Memphis in May International Festival Announces 2018 Directors and Officers

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Memphis in May International Festival announces AutoZone executive Kristen Wright will serve as the Board Chair for the 2018 festival.  The 2017 Board Chair, Bobbi Gillis, will officially pass the gavel on August 10, 2017 at the organization’s Annual Meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Memphis Botanic Gardens.  

As AutoZone’s first female Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, Wright was selected as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women earlier this year and serves on AutoZone’s Executive Committee.  Ms. Wright is the founder of the AutoZone Women’s Initiative (AZ WIN) and executive sponsor of the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.  Additionally, she co-founded a Legal Aid Clinic at Orange Mound Senior Center, now in its ninth year. 

“Kristen has been an active member of the Memphis in May board for several years, and brings a depth of knowledge and experience to the position,” states James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival. “We are excited to have a leading senior executive of AutoZone, one of our top and most long-term corporate supporters, provide leadership for the organization in 2018.”

The mother of middle school-age twins, Wright serves on the Board of Directors of KIPP Delta Public Schools and believes strongly in the mission of Memphis in May to enhance international awareness through education.  She frequently participates in local races such as the Memphis in May Great American River Run, and charitable runs including the St. Jude Half Marathon, raising funds for local nonprofit organizations.  Having studied abroad in both Japan and London while an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas, Ms. Wright is passionate about the opportunities Memphis in May provides local students through its International Exchange Program. 

“Many of Memphis in May’s programs outside of the wonderful Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest resonate with me and things I’m passionate about,” Wright said. “From education, to active lifestyle, to international opportunities, I hope to see our community more engaged with all the Memphis in May International Festival offers.”

Other Board Officers for 2018 include Chair-Elect Barry Yoakum, Principal at Archimania; Vice Chair Charles Ewing, President and CEO of Ewing Moving and Storage; Treasurer Kim Denbow, Deputy Chief of the Shelby County Mayor’s Office; and Secretary is Stacy McCall, CEO and President of ServiceMaster by Stratos.

Joining the board this year are Bathsheba Sams, VP of HR Operations at International Paper, Austin Baker, President of HRO Partners, and Jinliang Cai, VP of International Business Development at the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Additional board members are Susan Arney, Shannon Brown, Doug Browne, John Carroll, Wei Chen, Ronald Coleman, Bobbi Gillis, Kevin Kane, Ken Moody, Lenoir Owens, Jose Rodriguez, and Leigh Shockey, with Ex-officio members Prince Chambliss, John Farris, Beth Flanagan, Al Lyons, and Philip Spinosa, Jr.

2018 Memphis in May International Festival Dates
Beale Street Music Festival: May 4-6, 2018
International Week: May 7–13, 2018
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 16-19, 2018
901Fest: May 26, 2018
Great American River Run: May 26, 2018

About Memphis in May 
Memphis in May International Festival is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs contribute more than $88 million annually in economic impact to the community, foster civic pride, promote awareness of Memphis heritage, and build international relationships and understanding through education. 
Memphis in May International Festival is the official festival of the City of Memphis, the recipient of nearly 200 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association, and has been named to Travel+Leisure’s international list of Festivals Worth Traveling For, with the Beale Street Music Festival included as one of the World’s Top Festivals by Fest300, and listed by Forbes as one of “5 Underrated Music Festivals You Should Attend.”

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