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VOL. 133 | NO. 142 | Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kennedy Takes Helm As TFTA Board President

By Michael Waddell

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Germantown Performing Arts Center director of development Parke B. Kennedy has been named board president for Tennesseans for the Arts. In her new role, Kennedy hopes to further efforts to actively support local arts organizations and the work of the Tennessee Arts Commission by working with legislators to maintain funding for the arts in Tennessee, supporting and promoting the work of the Arts Caucus in the General Assembly, and organizing and producing advocacy events.  


This year will be an especially important one for TFTA due to the number of new state legislators who will be taking office in November. 

Hometown?: Kennedy was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but her family moved to Brazil when she was 4. She remained there until graduating from high school.

Experience: She attended Tufts University to study economics and international relations and then went to Boston University to earn her master’s degree in international relations and communications. Early in her career, she worked at The Southern Center for International Studies in Atlanta, researching international political and economic issues and writing briefings. She came to GPAC after spending several years in development at ArtsMemphis.  

What led you to a career in the arts? I’ve always loved the arts – especially dance and theater! I was very fortunate growing up to be exposed to visual art, music and dance at every turn, with a very strong cross-cultural dimension. I experienced the power of learning about other people, their history and perspectives, from their art. Later, I watched my own children thrive as the arts providing an outlet for self-expression and creativity, while at the same time instilling a great deal of self-confidence and discipline. I believe in the power of the arts. 

Can you comment on the importance of access to the arts for the local community? Everyone – no matter what age, color, sexuality, income, education, disability or culture – benefits from exposure to the arts. Making every effort to provide access to the arts, particularly for those who are traditionally underserved, is very important. The arts have been proven to have such a strong influence, informing, enriching, inspiring and transforming lives. GPAC looks forward to being able to provide even more opportunities for the community to experience the arts with the completion of our planned outdoor performance space, The Grove. 

What are your goals in your new position as president of the TFTA? My goals are to help TFTA grow as an organization, both in terms of membership and in terms of its organizational structure. It is a challenge to run a statewide nonprofit with statewide board members and consistently have a measurable impact. Our primary focus this year will be on Nashville and the newly elected officials. 

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Don’t be afraid to fail. We learn through our mistakes. Challenge yourselves to be bold and fearless.

Tanja L. Thompson, an attorney in Littler’s Memphis office, has been elected as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers’ class of 2018. Thompson dedicates her practice to representing companies in traditional labor law. The annual installation of fellows is scheduled for Nov. 10 during the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section’s CLE Conference in San Francisco.

Fred Ceruti, plant manager of Kruger Products’ Memphis facility, has been presented an Executive Eagle Award from the Pulp & Paper Safety Association. The award honors a pulp and paper industry executive who has made significant contributions to safety and health programs and to accident prevention at his or her company and beyond. Ceruti’s leadership was recognized for a 37 percent improvement in Memphis’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) total incidence rate between 2014 and 2017.

Sharonda Bealer has joined HealthChoice’s care management team as a certified medical assistant. In her new role, Bealer assists HealthChoice’s members with finding the right place for care, gathering clinical information to optimize care coordination, and helping close gaps in care. Prior to joining HealthChoice, Bealer was a certified medical assistant for Comprehensive Pain Specialists.

The Peabody Memphis has made several additions and promotions to its management team. 

Aprildawn Flagg, national sales manager, is responsible for the fraternity and sorority market, small corporate groups, and the midwest and northwest region. She comes to The Peabody from Hilton Garden Inn Memphis/Wolfchase Galleria, where she served as director of sales. 

Rachel Lackey, promoted to catering and outlet sales manager, is responsible for booking, coordinating and managing group events such as receptions, parties and private dinners in the hotel’s restaurants and bars. She started her hospitality career as a guest service representative at The Peabody’s front desk and most recently served as administrative assistant in the hotel’s sales department. 

Ashley Lewin, conference services manager, is rejoining The Peabody after a few years’ hiatus for family time. Prior to originally working at The Peabody in 2012, she was a catering and convention services manager at Embassy Suites West Palm Beach and catering and convention coordinator at the Boca Raton Resort and Club – Waldorf Astoria Collection

Chelsea Mogle, catering and conference manager, handles the planning and arrangements for conferences, conventions and events at The Peabody Memphis. She previously served as sales director at ITS Fine Restaurant Group.

Katie Williams, promoted to spa manager, joined Feathers Spa at The Peabody in 2015 as lead aesthetician. Prior to joining The Peabody, she was an aesthetician at Gould’s Day Spa & Salon and a medical aesthetician at Ditto Aesthetics. 

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597