Lessons From Chef Gary

Lessons From Chef Gary

Lessons from chef gary

Remembering gary williams

By JR Robinson

This article is brought to you by Krewe of DeJavu Check out their menu!

Bradley Whitford

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

This was the Chef Gary I knew, he was a guy that never waited on God. He did the work, he gave the help, he shared a meal, he loved the Saints, he shared joy, he inspired others to act, and God followed up with blessings. Chef Gary would not want me to be writing this from a place of sadness. Instead he would want this written with the joy that was his life. So instead of writing a tribute to Chef Gary, I decided to just share with you some of what Gary taught me in our many conversations.

Joy is Always in Season

Chef Gary had struggles like we all do, but I never saw it. I knew they were there. He would share things about cash flow issues, taxes, and health. But it was never in a “woe is me” spirit. Gary always had that smile on his face that said, right now this is a season of Joy. If there was one take away that I want to carry fourth from knowing Chef Gary, this is on the top ten list. Joy is always the best choice, no matter what you are going through.

You can Always Give

Giving is one of those things that seemed like it was built into the DNA of Chef Gary. Even on his most difficult of days, his giving spirit was on display in some shape of form. Gary was cooking a meal for someone or donating to a cause. The word no when it came to giving was almost not there at all. I was had first hand experience seeing Chef Gary helping someone when I knew he could not afford to be giving on this day. But not having was never a reason for not giving. Chef Gary did not give to be seen giving, he gave because it was the right thing to do and he believed that God would help him to continue to give. So life could have been one of extravagant living for Chef Gary, but instead he lived a life of exceptional giving!

Start at Home

Gary was a big supporter of the African American Community. He personally hosted multiple events for the Heal the Hood Foundation. Over the years and over many lunches, Gary talked about the importance of the African American Community working together as a group instead of pulling each other down. This isn’t a thought that Gary just talked about, his everyday was devoted to lifting up others in his community and being a role model was important. The Gary view of being a role model was a sincere role of just living the best life you could and allowing that example to lift others. He did not wake up in the morning with an attitude of “I want people to look at me”. Instead he simply lived a life worth looking at.

Your Brothers & Sisters Come in all Colors

Gary‘s support of the African American Community did not come at the expense of any other community. There was not a racial divide with Chef Gary, Hayden Parsons a local white boxer and community supporter refers to Chef Gary as Uncle Gary. Why? Because Gary loved everyone, he wanted to help everyone and it did not matter your race, religion, or community standing. For the Chef, sharing a great meal with a smile, an exchange of ideas and a few belly laughs was an inherent right for all of us! We are all brothers and sisters. This is how he wanted everyone to see the world.

You have to Eat

One lesson Chef Gary shared was that you have to take care of yourself. He was always asking how Sky was doing? If you followed him on Facebook, you could see that he wanted to best for his grand kids and wanted to leave them with something great. He wanted me to do the same for Sky. He also wanted this for the families he served. Gary knew that I under charged for services. He knew that I let clients not pay at times if they were struggling. But he would say, Jerome you got to Eat. He was trying to tell me that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to take care of others. I think he was passionate about this with me because he had first-hand experience giving to others and helping others while putting his needs on the back burner. I haven’t completely learned this lesson yet, and I am not sure that Chef Gary ever did either.

Live a Life Worth Sharing

A friend of mine said something powerful at his grandfather‘s funeral. He said that the greatest lesson from his grandfather‘s life was that he died empty, because he accomplished everything he wanted, with no regrets. I think that, along with leaving a legacy, would be the greatest sign of success.

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“It was 12:31 at night and something woke me up. I grabbed my phone like I always do and there was a message on Facebook from Kelly Price with a picture of Chef Gary. I didn’t know how to process it. I sat up and read it again. I thought, I am not reading this correctly. Once It was clear what was being said, I still thought there was something incorrect. But within minutes, I could see that this was not an error. Chef Gary Williams had died. This was a shock to my system. I talk to Gary all the time. I see him at all the big events helping the community. We had just interviewed him a couple weeks ago. But then I remembered this scripture from the bible.”

“Because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”
Ecclesiastes 9:11.

