VOL. 131 | NO. 201 | Friday, October 7, 2016
New Memphis Promotes 2 to Leadership Team
By Andy Meek
The New Memphis Institute has promoted two young professionals to leadership roles on its team, each of whom is focused on a facet of its work that engages millennials in Memphis.
That’s a key focal point for the civic group that aims to attract, develop and retain talent in the city, since 75 percent of the New Memphis Institute’s staff is comprised of millennials.
The two professionals are Karen Ware, director of Embark and education initiatives at New Memphis, and Frankie Dakin, a manager of strategic partnerships for the organization.
Ware, said New Memphis CEO Nancy Coffee, has been indispensable to the organization as it’s turned its focus to engaging millennials. Ware joined the organization in early 2015 to lead Embark, a program intended to develop, cultivate and ultimately keep talented 20-somethings in Memphis.
She led Embark through a successful launch year and has helped graduate more than 600 young professionals from the program, including several local educators. Speaking of education, Ware also has worked for Teach for America Memphis as director of teacher leadership development.
Dakin, meanwhile, joined New Memphis last April as part of a team focused on welcoming newcomers to the city.
He’s led newcomer programs and events such as New Memphis’ Summer Experience program, which introduces summer interns to different aspects of the city. And in his new role with the organization, Coffee says, Dakin will continue to be focused on newcomers and helping them build attachments to the city, in addition to building up relationships with groups and companies working to bring new talent to Memphis and keep it here.
“We’re committed as ever to engaging millennials in Memphis, and both Karen and Frankie sort of exemplify the power we believe millennial leadership brings to our community,” Coffee said. “I think what’s a keystone of millennial leadership is an ability to both challenge and inspire at the same time. They both are so absolutely committed to our city’s progress, and that sort of passion means they’re super-effective and super-collaborative. And these are people who bring out the best in others.”
New Memphis also works with professionals at other stages of their careers, like mid-career professionals through its Fellows program. The organization engages millennials via a number of channels that include programs like Embark and the Summer Experience.
The latter includes a series of free events for local and visiting college students, graduate students and recent graduates. Participants get to meet and network with peers, city leaders and other Memphians.
In addition to his work with New Memphis, Dakin is an elected alderman in Millington, where he grew up. While also previously serving as an intern coordinator for BRIDGES, Dakin helped develop the curriculum for a youth-led, civic internship program called Bridge Builders Change. He’s also worked as a field organizer for The Can Kicks Back, a Washington-based, millennial-led advocacy organization.
“Having his bright, young mind at the table as we continue growing New Memphis programs has been instrumental,” said New Memphis vice president Jill Turner. “He brings a unique level of experience and deep enthusiasm for our work and our city to everything he does.”