VOL. 130 | NO. 56 | Monday, March 23, 2015
I Choose Memphis: Hannah Zachary
Special to The Daily News
“I Choose Memphis” spotlights Memphians who are passionate about calling this community home. New Memphis Institute provides the profiles.
Name: Hannah Zachary
Job & company: Manager, Community Relations, AutoZone
Length of time living in Memphis: 8 months
Life history: Raised in New York City, I never shied away from exploration and shaking things up. I have lived as far South as Gulfport, Miss., as far North as Wiscasset, Maine, and as far east as Geneva, Switzerland. After graduating from Bucknell University in 2012, I joined Teach for America as a 7th and 8th grade math teacher in Palestine, Ark. While teaching, I escaped to the “Big City” on weekends, and quickly grew attached to Memphis. When the opportunity to stay in Memphis and work for AutoZone surfaced – in the exact role I had been looking for – it was no-brainer. Time to pack my things and head down to South Main!
Favorite Memphis personality? Dennis Graham. We met Downtown one night (I have a photo I cherish for proof!), exchanged numbers and made plans for lunch. I am still waiting to hear from him.
What connects you to the city? I love exploring, and when I first came to Memphis I got lost – a lot! Today, I challenge myself to take a different route, try a new exit or simply take the scenic path to get somewhere. Not only do I see a lot, but I learn a lot. I feel the pulse of the city and experience, literally and figuratively, how the streets and the neighborhoods connect.
Greatest opportunity for Memphis? I am most taken by the economic development efforts, specifically in job creation and training. Several startup companies are making a name for themselves, and we have a large number of employers placing sites and factories here in Memphis. Several programs, including the Boys and Girls Club Technical Training Center and Southwest Tennessee Community College Workforce Development program, offer extensive training and development to build a stronger regional workforce and give more Memphians opportunities for career growth and success. A stronger workforce, combined with stronger schools and a growing infrastructure, will attract new residents and employers to Memphis.
In your opinion, what can be done to move Memphis forward? We need to capture Memphians’ commitment and passion and direct it back into our community. The ideas are here, the people are here and the resources are here. We are on the brink of groundbreaking change in Memphis. I feel it and I have seen it. For this to happen though, we need to let it happen. So I encourage everyone to see it for yourself. Challenge yourself and try something new in Memphis – go to a new restaurant in Overton Square, take a ride on the Greenline, volunteer with any of the nonprofits. Experience the changing Memphis. I know you will like what you see. I sure did!
What can you find in Memphis that you can’t find anywhere else? Two degrees of separation: Within one or two phone calls, I can connect with whoever I am seeking. It’s much easier to network and connect with people here. In fact, this is how I found my roommate, a friend’s aunt’s friend’s daughter. And I was doing it all from New York. As a young professional, accessibility is invaluable. The fact that there are people willing to open their contact lists for us, to make introductions to leaders in Memphis, in business, nonprofits, government, etc., is both priceless and incredibly rare. This truly does not exist in most other cities.