Join the chamber


The Greater Memphis Chamber is pleased to announce the launch of the Memphis Workforce Leadership Academy for 2023-2024.

The Workforce Leadership Academy brings leaders from across the Greater Memphis workforce ecosystem together for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. It’s a forum for local leaders to work together to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions for economic opportunity for all. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.

Alumni of the Academy become part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, joining Fellows from fourteen previous Academies in eleven cities in the US and Canada.


The Academy engages leaders in a yearlong peer learning cohort to:

  • Expand and deepen professional networks and partnerships;
  • Strengthen organizational and systems leadership skills;
  • Apply a race and equity lens to assess and improve workforce services and strategies;
  • Apply systems change framework to Fellows’ work;
  • Deepen understanding of effective strategies and programs; and
  • Provide a forum to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions


Academies engage senior-level managers of organizations that make up the Greater Memphis workforce development ecosystem. A maximum of 24 Fellows will be selected. Applicants should be:

  • Located and working within the Greater Memphis area.
  • Working within nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, public agencies, or economic development organizations.
  • In a position of leadership and decision-making authority related to workforce development efforts, with the capacity and ability to execute strategies on behalf of their organization
  • Engaged in or planning workforce development efforts in Greater Memphis related to connecting workers to quality jobs and/or career pathways
  • Interested in designing and implementing effective strategies to strengthen their local workforce system
  • Committed to achieving equity across race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation
  • Eager to collaborate with others in their local workforce system, reflect on their current work, explore leadership practices, and gain feedback from colleagues

Inclusivity and diversity are core values of the Memphis Leadership Academy. Applicants of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The cohort of Fellows will be selected to represent the diversity of organization type and focus as well as race, ethnicity, and gender.

For more information, please see the Workforce Leadership Academy Applicant Overview.


Over the academic year beginning in March, Fellows participate in:

  • A virtual 90-minute orientation on March 17, 2023
  • An opening three-day retreat (two overnights) on March 28 – 30
  • Five Academy sessions and five Collaborative Lab meetings held during the same week:
    • four sessions held online (5 hours) on May 2, June 6, August 29, and October 3
    • four labs held online (3 hours) on May 4, June 8, August 31, and October 5
    • one combined session with lab held in person (6 hours) on September 7
  • One networking event for fellows, supervisors, and advisors on September 7, immediately after the full-day, in-person session
  • One leadership 360 assessment process and debrief workshop (4 hours) on July 31, 2023
  • A closing three-day retreat (two overnights), November 1 – 3
  • Collaborative Learning Lab presentations at an in-person stakeholder event on December 1
  • Continued learning, application, and collaboration between workshop sessions (self-directed time of up to two hours between sessions as well as nine to 12 hours of collaborative project work across a small team of Fellows)


The Memphis Workforce Leadership Academy application deadline is February 16, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. Please go ahead and indicate your interest as soon as possible by completing a short Intent to Apply Survey; you can then complete the full application by the deadline.

All applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by March 5, 2023.

Applications will be reviewed and approved by members of the Memphis Workforce Leadership Academy Local Advisory Council.

The Application and Intent to Apply Survey are to be completed here:

A sample application with supporting forms is available here for your review before starting the online submission:

The submission materials include:

  • A completed Intent to Apply Survey and Full Application submitted online
  • Your resume and/or link to your LinkedIn page
  • Organizational chart
  • Letter of reference from a supervisor or external collaboration partner
  • Commitment to Participate form signed by you
  • Authorization to Participate form signed by your supervisor


An informational webinar to learn more about the Academy will be held on January 17, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. Register for the webinar here.


Jamilica Burke, Seeding Success
Dr. Tracy Hall, Southwest Community College
Dr. Kenneth Robinson,  United Way Mid-South
Tom Marino, Poplar Foundation
David Jordan, Agape
Dr. Dick Irwin, University of Memphis
Jan Young, Assisi Foundation

Penelope Huston, Downtown Commission
Trevia Chatman, Bank of America
Danielle Inez, Shelby County Government
Holly Coleman, Hyde Family Foundation
Alex Smith, City of Memphis
Shante Avant, Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis


The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington DC. Its mission is to spark intellectual inquiry and exchange, create a diverse worldwide community of leaders committed to the greater good, and provide a nonpartisan forum for reaching solutions on vital public policy issues. The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program advances promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans connect to and thrive in a changing economy. Over its 25 years of work, the Economic Opportunities Program has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and to build assets and economic stability.

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of Walmart, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Foundation.


The Memphis Leadership Academy is facilitated by the Workforce Development team at the Greater Memphis Chamber:

Amity Schuyler, Senior Vice President of Workforce Development
Sondra Howell, Vice President, Talent Innovation
Jessica Mosley, Director of Diversity & Community Development


Commit to spending local


Learn more about the benefits of Chamber membership

Greater Memphis Chamber | 100 Peabody Place, Suite 1000 | Memphis, TN 38103 | 901-543-3500
© 2023 Greater Memphis Chamber. All rights reserved.