systems. From 1993 to 2004, Mr. Montague returned to Memphis, TN and served both Morgan Keegan & Co. and the Royal Bank of Canada as a Managing Director and senior technology investment analyst.

Since 2004, Mr. Montague serves as the Executive Director of the Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC) – a community development corporation working to improve the quality of life in this core Memphis neighborhood. Mr. Montague also serves on the boards of the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis and the Memphis Teacher Residency Program.



Renee Kemp-Rotan previously worked for the city of Atlanta during the Olympics as Director of Economic Development and served as Chief of Urban Design and Urban Development for several Mayors in Atlanta. Renee is the first African American woman to graduate from Syracuse with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree. She also has a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Columbia University and RIBA II from the Architectural Association in London. The Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail project is one of three major public interventions developed by Kemp-Rotan since she joined the Mayor's staff in 2004. The other projects Renee directed include the new $20 million Railroad Reservation Park and the $55 million Crossplex (The New Olympic Village for Children at Fair Park-The old Alabama State Fair Ground).

UrbanArt Commission
Executive Director

Dr. Christina Lanzl is executive director of the UrbanArt Commission. Since July 2012 she has led UrbanArt, with overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, programs, and execution of the organization’s mission to enhance the cultural vibrancy of the community through the development of public art. The UrbanArt Commission, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, manages the City of Memphis Public Art Program and works in multiple public and private partnerships to facilitate public art in all media. Dr. Lanzl is an accomplished leader in public art with over 20 years experience directing and working with public, private, and non-profit organizations. As a recognized expert on public art and placemaking, Dr. Lanzl is particularly well versed in public art management and facilitation, civic engagement as well as research and education on public art and urban culture. Recently, she has presented or moderated at annual conferences of the International Sculpture Center, Americans for the Arts Public Art Network, College Art Association, Build Boston and the DMY Design Conference in Berlin/ Germany.

Dr. Lanzl previously worked as director of programs at the Urban Arts Institute at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Under prior engagements, she led the Brookline Arts Center and the Bromfield Gallery, and served on the planning team of the Boston Arts Academy, the city’s first public visual and performing arts high school. Dr. Lanzl founded the Placemaking Network at the Boston Society of Architects/American Institute of Architects and regularly presents and publishes on public art and placemaking, notably as contributing writer for the journal Sculpture. Dr. Lanzl graduated with a diploma in information management and art history from the Academy of Media in Stuttgart, Germany. She received her master’s degree from Boston University and completed her doctorate in art history with a focus on public art from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany.

Shelby County Environmental Court Judge

Judge Larry Potter currently serves as the Environmental Court Judge of Shelby County. He has been a judge for over 30 years and established the third Environmental Court in the United States. During that time he developed many of the innovations for this specialty court that are now considered standard procedure. For this reason, he is fondly known as the “Father of Environmental Courts in America.”

Judge Potter’s work has been respected and honored by his peers locally, statewide and nationally. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Memphis Rotary Club’s Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Award. This award recognizes distinguished work by public servants of Memphis and Shelby County.

Most recently the Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards recognized his efforts to enhance our environment and natural resources by honoring him with the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award.

Judge Potter is also the recipient of the highly prestigious Iron Eyes Cody Award from Keep America Beautiful. This annual lifetime achievement award was presented to Judge Potter for his work in raising public awareness and growing environmental compliance in the judicial system of America.

Judge Potter is a tireless advocate for supporting the growth and development of Environmental Courts in our country, and for the past 30 years he has traveled throughout the United States consulting with government authorities on establishing Environmental Courts in their communities.

Judge Potter is a native of Milan, Tennessee. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee, his master’s degree from Austin Peay University, and his juris doctorate from the University of Memphis Law School. He currently resides in Cordova, Tennessee.

City of Memphis
Office of Cultural Affairs

Nika Jackson Martin is a native of Canton, Mississippi. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a Master’s Degree from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. Mrs. Martin worked for over eight years as a nationally certified speech-language pathologist working with children with autism and multicultural populations in Virginia, bilingual school settings in California and Shelby County Schools in Tennessee.

Mrs. Martin was later employed as the West Tennessee Field Director for President Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign where she was tasked with neighborhood organizing, volunteer coordination and constituency outreach. After the campaign, Nika was hired by then Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. to serve as Campaign Coordinator organizing communities around the All Babies Count Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative with the Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth.

