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VOL. 129 | NO. 250 | Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Pitts-Murdock Leading Library’s Teen Services

By Kate Simone

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R. Janae Pitts-Murdock has been named coordinator of teen services for the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, a role in which she’s responsible for coordinating teen programs, partnerships and special initiatives across 18 locations.


Her major focus is launching the 8,300-square-foot Teen Learning Lab in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library and leading the teen services staff and programs to transform Memphis youth from information consumers into information creators.

Hometown: Detroit

Experience: Pitts-Murdock relocated to Memphis in December 2007, having been recruited to Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church as associate pastor of transformation. Before leaving Mississippi Boulevard, Janae was promoted to lead pastor, where she managed the pastoral staff and strategic initiatives. Before arriving in Memphis, Janae was employed by the U.S. Department of Defense in logistics policy.

Family: Husband, Jeffrey Jr.; two sons, Jeffrey III, who is 3 years old, and John Patrick, who will turn 1 on Jan. 29.

Favorite quote: “Why are you trying to so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” from the movie “What a Girl Wants”

Favorite movie: Anything with explosions and fast cars.

The sports teams you root for: Any team playing against Ohio State University

What’s playing on your stereo right now? 91.1 FM

What attracted you to the Memphis Library? I am continually inspired by the mission of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center. I enjoy working for an organization committed to improving the lives of all its customers through information resources. I’m a part of a mission-centered organization that literally changes the world.

What are your goals for the new Teen Learning Lab? Our goal is to improve student success in school, life and career. Through our programs and resources, we’ll provide opportunities for teens to develop 21st-century skills – creativity, innovation, problem solving and civic engagement. Our lab will provide a safe place for teens to explore new technologies, express their creative passion and create information instead of just consuming information.


If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? If I could give one piece of advice to young people, it would be, “Only look behind you to see how far you’ve come. Only look beside you to see who’s cheering you on. Only look down to see that you’re on the right path. Always look forward to see there’s more to achieve.”

Rachel Hodges has joined the Memphis office of Cordell & Cordell, the nation’s largest domestic litigation firms focusing on representing men in family law cases, as an associate attorney. Hodges previously worked as a state attorney with the Hamilton County child support office.


Cort Winsett and Russell Hayes have joined The Pickler Law Firm’s Collierville location as associate attorneys, practicing law with an emphasis on estate planning and administration. Winsett served as a judicial clerk for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for two years, then practiced child support law for the state of Tennessee. Hayes previously practiced as a divorce attorney with the Hoffman Law and Mediation Office.

Christopher J. Tutor has joined the Memphis office of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC as an associate. Tutor counsels clients in matters relating to commercial real estate and debt financings. He received his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Rob Robertson has joined the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority as marketing and community outreach coordinator. Robertson has more than 15 years of media experience and most recently worked as a reporter at the Memphis Business Journal.

Eileen Kuo has joined Jackson Lewis PC’s Memphis office as an associate. Kuo, who came to Jackson Lewis from Lawrence & Russell PLC, has experience defending employers in all facets of workplace law and litigation.

Patrick H. Morris has joined Apperson Crump PLC as an associate attorney. Morris earned his juris doctorate from Louisiana State University.

Jason Lee, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Orion Federal Credit Union, has joined the board of directors of the RISE Foundation, a program that uses financial literacy to improve the lives of low-income Memphians.

The Tennessee School Counselor Association has awarded state Sen. Mark Norris its Legislator of the Year Award. Skip Ruzicka was named Middle School Counselor of the Year, Kim Jessee was named Elementary School Counselor of the Year, and Lauren Baker was awarded the Phoebe White Award for Counseling Advocacy.

The Emerging Leaders Institute, a program that helps develop critical leadership skills and advances a culture of excellence in government, has graduated its third class of city of Memphis employees. They include: Kimberly Hardeman, Nobuko Igarashi, Lisa Johnson, Maya Siggers, Cheryl Hearn, MeYucca Rayner, Bonnie Good, Chad Bowman, James Kirkwood, Jeffrey Farwell, Mark Winters, Donald Gibson, Mia Madison, Anthony Muhammad, Donald Pannell, Damon Northam, Harry Cash, Terrence Pryor, Harry Green and Daryl Lewis.

PROPERTY SALES 40 220 16,417
MORTGAGES 28 85 10,172
BUILDING PERMITS 161 826 39,370
BANKRUPTCIES 29 136 7,733