Chef Gary‘s life was never going to be finished. There was never going to be a day where he was done helping others. Why? Because there was no end to the goodness and the willingness to help others. His heart just was not made with limits on love, giving, support, and joy. So death may have taken him, but his legacy will always be here. Chef Gary lived a life worth sharing. Take a look across Facebook and Instagram and you will see an out pouring of support from people who’s lives have been touched by this great man. In death, Chef Gary has reminded me to live a life worth sharing. We can’t see what will happen after we are gone. So live your greatness today!

Ecclesiastes 3: 20 – 23.

All are going to the same place. They all come from the dust, and they all are returning to the dust. 21 Who really knows whether the spirit of humans ascends upward, and whether the spirit of animals descends down to the earth? 22 And I saw that there is nothing better than for a man to find enjoyment in his work, because that is his reward; for who can enable him to see what will happen after he is gone?

A Message to His Family

The pain of your loss will not soon fade. The loss of Gary as a husband, a father, a grand father, and as a friend is a great loss. He leaves a void that simply can’t be filled. So I encourage you to embrace his example. Love life everyday, find your greatness and share it with the world, laugh everyday, smile everyday, cheer on the saints, see others for who they are capable of being and not as they appear today, give to others, love everyone, and most of all never forget all those special moments you shared with Gary. I want to leave one last thought with you. My mother died of Cancer, she hated that she could not do the things she once did. So I read this verse to her many times. It was a reminder that God never forgets the greatness of your works. Chef Gary was an amazing man who gave when he didn’t have it to give. That is the man that God remembers. I hope that is how you will remember him also!

Hebrews 6:10 King James Version:


For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

S. Thornton

Always helping others, always ready to donate his time, always a friend to everyone! We will miss you next year at MMIM! One of a kind! #ChefGary

M. Elmore

Met him in the airport before he opened DeJaVu. New Orleans connected. Wonderful man. Shared what he had with others. He will be missed. #ChefGary

D. Thompson

Always smiling, such a wonderful man! #ChefGary

D. Bailey

Gonna miss that Positive Energy#ChefGary

E. Allen

You will be missed #ChefGary

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Lessons From Chef Gary

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Who is The Neely Agency

Who is The Neely Agency

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The neely agency?
By Sheri Neely and the #FunCrew
The Neely Agency
Sheri Neely is the founder and managing partner of an award-winning boutique integrated marketing firm The Neely Agency, LLC headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. She has always been an entrepreneur by heart. It is in her blood. Her friends and family agree that she has a drive and a positive attitude that was special from a young age. Her father and her grandfather were entrepreneurs. As a senior in high school, she took the newly formed entrepreneurship class that was designed for students who lived in rural Lee County, Arkansas where she grew up.
By the end of the school year, she would receive the prize winnings for having the best business plan in her class which included a meeting with the Arkansas governor and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Young Entrepreneurs Conference. She would go on to get her feet wet in launching a few side businesses with partners over the next several years. As a child, her mother and father would tell her that she could be anything that she wanted to be. But it wasn’t until she joined corporate America that she knew that she wanted to be a business leader in corporate America. She had a successful career working for Fortune 500 companies in advertising and marketing over a 15-year period. She attended college right after high school but decided to join the workforce and did not earn a degree right away. However, an encounter with a sexist, racist manager prompted her to leave corporate America and attend school full-time and earn her degree. With her husband’s support, she did just that.

While she was pursuing a degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations at the University of Memphis, she decided that she wanted to pursue an education in law which would take her and her husband to Orange County, California. Not too long after attending law school, she discovered that law wasn’t her true calling. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and armed with her degree in public relations, she hit the pavement off looking for her dream job in one of the top PR markets in the world. She immediately humbled herself when she discovered that Los Angeles is also one of the most competitive PR markets in the world. She made it up in her mind that she would be willing to work in the mailroom for an opportunity to get her start in a PR firm in Los Angeles. She ended up in a position right under the Vice President of the firm.