She currently works as a mayoral appointee for the City of Memphis as the Manager of the Office of Community Affairs. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County, Advisory Board Member for the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Memphis and a Member of the Tennessee Advisory Board to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

One of her favorite quotes is from the great Nelson Mandela: “There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Mercy Seat Christian Church
Indianapolis, IN

Eric Whitaker is the Pastor of the Mercy Seat Christian Church located in Indianapolis Indiana. Pastor Whitaker also serves on the Executive Board of the Community Resurrection Partnership (CRP) which was established in 1996. CRP is a coalition of churches, community-based agencies, social service organizations, corporations and other groups united by the desire to improve the quality of life in the Martindale-Brightwood community of Indianapolis, Indiana. Pastor Whitaker currently provides leadership and oversight for the CRP’s Faith Walks.



Mercy Seat Christian Church
Indianapolis, IN

Anthony W. Beverly is a Servant Leader who believes in community. His purpose in life is helping inner city youth become men of God. Beverly’s experiences include over 20 years of youth and family ministry programming, life coaching, counseling and career planning. Beverly is currently living in Indianapolis Indiana where he is the founder of Stop the Violence Indianapolis, Inc.

As a result of working in the CRP Faith Walks and Stop the Violence Indianapolis Ministry, Beverly has had the opportunity to work in many high crime areas in Indianapolis such as: Twin Hills Apartments, Beachwood Apartment, Hearts Landing, Blackburn Apartments and many other neighborhoods.

Beverly also serves on the Board of Community Resurrection Partnership (CRP) which was established in 1996. Beverly currently is the assistant to Pastor Eric Whitaker for the CRP’s Faith Walks.

Senior Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church
Board Chair, Health Watch Urban Ministry

Oak Grove Baptist Church, established in 1908, is where James E. Kendrick has served as senior pastor since 1985. This very distinguished and dynamic visionary has been instrumental in bringing the church to the forefront of Christianity with his preaching, teaching, guidance, protection, and administration. During his appointment, Pastor Kendrick has increased and effectively developed the Oak Grove ministry in its entirety. He has structured the Riverview Elementary School Adopt-a-School program, established The Blend That Cleaves blended families’ ministry, played an integral role as one of the founders of the Health Watch Urban Ministry, implemented Project Riverview ALIVE and The Parent Box, for restoration and support of the community and its residents.

Being a strong proponent of education, Pastor Kendrick has taken the lead in partnering with Union University in a number of their A.Div. Degree classes which are held on site at Oak Grove. Additionally, he has served as adjunct instructor at Southwest Tennessee Community College teaching such courses as Criminal Justice, Criminology, Psychology in Criminal Behavior, Juvenile Justice, and Child Sexual Abuse. He has undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Bible Studies, as well a master degree in Criminal Justice.

His present affiliations include president of the Mid South Urban Coalition of Tennessee Baptist Convention; founder of Marriage and Relationship Ministry and National Seminars—which he co-coaches with his wife, Lady Yvonne Kendrick; founder of GBI by Kendrick, designer and maker of Your Love Rings. Having authored three books, “Grown but Incomplete”; “I Call Her MISSI”; “Blood In—Blood Out” which discuss aspects of youth, relationship, and lifeline (i.e. salvation, recovery, deliverance) development respectively, Pastor Kendrick continues to encourage God’s people to a better quality of life by overcoming learned helplessness.

Pastor James E. Kendrick is in his 41st year of marriage to the former Yvonne Thrill, they are parents to four children (includes a set of twins) and seven grandchildren (includes a set of twins).


Field Office Director
Housing and Urban Development
Memphis, Tennessee

John Gemmill was a steelworker, print shop owner, salesman and economic developer before joining the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1998. He was appointed as Field Office Director of the Memphis HUD office in December 2008. In that capacity he represents the Department to elected officials and trade organizations and coordinates local program area offices to accomplish Departmental objectives.

He served the City of Birmingham for ten years, first in its Office of Economic Development and, later, as Director of Mayor Arrington’s Community Enterprise Division. There, he managed the city’s successful Enterprise Community and EPA Brownfield Pilot program. Just before joining HUD, he coordinated the city-wide Empowerment Zone community planning process that led to Birmingham’s designation as a Strategic Planning Community. At the Alabama HUD office he assisted with community economic development and revitalization projects throughout the state and with secretarial initiatives, including homeownership, and faith and community based organizations.

Gemmill completed his undergraduate education at Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has a Masters of Public and Private Management from Birmingham Southern and a PhD in Public Policy from Auburn University.


