Economic and Community Development Bus Tour Recap

Posted by: Amber Hampton at  Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Leadership Memphis is revving up for our first Executive Class session of the new year next Friday, featuring a “living library,” at the Benjamin L. Hooks Main Library branch. This class session will focus on the Cradle to Career Pipeline and give our participants a chance to talk to some of Memphis’ most engaging industry leaders. Before jumping ahead to a new session, let’s recap December’s class, the Economic and Community Development Bus Tour.

The Guest House at Graceland (Whitehaven)



Our program director selected five Memphis neighborhoods to explore through driving tours while knowledgeable tour guides discussed the history, current efforts, and future development plans for each area. The tour covered Whitehaven and the Aerotropolis, Soulsville USA, Crosstown Concourse, Smokey City, and Broad Avenue Arts District.

This class day was a visual extension of a previous class day theme, “Vibrant Neighborhoods Make a Successful City.” Learning detailed information about Memphis neighborhoods and seeing the often unseen sights of these areas is a tangible way to apply the lesson learned in previous class days and use that information to think critically about what is happening in each community and how that affects the Memphis community as a whole.

Memphis International Airport (Aerotropolis/Whitehaven)


For Damon Bell, Memphis President of Pinnacle Financial Partners and current EP class member, the tour served to give him a “better idea of where things are located around the city and how different neighborhoods have their unique personalities, in many instances defined by companies that, at one point, anchored the community from an employee standpoint.”

Mary Elizabeth Malone Park (Smokey City)



Justin Jamerson, Business Development Consultant at the State of Tennessee and EP 2017 class member, explains it this way:

               This experience is important for a Memphian because no matter how long you've lived here or how much you think you know about the city, you have really only scratched the surface. The more time you spend experiencing the unfamiliar, the more you grow. That growth can lead to new and innovative ideas which can be applied in your everyday life and potentially affect change. That's the power of exploration.

Mural and Water Tower Pavillion (Broad Avenue Arts District)

We find that once our class participants begin applying the principles learned throughout the class in real-life settings, they are then to see the problems in these communities as challenges with solutions. A well rounded understanding of all the factors that go into a community is vital to finding sustainable ways to improve that community.

In addition to the tour, the December 15, class day gave EP 2017 the opportunity to tour the new Guest House at Graceland, hear from a speaker panel on community improvement, and get the most current updates on Church Health and their involvement in Crosstown Concourse.


Crosstown Development (Crosstown Councourse)

It was a full but fulfilling day and a great way to end our “first semester.” We are looking forward to continuing into 2017 with each one of our 2017 Executive Class members. 


STAX Museum (Soulsville)

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