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VOL. 129 | NO. 168 | Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mullins Joins New Memphis Institute as Marketing Director

By Andy Meek

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Anna Mullins likes promoting Memphis – so much so that she keeps finding new ways to make a living doing it.

“It has me continuing along the same thought process of looking at Memphis through this positive lens and trying to ... find positive trends.”

–Anna Mullins
New Memphis Institute

Earlier this year, for example, she helped lead the launch of High Ground News, a new digital magazine in the city focused on telling local stories that don’t fit neatly onto the assembly line of traditional news outlets.

And in recent days, she also joined the New Memphis Institute as its director of marketing and communications.

She’ll continue to serve as managing editor of High Ground News while at the New Memphis Institute – wearing two professional hats, as it were, which she sees as actually similar to each other.

That tie that binds them both is the way she regards Memphis through a certain lens – one that’s relentlessly upbeat – and how she wants to convince other people to do the same.

About her new job at the New Memphis Institute, it will involve leading its communications strategy and broadening the awareness of its programs and mission, Mullins said that dovetails easily with what she’s doing now at High Ground News.

“It has me continuing along the same thought process of looking at Memphis through this positive lens and trying to filter information and find positive trends and highlights,” said Mullins, who comes to the New Memphis Institute from the Cotton Museum, where she served as executive director.

She had originally been focused on that job in tandem with her work at the news publication.

“High Ground is all about what’s next for Memphis,” she said. “That’s kind of our tagline we created when we launched the publication, and with the New Memphis Institute, that same idea is right there in the name.”

Mullins brings to New Memphis skills that include experience in media and publishing as well as nonprofit administration. After graduating from the University of Memphis, she worked for a time as editorial director of niche publications for E.W. Scripps, where she edited and helped launch several titles.

As far as the specifics of what she’ll be doing at the New Memphis Institute, her job will entail managing the organization’s community presence and helping in its overall branding.

“We rebranded in 2012, changing the look, the name and the logo,” she said. “So creating a cohesive community-wide understanding of what we do and what our vision is, is important. We’ve also expanded our programs and the mission of what we hope to achieve through our work.”

New Memphis has continued adding to its ranks after redefining its mission as part of the rebranding and launching a handful of new programs. One of the group’s newest programs is Embark, an initiative focused on cultivating a talent base of “high-performing 20-somethings” in the city – and keeping them here.

Embark includes six bimonthly sessions, and its goal is to help young professionals develop by learning skills like negotiating conflict and building professional relationships.

Other examples of New Memphis Institute programming include the organization’s Summer Experience, which introduces young people to the city in a variety of ways and brings them into contact with prominent civic and corporate leaders.

Mullins, meanwhile, said her hiring by the organization shows it’s growing and thriving and “has a lot on its plate” at the moment as it pushes these initiatives and others to come.

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