Her corporate America marketing and advertising experience was looked upon favorably in the multi-million-dollar integrated marketing firm that was one of the largest African American firms in Los Angeles. She was hired to manage the day-to-day public relations, advertising and marketing of the largest and oldest account that the firm had. Her dad’s illness would bring her back to Memphis, Tennessee. After returning to Memphis, her dad passed away a year later. She feels one of the best decisions she ever made was to be by his side for his last year on earth while being back home in the South. Although, the decision was bittersweet.

She had to leave her adopted city of Los Angeles where she and her husband had developed a very substantial network, made new friends, was introduced to family, enjoyed attending celebrity events, and going to the beach almost weekly. She founded The Neely Agency, LLC in 2013 while her and her husband were between Los Angeles and Memphis and is thankful for the opportunity to have her husband Victor Neely whose background is in auditing and account management and her aunt Selma Brinson whose background is in tax management and accounting as partners.

What is your daily routine?
What is your daily routine? I wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and meditate for 15 minutes, I read the Bible and I pray. This usually takes about an hour and a half. This time is the most important part of my day. I may or may not go work out. I must do better in this area. That’s why it’s important for me to have my prayer and meditation time and eat healthy to make up for not working out sometimes. You must have a way to deal with stress. Meditation and prayer are my ways of dealing with stress. I check my emails, social media, and text messages early. Sometimes I may take an early morning conference call from home. But I typically eat breakfast which is my favorite meal of the day…which just so happens to be one of the most important meals of the day. A couple of my favorite foods to eat for breakfast are oatmeal with fruit, craisins or raisins, and nuts or “green eggs and sam” which are simply egg whites, salmon and spinach mixed together or as an omelet. One of the things that I love the most about being the CEO of a marketing firm is no two days are ever the same.

Running an integrated marketing firm that also has a casting division, there are multiple projects to manage. I enjoy pulling teams together to execute client projects, managing the projects and watching them come to fruition. As a consultant, I enjoy helping my clients see their dreams come to reality or help them work through marketing issues within their companies. My day consists of meetings, calls and emails with clients, partners, team members, vendors, and media. It also includes writing, editing, reviewing, and planning PR, marketing and advertising materials, messaging, and campaigns. After my work day is over and if there are no conference calls, evening meetings, client events or networking events that I must attend, I usually go home and cook one of the meals that was delivered from either Home Chef or Sun Basket (two of my favorite meal kit delivery services). I must admit that I am constantly checking my email on my iPhone or iPad throughout the day because as a CEO, your day never really ends.

What do you like the most about being the President/CEO of an Integrated Marketing Firm?
From a personal perspective, the most important thing to me is that I am my own boss. Family is very important to me. Friends are as well. I like being able to go on vacation whenever I want to… (for the most part…as long as I plan around mandatory client events.) I like being able to go and come as I please. From a business perspective, we typically work on projects that we enjoy. Overseeing the creation of positive messaging, campaigns conceptualized, developed, and executed for the world to see or hear has always made me smile. Although I have been doing this for years, it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It is very rewarding to be a part of the process. Generating results for our clients are always enjoyable…the kind of results that make our clients grin from ear to ear. I also enjoy being able to select who I want as a client. I am a realist, and I understand that every client is not a match for our firm. Finally, being able to groom and mentor young people of color in an industry where people of color have been marginalized. Although there have been efforts made to improve diversity in the marketing and public relations industry, I think we still have a long way to go and I would like to help contribute to these efforts.
Does your firm have a specialty?
Due to the growing multicultural population, and due to the growth of underserved populations, the Neely Agency fills that gap in the industry by setting up highly skilled teams with the knowledge and expertise to create campaigns that are culturally-sensitive across all populations. The Neely Agency is an agency for the new multicultural America. We also saw a growing need for full service communications firms that can handle clients’ multiple needs for traditional marketing, digital marketing, advertising and public relations which fosters an environment for consistent messaging and content across all platforms. The Neely Agency customizes marketing and PR services for each client’s specific needs. There is no job too big for the Neely Agency as we source the specific talent and services to meet each need. The Neely Agency can even cast and secure talent for television, online, and print advertisement.
Why should a potential client choose your firm?
One of the many benefits of working with our team is personalization. The president and the creative/design team personally supervise all accounts. We personalize service needs based on the current situation, past challenges and future goals. We understand the value of a dollar and limited budgets. As a lean, flat company, we have a responsibility to stewardship of resources, which puts us in a position to provide great value to our clients. The Neely Agency service model allows us to create a team of the best of the best contractors who work for their reputation and not just for a paycheck. As a result, we can always provide services that are client-focused and results-driven.
What and who motivates and inspires you? Do you have a support system?
My favorite Scripture is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I really believe this with all my heart and have seen it throughout my life. So, God is my primary source of inspiration. My mother and father were my first source of inspiration and biggest support system. My siblings were my second. When I married my husband 18 years ago, he became a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me and he still is to this day. He has been a consistent support system for me.

