VOL. 131 | NO. 170 | Thursday, August 25, 2016
Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club Rebrand Points to Growth, Busy Future
By Andy Meek
Sometimes, an organization changing its name becomes a foregone conclusion because it’s just time to change, maybe to shake things up. In the case of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, though, a rebrand became necessary simply because the old one didn’t fit anymore.
The new branding – cityCURRENT – is a reflection that the organization is busy today with a lot more than the series of combination breakfast speaker and business networking events with which it has been most closely associated. For one thing, the organization now also produces and hosts an assortment of media properties that span TV, radio, newspaper and magazine columns, and more.
The new name also points to a future that president Jeremy Park wants to encompass everything from city pride to myriad ways of making positive change, and to help others make that change.
“Over the last 11 years, where we’ve come from really paves the way for where we’re going,” Park said. “Last year, we also did 181 events, all free for the community, and have all this media focused on positivity and engagement. How do you embody all that in one word or one organization name? We outgrew the name, for sure.”
Among other pursuits on cityCURRENT’s plate, it hosts events each year that include workshops and seminars, lunch programs, receptions, a golf scramble, tennis and social mixers and more. That’s in addition to its signature breakfast series that brings prominent national guest speakers to the city.
The organization also has a philanthropic focus that’s reflected in things like hosting nonprofit volunteer days and tours, contributing financially to charities and launching civic pride campaigns like “Memphis Rocks” and a buy local campaign called “Power of the Dollar.” cityCURRENT each year hosts Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions providing shoes and socks to local kids in need and recently provided a mortgage-free home to a wounded veteran through the Military Warriors Support Foundation. It also donated hundreds of ponchos for students at Cherokee Elementary.
“When you look at where we’re headed, it’s always going to be focused on local collaboration,” Park said. “It’s always going to be focused on local philanthropy, helping local nonprofits doing as much good as we can. But the bigger piece of this is being able to share this, not just with a local audience but with a national and even international audience.”
The new name, meanwhile, was chosen to work on a few different levels. The current in the name speaks to a local focus with its river reference. It also connotes an electrical spark, a reference to the catalyzing spark that Park’s organization wants to have on spreading positive stories in the area.
“The Spark” is also the name of a TV show cityCURRENT airs on WKNO-TV to focus on those positive stories.
Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance remains the organization’s title sponsor and facilitator. Johnny Pitts, chief manager for the insurance company, describes cityCURRENT as a “philanthropic powerhouse” in Memphis that’s “redefining how corporations can be catalysts for their community.”
The organization traces its origins to what years ago was a national franchise of breakfast clubs around the country. After the local rights were purchased, Pitts got his company to put its weight behind the club’s local efforts, and Park was brought on board to direct the club’s efforts.
From there, it set out to spark what amounts to almost a movement.
“Sometimes these stories we want to share can get lost,” Park said. “We’re focused on finding them, on sharing them, on sharing and doing good.”