Sesley-Baymon Named CEO of Memphis Urban League

By Kate Simone

SESLEY-BAYMON

Tonja Sesley-Baymon has been appointed president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League by its board of directors. Sesley-Baymon, who has worked with the league for eight years, previously served as programs director for the 70-year-old organization. In her new role, she will provide executive leadership to the league and advocate on behalf of social justice and economic issues affecting Memphis.

Hometown: Memphis

Experience: Educational background in organizational management/human resources; over 20 years experience in nonprofit management.

Family: Married to Randall C. Baymon. Wonderful parents, Pastor W.A. Sesley and Juawice C. Sesley

Favorite quote: Actually it’s a scripture that I often quote … “I am more than a conqueror, and … I can do all things through Christ.”

Favorite movie: “The Shawshank Redemption” – Morgan Freeman … I love the outcome!

What’s playing on your stereo right now? Old school … Frankie Beverly and Maze! My CD changer is sprinkled with Donny Hathaway, Kirk Whalum, Paul Morton and smooth jazz.

What talent do you wish you had? If only I could sing! When God created me, he knew that to bless me with the talent of singing would be detrimental to all around me. I would sing nonstop!

When and how did you become involved with Memphis Urban League? I celebrated eight years in the Urban League Movement this past September (2013). My journey to the Memphis Urban League was predestined. I am a recipient of the awesome programs of the Memphis Urban League. I represent the face of the people we serve and empower.

What are your goals in your new position? My goal is to have a stronger presence in the city of Memphis and to bring the people back to the league. Dating back to 1932, the Memphis Urban League has been a people’s organization. Our programs are strong! My goal is to enhance and expand programming for a greater impact of empowerment and self-sufficiency.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? When I put that thought in perspective, there are several that come to mind. When the doctors said that I would never be able to work or live a productive life due to a physical condition, and through my faith, I proved them wrong. However, to answer the question … being the president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League; being a change agent for one of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Be prepared for opportunities when they come, ask questions, reach out when you need help, and stay focused. It’s important that they know that life happens and one does not always get it right, but as long as there is breath in your body, keep trying and it will work out.

UMSTED

Charles W. Umsted has been promoted to director in the Memphis office of Deloitte Tax LLP. Umsted serves international tax clients in the aerospace and defense industries.

Andrew Ballard has joined the Semmes Murphey Foundation as a research assistant for the National Neurosurgical Quality Outcomes Database. Ballard will help gather data as a quality outcomes initiative for improving patient care at Semmes Murphey Clinic.

Joey Edwards, director of the Memphis campus of Webster University, has been chosen as a cohort in the university’s 2014 Global Leadership Academy. Edwards and 15 others will participate in leadership development opportunities throughout the year.

MCENIRY

Robert G. McEniry, chairman of nexAir, has been named the 2013 distinguished alumnus of Christian Brothers High School. A 1959 CBHS graduate, McEniry joined nexAir in 1963, becoming president in 1971 and chairman/CEO in 1996.

Robert Bryant has been named to the Lifeblood board of directors. Bryant has served Lifeblood in several roles, including blood drive coordinator at Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, where he has worked as information technology lead since 2004.

CHERRY

Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South has appointed its board of directors for fiscal year 2014. Officers include: Kim Cherry, chairwoman; Willie Johnson, vice president of development; Layne McGuire, vice president of programs; Jackie Prester, secretary; and Jeff Lewis, treasurer. Board members include Michael Alpert, David Apollonio, Ricky Brock, Morgan Bohannon, Caton Brooks, Danny Campbell, Stuart Davidson, Dave Forell, Michael Landrum, Tom Lannan, Brian Martin, Kevin McEniry, Matthew Owens, Jackson Parris, Larry Shutzberg, Kristi Thomas and Alonzo Weaver.

Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs’ Memphis office has received first-tier rankings in U.S. News-Best Lawyers’ 2014 “Best Law Firms” in commercial litigation, corporate law, insurance law, banking and finance litigation, intellectual property litigation, patent litigation, securities litigation, personal injury litigation – defendants, product liability litigation – defendants, real estate law, trademark law, and trusts and estates law.