My aunt Selma Brinson, who also runs a successful business, has been a huge inspiration, has always motivated me, and has always supported me from day one. I also have other close family and friends who are also part of my support system and who consistently motivates me. Mentors over the years have also been a source of inspiration. One that comes to mind is Ephraim Urevbu. He has been an awesome mentor for years, and still is. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention Kim Hunter and Keisha Brown. They gave me my first PR and marketing job and helped to develop me into the successful PR and marketing practitioner that I am today. I was inspired by them then and I am yet inspired by them today. But there are also other giants in the industry who are “mentors in my head” who I have admired from afar and have been inspired by such as the owner of The Britto Agency Marvett Britto and Cathy Hughes founder of Radio One who became the first African-American woman to head the publicly traded company. Of course, most African-American women are inspired by the likes of Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey and I am no exception.

How do you like having partners?
Even though I have partners, they allow me to manage the company as the marketing expert and business leader that they know I am. However, they are there when I need them. I don’t think that this firm would have grown consistently year after year if I didn’t have partners like them. They bring more than 50 years combined of invaluable knowledge, expertise and experience to the firm.
Any tips for others who may be trying to get into the industry or build their own business?
Identify a mentor or mentors who is/are successful in what you want to become. Also, identify mentor or mentors who are simply successful and can provide you feedback from a different perspective. Meet with him or her as often as possible, at least once or twice a month. Become a lifelong learner. Although, I earned my bachelor’s degree, I knew that I needed to learn how to run a successful business, so I went back to school and earned an Executive MBA from the University of Memphis. If you are not able to go back to school, take independent classes online or go to seminars or workshops.

Join professional organizations which also offer classes or workshops. I did not stop at getting my MBA. I also participated in The City of Memphis’ Propel Accelerator founded by StartCo which is a 12-week intense program for minority entrepreneurs and business owners. I also graduated from the Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders program that is hosted in Memphis and included the opportunity to meet with and learn from the top business coaches, bankers, and CPAs, and develop connections with others in the community. It also included nearly 100 hours of executive entrepreneurship classroom time focused on business development and expansion strategies. Also, network, network, network. Attend relevant events where you can potentially meet your next client, business partner, or team member. Organizations can be very good for networking.

I am a 2017 graduate of the Leadership Memphis Executive Program and although it took almost a year to get through the program, it was well worth it. I look back on all these programs and I am thrilled to have been a part of each one of them. I learned invaluable information and made lifelong connections in each one. I can go on about things that you should do, which I would probably have to write a book about it one day. But, the most important are to keep God first and family second; be a loyal friend; live a healthy lifestyle, don’t compromise your integrity; be positive; be confident; work hard; learn as much as you can; set goals; take risks; read daily; don’t give up; enjoy life; love people period; love yourself; don’t take yourself so seriously; and laugh or smile at yourself and with others as often as you can.

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Lessons From Chef Gary

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Time to #BeAmazing

Share Your Story Today!

We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!
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Keyaira’s Empress Empire

Keyaira’s Empress Empire

Keyaira’s

Empress Empire

By Keyaira Horne

This Article is brought to you by Absolute Moving Services. Click to request a quote!

