With a united voice and a strategic vision for transformational change, the Chairman’s Circle was established by the Greater Memphis Chamber on November 21, 2012.
The Chairman’s Circle is a leadership body created to engage Memphis business leaders on a variety of issues that affect Memphis and the Mid-South. The group’s intention is to cause transformational change through leadership working closely with civic partners and public officials. A goal was established to recruit 100 business leaders to join this new group within eighteen months. Over the course of the past 12 months, the leaders of the newly formed Chairman’s Circle, along with members of the Chamber’s senior staff, met with over 198 executives.
Today, the Chairman’s Circle has 116 members representing over 100,000+ employees in the Memphis Business Community.
The Greater Memphis Chamber serves as the lead job retention and recruitment agency for Memphis & Shelby County. Results of the Chairman’s Circle can be measured through the success of the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Economic Development Activity.
Members of the Chairman’s Circle pushed forward five “Moon Missions.” Inspired by a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy of landing a man on the moon in the 1960s, the “Moon Missions” brought forth by the Chairman’s Circle all have a significant impact on the economic prosperity of Greater Memphis and envision a world-class city.
The Chairman’s Circle will be reclaiming the role “Voice of Business” and changing the culture of our community. This is not a board of directors. This is a collaboration of leaders with the resources, the clout and the responsibility to make things happen.
Making Memphis Great
To use our collective strengths as community and business leaders to create a clear path to positive change in Memphis and the Mid-South.
The Chairman’s Circle is a group of Memphis and Mid-South business leaders representing thousands of employees that are motivated and passionate about seeing our city and its citizens achieve our true potential. With always having a focus on the collective best interest for our city and its citizens, the members will work diligently along with the Greater Memphis Chamber to identify meaningful initiatives and attempt to engage every citizen of this community to work together in a united and coordinated fashion to ensure that we are successful in achieving mutually beneficial results.
Co-Chair: Richard Smith, FedEx
Co-Chair: Spence Wilson, Jr., Kemmons Wilson Companies
To create a single front door to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Memphis area by directing and coordinating existing resources, as well as developing and leading new programs in key strategic sectors.
• Announced the hiring of TechTown Detroit CEO Leslie Lynn Smith as President of the EPIcenter and Vice President of Memphis Bioworks.
• 2015 Schedule of EPIcenter Growth Academy events planned & executed.
Chair: Robin Smithwick, Diversified Trust
To develop the Green Spaces in the Mid-South to attract and retain talent, fortify our tax base, bolster tourism, and improve community wellness and quality of life..
• The Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan was released in February 2015 at a public event in conjunction with the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability
• The plan has been adopted by 40 of the partner agencies and three governmental jurisdictions (including the Shelby County Commission)
• John Michels has been hired as the Greenprint Coordinator to work with the Office of Sustainability on transitioning the plan to the implementation phase
Co-Chair: Willie Gregory, Nike
Co-Chair: Deborah McKitten, DuPont
To develop a system that will enable us to fulfill 3,000 industrial jobs per year.
• Following the recommendations of the Harvard Tech and Brookings team, the Greater Memphis Alliance for Competitive Workforce (GMACW) was formed.
• Co-Chairs, Willie Gregory (Nike) and Debbie McKitten (DuPont) have been named Co-Chairs of the GMACW.
• Dr. Glenn Fenter has been hired as President and two highly qualified VPs have also joined the team: John Churchill for Business Services and Pauline Vernon for Workforce Systems Alignment.
• Grants/funds to support both the administrative operations and the programming at the educational partners have been secured in excess of $15 million.
Chair: Frank Ricks, LRK, Inc.
Establish a long-range, comprehensive growth plan for the City of Memphis. This plan will address current and future neighborhood, economic, infrastructure and real estate growth for the next 35+ years. A plan of this nature is essential to ensure that continuing growth of the city's geographical footprint will create more opportunities for private sector economic growth, reverse migration trends and create a sustainable business model.
Chair: Kathy Buckman Gibson
To ensure all children ages 0-12 months through Pre-K have the opportunity to receive quality education.
• The State of Tennessee was awarded $17.5 million for early childhood education – to be split evenly between Shelby County Area Districts and Metro Nashville Public Schools.
• TN Dept. of Education doing preparatory work so that they will be ready to move when the legislature approves the funds.
Co-Chair: Spence Wilson, Jr., Kemmons Wilson Companies
Co-Chair: Jonathan Epstein, Running Pony
To rid the city of trash and blight by 2019, our city’s bicentennial, as we attempt to recapture the title of America’s cleanest city.
• The moon mission was divided into three committees – Blight Reduction, Trash Reduction and Community Mobilization – led by Chairman’s Circle members and community leaders.
• Hundreds of volunteers participated in cleanups in Orange Mound in August and November of 2015 as well as across the city on the MLK Day of Service, coordinated by Janet Boscarino and Clean Memphis.
• The Chairman’s Circle approved the funding to hire a Program Coordinator – Zones/Grassroots Engagement position for Clean Memphis to lead the recruitment of companies and organizations for zone adoption.
Chairman's Circle Radio
The Chairman’s Circle Radio Show broadcasts weekly on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on 600 WREC AM and repeats on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on WDIA AM1070. The show is hosted by Duncan Williams, Co-Chair of the Chairman’s Circle and includes guests sharing updates on initiatives and efforts that are making Memphis great. The guests are typically booked 4 weeks in advance. If you are interested in being a guest, please contact Christina Meek at email@example.com. Listen now ...
Join The Chairman's Circle
If you are interested in becoming a Chairman's Circle member, please contact Joanna Kelly at (901) 543-3520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.