University of Southern Mississippi
Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education

James Wilcox is a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and currently resides in Hattiesburg where he directs The University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education. With an educational background in business and economic development and a philosophy of educational activism, James' efforts over the past five years have helped to establish a climate for empowering youth entrepreneurship in Mississippi and have distinguished him as an educational leader in the state.

James is particularly recognized for preparing K-12 teachers in the subject areas of entrepreneurship, economics, and financial literacy as well as co-creating and advancing the Southern Entrepreneurship Program--a statewide youth initiative that trains 500 Mississippi high school students per year in business development.



City of Memphis
Division of Housing and Community Development
Manager, Real Estate Development

Since Jocelyn M. Eddins joined the City’s Division of Housing & Community Development she has established a reputation for dedication, hard work, and quality performance. She has worked in various areas of the Division is currently the Manager of Real Estate Development. Jocelyn is a native Memphian, an alumnus of Tennessee State University, and obtained a Master of City & Regional Planning from the University of Memphis. Jocelyn believe’s that planning purposefully and serving effectively will help restore and revive our communities.



Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Senior Community Development Specialist

Kathy Moore Cowan is a Senior Community Development Specialist working in the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She is responsible for promoting community and economic development and fair and equal access to credit.


City of Memphis
Division of Housing and Community Development
Administrator, Real Estate Development

Verna Hawkins Lambert is a passionate leader with an untold story of successes. A native Washingtonian, and a graduate of Tuskegee University where she earned a Bachelors of Architecture and was honored in Who’s Who of Colleges and Universities. She also holds many leadership certifications in multifamily housing finance, design and construction, project and construction management. Ms. Lambert has managed projects and programs from $10M to $250M. Her leadership is an example of unselfishness and commitment to the field of architecture and urban redevelopment. She provided development oversight for commercial, retail, industrial, infrastructure, sports facilities, K-12 and vocation schools and housing projects for the last 33 years.

Mrs. Lambert is extremely active in the community and successfully completed serving on several public boards and commissions including the Memphis Landmark’s Commission and the Fed Ex Forum Arena Public Building Authority.


EPA Region 4
Manager of Community Partnership Program (CUPP)

Michael W. Burns is an engineer by trade, having earned a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy. He spent eight years on as an auxiliaries engineer on three different ships, travelling thought the East Asia, the South Pacific and Europe during his time in the Navy. After spending several years with small private companies, Mr. Burns returned to the federal government as a Supervisor of Safety Engineers and Gas Free Engineer at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where created a Gas Free Engineering library that established policy for all naval shipyards; created a course to teach Gas Free Engineering technicians from all over the country; and was the first naval shipyard to pass the headquarters inspection with zero discrepancies two years in a row.

Upon the announcement that the shipyard was to be closed, Mr. Burns accepted a position as the Chief of the Environmental Division at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He conducted monthly Restoration Advisory boards in three different cities to discuss the cleanup of properties scheduled to be disposed of.

Based on his efforts, he was temporarily promoted to the position of Director of the Regional Directorate of Public Works for one year. While in that position, he created an ad hoc sales team that conducted facility inspections and developed corrective actions for Army Reserve facilities across the country as reimbursable work that offset almost three million dollars worth of salaries. Less than a year later, Mr. Burns was permanently assigned as the Regional Director. While in that position, he reconfigured, and reopened almost one million square feet of facilities to accommodate almost ten thousand Kosovo refugees by the order of the President of the United States. This work involved the use of government personnel form four different states, and contractors from Maine to Virginia.

Mr. Burns later accepted a position in Atlanta, Ga. with the U.S. Army Reserve worldwide headquarters command, where he oversaw a budget of almost five hundred and fifty million dollars, and was responsible for the maintenance of assets across the world. He was later relocated to Arlington, Va. where he was instrumental in setting up the Army Reserve division of the U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command.
Mr. Burns later accepted a position as the Execution Director of the U.S. Navy’s Southeast Region in Jacksonville Florida, where he oversaw a budget of one billion dollars, and twenty-four bases from North Carolina to Texas.

Due to his wife’s health conditions, Mr. Burns accepted a position back in Atlanta with the National Park Service as the Regional Chief of Facility Services. After two years in that position, he accepted a temporary position as the Superintendent of the Tuskegee Airman and Institute Parks, as well as the Selma to Montgomery Trail. While in that position, Mr. Burns discovered his passion for working with communities to address long standing issues that had never been resolved. That passion led him to his current position with EPA Region 4, where he manages the College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (CUPP) across the Southeast United States.

Mr. Burns is married to the former Vera Gordon, and has one son, TuRae, who is a stand -up comedian. He also has five wonderful grand children.