Empress Empire

Keyaira, a Memphis, Tennessee, native and founder of Empress Empire. She has worked in business and sales since coming out of high school in 2012. She also spent some time serving in the military. Throughout the years of her service and skills she has acquired, she has learned how to work with a diverse background of people and magnify her skills as a sales person. Empress Empire was birthed out of her passion of always wanting to be an entrepreneur, but not having access to culturally tailored business plans, and mentors that could relate to her. During a few of her projects she recounts spending hours on top of days to complete tasks. She agrees that had she had the proper guidance she could have spent less time on those simple tasks and more time focusing on self-development as an entrepreneur.

She would not be where she is today without the help of her female mentors, coaches, business bestie, or aunts and grandmas who have contributed along the way. This is why it is so important for her to help other women and she says she always will! It’s a great feeling to be able to help other women just because it’s your purpose.

empress empire

To Inspire

We all hope to truly inspire others, and to help them put forth action to achieve their goals. We want to make sure that they continue to progress moving #onestepcloser to their dreams and they will … as long as they are willing to invest in themselves, toss out dead excuses, and put in the work. Putting in the work means having the discipline to sit down and focus on your goals with no distractions, it means execution.

With a team of serial entrepreneurs and focused business women, we can all come together and create a powerhouse of boss women with empires. We are here to change lives and help women walk in their passion with a community of go-getters!

We have been inspired and lead by some magnificent women. Not only do they get things done, but they also divide their time by putting on so many hats. Being a female entrepreneur is a true art and once you synergize with other women entrepreneurs you get what Empress Empire would call “powerhouse magic”! Here are five things that happen when female entrepreneurs come together.

The relationship between entrepreneurs and their contributions to the locals in the community grows. Its highly contagious when you have women giving, and helping to nurture the community. When women connect they add value and a variety of services to the locals and their businesses. They also contribute to helping the community by hosting several mediums of activities like, educational seminars, empowerment events, back to school drives, and feeding the needy to name a few.

Conclusion

Self-Empowerment is highly contagious amongst women. A group of women motivating, inspiring and actively helping each other can have a profound effect on other individuals. This dynamic energy overflows into the worlds of others. Imagine being in a room full of high-energy individuals; it would instantly eliminate negative behaviors. A great model of relationships to have is one where all parties are treated fairly and can benefit from the feel-good vibes they get when coming together.

Entrepreneur services are efficiently communicated and supported by the local government. The local government is full of resources. What better way to create success for your local community, but by doing business with the local government. You can add more credibility to your platform and increase your influence by participating with local government groups.

Charitable contributions will be at an all-time high. Whether its donating money, can good foods, having a coat drive, or simply spreading the word through the local communities the charity work will increase. Entrepreneurs understand the importance of giving and receiving. Giving and providing value to others is one of the most important duties of an entrepreneur.

Last but not least, have you heard of the phrase “teamwork makes the dreamwork”? It all starts with who you have on your team so choose wisely. Can they operate when you are not there? Working together as a team builds trust and confidence within your brand or product. Best of all you create an awesome comradery between each other that is sure to be long lasting.

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Reasons Moving Sucks:

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Lessons From Chef Gary

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Time to #BeAmazing

Share Your Story Today!

We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!

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Are you Chasing or Pursuing? A play on Words

Are you Chasing or Pursuing? A play on Words

Are you chasing or Pursuing?

A play on words

By Ellen “Butterflyy” Allen

This article is being brought to you by cityCURRENT, Get Involved & Power the GOOD!

Wait a minute chasing and pursuing have the same meaning, of course they do according to traditional definition , (Merman-Webster).
Many people today choose to say that they are chasing their dream, do you realize what chasing means? You are always behind something, is that really where we need to be, is that really where we want to be? If you change the words you change the meaning. I guess you can always say it’s a oxymoron if we look at it in a literal sense. Let’s explore from Butterflyy’s viewpoint.

Defining words that maybe similar has often times leaned towards personal interpretation. Individual lifestyle’s, personalities and opinions afford us the opportunity to esteem those words differently. We all have grind but how we hustle it makes it different, right,the word play could go on forever.

When I think of the “Chase” it puts me in a mind of a never ending journey. You are always on the go, never having time to really outline and critique your moves, at least not from a vantage point. I know, I know some of the most successful people have said they chased their dreams until it became reality. I however think the words we choose to define our journey can add or subtract from the likelihood of me attaining my measure, so I prefer the word “Pursue”.


