Level up: Inaugural leadership conference aims to motivate and inspire Memphis

In their mission to develop, activate, and retain professional and leadership talent throughout Memphis, the New Memphis organization does a lot of brainstorming. For every success comes a question: What next?

Kaylon Bradford, Director of Leadership Programs for New Memphis.“We are always thinking about opportunities and ways that we can continue to develop our city’s professional talent. And so as we sat down and thought about what we needed to do to really move the needle,” says Kaylon Bradford, Director of Leadership Programs for the organization.

The answer? The inaugural Level Up: The MidSouth Leadership Summit, an all-day affair scheduled for Friday, Aug. 26, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Memphis. It’s the first of what Bradford hopes will become an annual tradition.

“The Level Up leadership conference is really an opportunity for us to focus on the development of professional talent within our city. We know that with the isolation brought on by the pandemic, there's an appetite for us to get together to foster and strengthen relationships within the community, but also think about what we can do to make our city better,” Bradford says.

“We designed this leadership conference with the intent of making sure that folks have the resources and the skills to be successful and effective within their circles of influence. And so we've designed an event that really meets the needs of professionals and those who really want to make a difference within the city.”

The Level Up conference has been designed to appeal to a wide range of professionals, with three distinct tracts available to their guests. There’s a young professional tract, a mid-career professional tract, and a C-suite tract, each organized to help participants “level up,” both in their own careers but also to help the city as a whole, too. The tracts are tailored with workshops and speakers specific to each.

Bradford notes, however, that the leadership skills passed along at the conference can be useful for a wide swath of Memphians, no matter their background, vocation, or goals.

“We want people to walk away from this conference figuring out how they can engage and activate the community. We've got a few organizations that are gonna be with us, highlighting the ways that we can really make this better. We want to serve as the connectors and really foster some of those opportunities to go out and engage and be involved and be an active citizen and community leader,” Bradford says.

“We want people to leave motivated and inspired to be better leaders within their circle of influence. And so maybe that's at work, maybe that's you leading in a civic organization, or even you being within the nucleus of your family. We hope that there are some skills and things that you take away, that you can go and apply to your life to make you a better person.”

There are two levels of registration for the leadership summit. A $130 general admission ticket grants guests access to the full day of conference events, including a keynote address, breakout sessions, lunch, and a happy hour. A $165 premium ticket grants all that plus conference swag and additional happy hour tickets. Registration will remain open through Wednesday, Aug. 25.

“This is really going to be a great opportunity for us to engage in some meaningful conversation and dialogue,” says Bradford. “We really sat down and thought about where people are and what they needed to be successful and effective and we really believe that this curriculum that we've developed is really going to meet the needs of professionals, no matter where you are in your walk of life, and we are so excited about the small things that are really going to empower and motivate people through this all.”

Visit New Memphis online for a complete breakdown of the day’s events, background on the speakers, registration info, and more.
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