Founder & Executive Director
Knowledge Quest

Reverend Marlon T. Foster is the Founder and Executive Director of Knowledge Quest, a youth and community development organization whose mission is “to vigorously equip youth to maximize their potential through intellectual and character development.” Responding to youth gun violence that caused the death of his childhood best friend, Pierre Ramond Henderson, Marlon struggled for three years after obtaining his undergraduate degree in a relentless effort to make his vision a reality, establishing the organization in 1998 in Memphis, TN. Knowledge Quest is most known for its promotion of academic excellence in after school settings for Memphis’ youth, grades Pre-K through 12, through three programs: Knowledge Quest’s School-Age Academy; Teenage Academy; and Green Leaf Learning Farm. Marlon holds a Bachelor of Business Arts Degree from LeMoyne-Owen College and a Master of Divinity Degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. He is a life-long resident of Memphis, grew up and presently lives, works and worships in the inner city community in which Knowledge Quest is headquartered alongside his wife Sheila, a Spanish Teacher and Consultant, and their three children: Marlon II, Alexandria and Victoria.




Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Knowledge Quest

Courtney Williams Robertson is a native Memphian and 2006 graduate of Melrose High School. He serves as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Knowledge Quest, an afterschool and youth development nonprofit organization in South Memphis where his role is managing: the organization evaluative framework, the expansion efforts of the organization’s USDA organic farm, and other major projects.



Executive Director
LifeLine to Success

A former student of Rhodes College (Pre-Med) and LeMoyne-Owen College, studying business management, DeAndre has become a successful entrepreneur in the Mid-South. He is the Pastor of LifeLine to A Dying World Ministries. DeAndre enjoys spending time with his wife, Vinessa, and their 8 children. Singing in the LeMoyne-Owen College Gospel Choir, teaching bible studies, and playing the piano keep him busy when he has a little free time. His passion is assisting and guiding those that are lost and searching for acceptance.



Executive Director of Frayser CDC

Established in January 2000, the Frayser Community Development Corporation (Frayser CDC) is a HUD approved non-profit that acts as a revitalization engine for the area. Frayser CDC purchases, renovates, and resells homes, most of which are HUD foreclosures, to low-to-moderate income first-time home buyers. Frayser envisions a diverse community of choice where people live safely in affordable homes, send their children to good schools, have access to goods and services as well as to productive employment.

Bad borrowing and lending practices have resulted in high foreclosure rates in Frayser. Foreclosures are devastating to individual families. They also have a negative impact on the entire neighborhood since they remain empty for a long time and lower surrounding home values. Frayser CDC recognizes that one of the best ways to combat the increasing foreclosure rates is proactive intervention. The organization initiated financial literacy in its campaign by offering free default counseling, credit counseling, and assistance in refinancing high-risk Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs).

Educating homeowners about the variety of options available is pivotal in the campaign to combat the far-reaching affects caused by devalued properties and questionable loan terms. Predatory and sub-prime loans have been growing issues for borrowers and the correlation to foreclosure is seen as a root cause in the Frayser area.


Managing Director -Tennessee

Cynthia has been with alt.Consulting since June 2004 working out of the organizations headquarter location in Memphis, Tennessee. She manages the West Tennessee programs and partner and client relationships while continuing to work with alt.Consulting clients.

Prior to joining alt.Consulting she worked in retail management, human resources, and legal services. Cynthia earned her Master’s in Business Administration and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. While working for alt.Consulting, she also maintains a part-time legal practice.



Project Manager
Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team

Abby is a dedicated and passionate public service professional with more than eight years of experience in program design and management, monitoring and evaluation, communications, and resource mobilization. Abby most recently worked in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with Habitat for Humanity as part of the emergency earthquake response and early recovery program providing shelter, water and sanitation, capacity building and basic services to over 25,000 disaster-affected families in Haiti. In her role as design, planning, monitoring and evaluation specialist, Abby led the Community Engagement team in designing participatory and community-based approaches to shelter programs; conducted field site visits to monitor progress against targeted outputs; and designed data collection, monitoring and reporting tools.

Prior to that, she worked with Americans for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and HealthRight International in New York on public education, fundraising and advocacy projects. Abby also conducted evaluation research with the Inter-American Development Bank on water and sanitation projects in Cuenca, Ecuador. She holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and carried out her undergraduate studies in Mass Media and Sociology at Boston University.



Mayor's Institute for Excellence in Government

Since childhood, Memphis, TN, native Dorian Spears has had a passion for serving the community. Over the years, she has continued to expand her knowledge and experience, dividing her time between volunteer and employment opportunities. Her journey has taken her to various parts of the country including Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC.