Now that’s a word I embrace, Pursue, it is the reason I wake up each day with a list of fresh thoughts. Planning a realistic outline for the things I would like to achieve seems easier for me. I am a natural when it comes to encouraging others to pursue their dreams also. Exhaustion is not my friend or anyone’s friend for that matter an although I may seem opinionated I find it’s refreshing to plan your work and work your plan if you are looking for the best outcome.

Some say it’s generational the use of the word chase, I can agree with that also. There are many words that have surfaced in this modern age of tech savvy millennials and fast paced social media outlets where many use words interchangeably, it’s okay.

It’s not up for debate, I find it interesting however that many judge others by their use of words. Just the others day I was in chase of my grandsons as they ran over-winded in the park while I lacked sufficient wind to catch up to them. So maybe it is age an since I am getting older I guess I’ll stick to the word I am most familiar with, and that happens to be Pursue, not Chase.

If you have a voice and the matter contact me an I’ll be more than excited to here your take on running vs walking. Chasing or pursuing

cityCURRENT is a privately-funded catalyst for the Mid-South and Middle Tennessee. A team of more than 100 partner companies have come together to host FREE events, along with an array of positive-oriented media and philanthropic initiatives to enrich, engage and impact the community. Our mission is to #PowertheGOOD and we invite you to join with us.

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MWBE Program Rigged?

Addressing economic growth starts with black small business and workforce development in Memphis. Memphis has an abundance of governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges but if its rigged; it won’t work. So, is the City of Memphis MWBE program rigged? One anonymous local MBE contractor thinks so.

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MWBE Program Rigged?

MWBE Program Rigged?

MWBE Program rigged?

By Joe B. Kent

Addressing economic growth starts with black small business and workforce development in Memphis. Memphis has an abundance of governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges but if its rigged; it won’t work. So, is the City of Memphis’ MWBE program rigged? One anonymous local MBE contractor thinks so.

The African American contractor points to 3 primary reasons they feel the City of Memphis MWBE program is rigged against African American, smaller non-establishment players:

1. The combining of MBE and WBE contracting to satisfy local MWBE requirements. The contractor says that WBEs often serve as façade for local establishment players to exploit the MWBE provision resulting in the same establishment players getting MWBE business. The contractor advocates for separating MBE and WBE goals.

2. Bonding provision for anything over $150K on the $175M Cook Convention Center project. The contractor states that the bonding requirement is exclusionary for smaller less established African American business. The contractor provides a solution in the form of an insurance policy that acts as a bond which smaller contractors will more likely qualify. The insurance approach is used in other cities on large projects.

3. Excessively large contracting packages on the Cook Convention Center project that smaller contractors can’t handle. The contractor advocates for breaking contracting opportunities down into smaller packages so that more MBEs can participate.

The contractor also shared concerns of getting “the back and forth” between City Officials and those involved in managing the Convention Center bid process regarding contracting issues as well as the same MBE establishment players getting excessive amounts of minority business. The contractor fears other contractors may be masquerading as WBEs for continued participation in MWBE programming.

Having done work across the country, the highly qualified contractor feels embraced in other communities. Other communities need this contractor and this contractor needs them. But that feeling does not exist for this contractor in their home of Memphis which is discouraging for this contractor. The contractor knows that if current rigged trends continue, it will further decimate African American business in Memphis.

If the MWBE requirements for the largest City of Memphis project in over a decade are any indication of a desire to grow, then the local establishment probably doesn’t want to grow. Given the already concerning data trends, this won’t be good for Memphis.

 

Does Memphis Want To Grow?

Does Memphis want to grow ? It’s a question that does not need to be asked in most cities. But it’s a legitimate question given the data, the self-inflicted wounds by the establishment, the lack of course correction, the rigged state and the over-abundance of ineffective governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges.

In order to address Memphis economic development challenges, the city will need to be derigged. By definition, system rigging guts system vitality required for growth. Signs of a rigged system are evident in Memphis trend line declining small business vitality data and can be directly linked to the Memphis Tomorrow CEO organization largely taxpayer funded Fast Forward project.

