Hi, My Name is Nina Dowell
I am City Leadership’s special projects coordinator. The special in my title means I get the privilege of working in many pockets of City Leadership’s brand. My work often circles around catalyzing our relationships with for-profit companies for the benefit of our non-profit partners. When we find mutually beneficial ways to bring these two communities together we can make amazing things happen.
Memphis’ small business community is incredible! They have a passion for their craft and an urge to invest in their community. I am the daughter of a small business owner, so I definitely have a soft spot for them. Watching my father hustle here every day is part of the reason I choose to start my professional life in Memphis.
Memphis is my hometown and as a teenager, I completely took it for granted. I happily moved to Arkansas to start my undergrad degree with zero plans to move back. By the time graduation day came, I decided to start my own business. I’d grown up watching my father start and grow a business here, so it Memphis started to tug at me. I decided to spend one last summer here and that summer quickly turned into 4 years. It was absolutely one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I became a full time freelance graphic designer and was surprised at how well working for myself went. However, I got restless working as a team of one and decided to switch things up. I worked for a boutique in town and dipped my toes into Marketing and Social Media Management. That set me up for a wonderful marketing position at a software development company based in Denver CO. I worked remotely from Memphis for a year and flew to Denver whenever necessary. It was fun and exciting, but eventually, I needed to commit 100% to one city or the other. By that time Memphis’, hooks had sunken in deep and I wholeheartedly chose 901 (;).
I wasted so much time holding on to all of the worst stereotypes about the city. I stayed because one by one all of those notions were proven wrong. It’s a strange thing to fall back in love with your hometown. Memphis stands solidly in its identity but is ever changing. I get to swim in the nostalgia of my childhood while exploring every new and exciting development. I’m so grateful that I get to use everything I’ve learned over the years to work towards growth in our city while keeping our identity at heart.
One of my most exciting projects running is a campaign called We Love Teachers. Keeping excellent teachers in Memphis is an uphill battle. One of the best ways we can do that is through encouraging community support. CL is asking the small business and corporate community to show their support for teachers by offering a year-round exclusive discount for educators with a valid ID. Whether their shopping, banking or out for dinner we want teachers to feel like heroes.
If you know of a business that is already offering a discount to educators please shoot me an email We want to celebrate them. If you are a business owner who is interested in offering a discount and joining the We Love Teachers campaign please shoot me an email.