“I Choose Memphis” spotlights Memphians who are passionate about calling this community home. New Memphis Institute provides the profiles.
Name: Ragan Washburn
Job Title and Company: Manager of Community Engagement and Events at Duncan-Williams Inc.
Length of time living in Memphis: 27 years (minus 4 years of college at Ole Miss)
Life history: Growing up, my parents would use any break from school as an opportunity to take my sister and me on the most amazing trips. Some of my fondest memories are from those family vacations, but every time we returned home my mom would always say, “East, west, home’s best.”
I was born and raised in Memphis. After graduating from Hutchison in 2005, I left Memphis, traveled 75 miles down I-55 to Oxford, Miss., to study marketing communications at Ole Miss. Summers in college were spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy, and interning in New York City, but I always knew that I would come back to Memphis. It was home. My husband, David, and I still enjoy any opportunity for travel, but as soon as we enter those Memphis city limits, we agree "east, west, home's the best.”
What would be your ideal Saturday in Memphis? My ideal Saturday would start off by actually getting to sleep in, the kind of sleeping in where you don’t set an alarm. After waking up and eating breakfast, I would head over a few blocks from my house to the Greenline and meet my best friend to go for a run; though, our runs usually seem to involve more walking and talking than actual running. That afternoon, David and I would grab a late lunch at the Trolley Stop Market and meet up with our friends to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out Downtown. As usual, we would spend way too long trying to decide which of the countless Downtown restaurants we would go to for dinner before heading to FedExForum to witness another Grizzlies victory. After the game, we would celebrate on Beale Street.
What do you like most about your job? I am so fortunate to work for a company and a CEO that genuinely care about the future of Memphis. Duncan Williams and Duncan-Williams Inc. strive to do everything in its power to help our community grow and improve by supporting the many great events and causes that Memphis has to offer, and I have the responsibility of managing all of the sponsorships we partner with.
Through my position, I am given the opportunity to be involved in the community on a daily basis. I get to meet different people all over Memphis and take part in some amazing things going on in our city. I love that I get the opportunity to attend events I probably would not have on my own, such as the Indie Memphis Film Festival and the Dragon Boat Races on Mud Island, and they have now become some of my favorite things to do in Memphis.
The most rewarding aspect of being involved with the sponsorships and community engagement is seeing firsthand the direct impact that we are making on the Memphis community and its future. As a result of my job, I have had the chance to get involved as a mentor through the Grizzlies Team UP program, which has been one of the most gratifying ways in which my job has allowed me to give back to the community.
What is your favorite local restaurant? Felicia Suzanne’s, hands down! Everything she cooks is amazing. She can do no wrong.
What is your favorite Memphis innovation? The BBQ nacho. … If you find a city that does them better, nachos are on me.
First memory of Memphis? When I was 6 years old my friend, Nancy Edwards, and I had two favorite things … “Full House” and The Beach Boys. We would basically fill the days between new “Full House” episodes by singing “Surfin’ USA” and “California Girls.” One brutally hot day in June, our parents took us to Mud Island for our first concert, The Beach Boys. To make what you can imagine is a magical day for two 6-year-olds even better, The Beach Boys had a special guest playing drums with them. It was none other than Uncle Jesse (John Stamos for those that aren’t “Full House” aficionados). To this day, that is still one of my favorite concerts I’ve ever been to.
What is your favorite local festival? Do the NBA playoffs count as a festival? They should if they don’t.