Since the Memphis Tomorrow birthed Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) started their retention payment-in-lieu of taxes PILOT program that prioritizes incentives for corporate interests, small business vitality has declined to last in the country. In fact, according to data from the American City Business Journal, the Memphis MSA lost 923 small business establishments between 2012-17 which can be shown to cost 13,588 jobs, $680M in lost wages and $20M in lost Memphis / Shelby tax revenue. The price of a rigged system is high!


Economic development in Memphis starts with black small business growth and workforce development. No rigged system in the world is going to fix that. These trend lines signal a need for culture change which points to system derigging while prioritizing the needs of customer taxpayers.

 

Conclusion

A rigged system doesn’t work in a competitive global economy. Current trends indicate a Crump like culture of times gone by that leverage large sums of government funds for the small few in social elites and developers. System derigging and cultural transformation, starting at the top, appear to be the only path forward for Memphis. A closed rigged system just won’t work.

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MWBE Program Rigged?

Addressing economic growth starts with black small business and workforce development in Memphis. Memphis has an abundance of governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges but if its rigged; it won’t work. So, is the City of Memphis MWBE program rigged? One anonymous local MBE contractor thinks so.

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We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!

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Company d Dancers: Humble Beginnings

Company d Dancers: Humble Beginnings

Introducing

Company d dancers

By Duy N.

From Humble Beginnings

In an effort to entertain at a dinner celebrating 15 years of Special Kids and Families (SKF), founder Darlene Winters was approached by an SKF board member and mom to choreograph small sequence for the guests. The group was comprised of six SKF graduates who were eager to do some dancing. During the three months rehearsing for the dinner, everyone helping making the vision become a reality had started thinking about the future. I’m sure the idea of stopping after one show wasn’t a part of the plan any longer. For myself dance is just way too fun to do only once. Parents, the dancers, and Darlene decided that they wanted to continue dancing as an ensemble. February 2011 marked when “The Dancers” would start weekly classes with the rest being history.

As the dancers honed their techniques, doing shows on the national, regional, and local level they now have their own dance studio. The space opened in 2014 which allows the class to accommodate new faces looking to learn and most importantly, D.A.N.C.E. They practice and perform a wide range of styles ranging from ballet to modern, After meeting Darlene at a local non profit networking event, I proposed to come teach them a little bit of the dancing I do, not because I’m particularly good, but because art is something you just want to share with others that are passionate. So that’s a possibility and I look forward to having the logistics figured out on that front. I recently visited the studio and watched as the dancers keeping toes pointed and watching the angles of arms and legs during movements. I’m not gonna lie, the ballet terminology was beyond me but the class knew what was going on and that’s what really mattered. It was a delight seeing individuals enjoy working on their craft and get a first hand glimpse of learning all the stances, foot placements, and the million other things these dancers have to know to perform for an audience. 

company d footage

Duncan-Williams, Inc. Presents:

It's Happening in Memphis

Benefiting the Germantown Performing Arts Center

2018-2019 
GPAC SEASON

  • November 4, 2018 Soweto Gospel Choir
  • November 10, 2018 Ellis Marsalis Quintet
  • January 11, 2019 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver with Flatt Lonesome
  • January 12, 2019 Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra
  • January 26, 2019 Dorrance Dance
  • February 2, 2019 Jazzmeia Horn
  • March 30, 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
  • March 1, 2019 Shawn Colvin
  • May 4, 2019 Ballet Memphis: Midsummer Night's Dream

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MWBE Program Rigged?

Addressing economic growth starts with black small business and workforce development in Memphis. Memphis has an abundance of governmental and nonprofit programming to address local challenges but if its rigged; it won’t work. So, is the City of Memphis MWBE program rigged? One anonymous local MBE contractor thinks so.

Time to #BeAmazing

Share Your Story Today!

We believe there is an amazing story just waiting to be told inside everyone.  Stories that inspire change, ideas, and action.  Some stories are painful, some are fun, and others are life changing.  BeAmazing and share your story today on JustMy!

Like and Share justmymemphis on Facebook Click Now!