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VOL. 132 | NO. 53 | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Israel to Lead Greenline Group As Organization’s Focus Shifts

By Kate Simone

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Andrew Israel recently was named executive director of the Greater Memphis Greenline as the organization shifts its focus to promoting healthy lifestyles and increasing the use of trails, parks and green spaces.
As executive director, Israel is the strategic leader and the chief relationship officer for GMG. Along with creating programs and opportunities to enhance and expand the use of green spaces, GMG works at the grassroots level with neighborhood organizations and individuals to help promote their activities and expand the resources that are available. 

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Experience: I hold a B.A. in history and geography and certification in public relations. During the last 16 years, I have held a variety of leadership positions with several local nonprofits, including the Memphis Public Library and the Memphis Shelby County Humane Society.
I have been involved in all aspects of nonprofit organizational development with a special focus on strategic planning, program development and fundraising.

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I had the ability to receive instant responses to emails and phone messages. Today’s nonprofits operate in an environment that requires collaborating with a variety of public and private stakeholders. Waiting is something that I have never be good at and I’ve always sought out strategies and relationships where I could expedite things I need to succeed.

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? I have always looked up to my father as the standard I wish I could achieve. He possesses the rare ability to always maintain an even keel, and deal with every situation with humor and grace. This year he will retire from his second full-time career position (university professor, refugee court judge) at 80 years old. He always makes it look easy and I greatly admire him and hope to one day achieve his level of success.

Along with your appointment, the Greater Memphis Greenline announced it is shifting its organizational focus. Tell us a little bit about the change and the reasons behind it. Since our founding in 2004, the GMG has been directly involved with two game-changing infrastructure projects: the Shelby Farms Greenline and Big River Crossing. These projects have significantly changed our city and will continue to for years to come. But projects of this scope take a long time, involve many public and private organizations, and cost a lot of money. While we are still very involved with the Chelsea Avenue Greenline project, (Chelsea Avenue to Second Street), we wanted to also begin to address the issue of accessibility to safe and resourced green spaces at the neighborhood level.

What programs/projects might we see in the future from GMG? This fall, we will launch several new neighborhood-based programs, including Senior Cycles, a pilot program that will place adult trikes at the seniors programs at the Bickford Community Center to promote healthy lifestyles for all ages. We are also launching GreenFit, a child- and youth-fitness program to be hosted at local parks, and we will expand our Bike Safety for Kids program by offering a how-to guide through our website.
Additionally, we will be launching a citywide initiative that focuses on improving navigation among the various trails, parks and bike lanes and growing our work with grassroots groups that seek to improve the quality and access to parks and trails for all neighborhoods across Memphis.

What are your goals for the organization? My goal is for the organization to be known for more than just the Shelby Farms Greenline as we work to ensure that all members of our community have access to safe, well-maintained and resourced green spaces.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Surviving life with two teenage daughters!

What do you most enjoy about your work? I enjoy working with people and organizations that want to make a difference in our community. Nonprofit work is not often glamorous, but the ability to do things that truly impact lives has a payoff that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (M. Gandhi)

Diversified Trust has promoted four individuals in its Memphis office. Brad Crawford, who was promoted to principal, is chief operating officer for the Memphis office and a member of the company’s Wealth Strategies Team. Carolyn Hicks, promoted to vice president, serves on the Business Management team and coordinates the company’s human resources activities. Megan Mayhew, promoted to vice president, focuses on client account administration. And Hadley Miller, who was promoted to senior vice president, provides client support to individuals, families and institutions as part of the firm’s Relationship Management team. 


Nail Task has been appointed general manager of Big Cypress Lodge, the hotel inside Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. With more than 15 years in hotel management, Task joins Big Cypress Lodge from Titanic Deluxe Hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, where he served as assistant general manager.  

Nikeisha Royston has joined Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region as community manager. Royston most recently served as parent organizer for Stand for Children. At PPGMR, she’ll work with staff members to implement a strategic field plan and will recruit, train and mobilize volunteers to carry out its grassroots organizing plan. 

Ed Horrell has been selected to join the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only group of business coaches sponsored and promoted by the Forbes magazine family. Horrell is founder of the Memphis-based nonprofit The Kindness Revolution as well as a professional speaker, customer service advocate and the author of three books.

Cristie Upshaw Travis, CEO of the Memphis Business Group on Health, has been named chair of the board of trustees at Southern College of Optometry. The board also has added two new members: Dr. Stuart J. Thomas, a 1984 SCO graduate and owner of Thomas Eye Center in Athens, Georgia; and Dr. David Cockrell, a 1981 SCO graduate and co-owner of Cockrell Eyecare Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

PROPERTY SALES 105 193 8,028
MORTGAGES 120 239 9,024
BUILDING PERMITS 192 445 17,512
BANKRUPTCIES 27 69 5,228