As a volunteer, Dorian has been involved in organizations such as the Salvation Army, National Civil Rights Museum, Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis, and the Academy Tutoring Project. As an employee, she has served through multiple institutions including the Corporation for National and Community Service; AmeriCorps , Volunteer Mid – South and Hands on Atlanta; Literacy Mid – South; and the YMCA. These professional experiences enabled her to gain understanding of the business side of the non – profit industry, and to serve on high – impact projects such as the Memphis Teen Volunteer program, which recruited and placed over 280 teens throughout the tri – state area of Memphis. Directly prior to her current position, she served with the non-profit intermediary Seedco, Mid – South Regional Office, in various roles including trainer, facilitator and program coordinator. In addition, she co – developed the robust internship program entitled Career Steps, which engaged over 600 business, corporate, and community sponsors. Her experience at Seedco also enabled her to serve as its representative for the Bank On Memphis initiative.

Each of these opportunities aided in crafting her focus in serving the community: the creation and designing of systems and infrastructures that enable people, businesses, and non – profits to efficiently take advantage of services and opportunities available to them. Within her current position as a Junior Project Manager for Mayor Wharton's Innovation Delivery Team, she is positioned to do this, as her primary role is to support the development, and promote the capacity, of small businesses.

Dorian earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Christian Brothers University. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Leadership Memphis Grassroots Program and the Leadership Academy Fellows Program. Dorian currently is a member of Women of Achievement, Give 365, Gandhi-King Conference Steering Committee, and Common Ground. She has also served as a Marshall Memorial Fellowship Host and co-chair for the Community Network Committee for MPACT Memphis.




Executive Director of LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation

Jeffrey Higgs is the President/CEO of LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corporation. Mr. Higgs. Has over 20 years experience in urban community housing and economic development and micro lending. He is a professionally trained accountant. Since his tenure as the President/CEO of LeMoyne-Owen Community Development Corporation, he has successful secured over $25 million dollars in grant from local, state, federal government and corporations. Mr. Higgs recently completed the financing for the $14 million Towne Center at SoulsvilleUSA Lifestyle Center Project, which features housing/retail/commercial space. Mr. Higgs is currently working to bring a $65 million hotel complex to downtown Memphis in association with RPD Hotels, LLC. The SoulsvilleUSA Community has developed over $200 million during Mr. Higgs tenure and leadership. Mr. Higgs is a highly motivated top level CEO/President with experience in housing development, non-profit management, community economic development, technology and entrepreneurship. Have strong proficiencies in, management and people skills, non-profit consultanting, professional development, non-profit management services, computers, software training experienced in working with and for faith based groups interested in economic development, grant budgeting and writing, financial management and accounting review and reporting.




Administrator, Policy Planning Design and Development
City of Memphis, Division of Housing and Community Development

Ms. Singleton has over thirty years experience in Mortgage Banking, Federal Regulatory Compliance and Redevelopment Project Management. She has worked with the Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for nineteen years. Since 2005, Ms. Singleton has managed the City’s complex redevelopment projects, including monitoring of contracts, project expenditures, and developing funding strategies. She also interfaces with developers, consultants, community groups, government entities, city officials, boards and agencies.

Prior to 2005, Ms. Singleton administered all compliance, federal regulatory and monitoring requirements associated with all federal grants programs and any other State grants received by the City of Memphis through its Division of Housing and Community Development. Also during her tenure with the City, Ms. Singleton managed the City’s loan portfolio funded by federal, city and private sources and tracked all program income. She assisted in the establishment of the Project Review and In-House File review process, serves on the Loan Committee and chaired the HCD Project Review Team. Before joining the City, Ms. Singleton worked for over twenty years as a private mortgage banker responsible for the origination of residential and commercial mortgage loans, collection and tracking of all portfolio income, accounting, reconciliation, investor reporting, federal compliance and personnel management. She also participated in underwriting and approval reviews for all construction projects, marketed mortgage loans on the secondary market and performed quality control reviews.

Ms. Singleton attended the University of Memphis and St. Agnes Academy here in Memphis. She is certified by the National Development Council as a Housing Development Finance Professional and an Economic Development Finance Professional.


Conference Agenda



Wednesday, April 16, 2014



Thursday, April 17, 2014



Friday, April 18, 2014


AC WHARTON, JR., Mayor, City of Memphis
ROBERT LIPSCOMB, Director, Housing & Community Development

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