From The Editor

MBQ's Editor Greg Akers takes on some new challenges.

© Warrengoldswain |

Since we’ve last conversed, there's been a change to my job title. In late September, I was named Film and TV Editor of the Memphis Flyer, the sister publication to MBQ: Inside Memphis Business. I have written about film and other pursuits of entertainment for the Flyer for seven years now, and much longer than that for other outlets. That opportunity came open for me because my friend, colleague, and mentor, Chris Herrington, the Flyer’s long-time Music and Film Editor, took a job as Entertainment Editor at The Commercial Appeal. It was a great move for him, and it’s a great opportunity for me. Thankfully, the shoes I have to fill aren’t very big. Oh, wait, that’s right, Herrington is the best pop-culture writer in Memphis in addition to being the best Grizzlies writer around. Gulp.

The main question I’ve gotten when the announcement was made had to do with my status with MBQ. Well, I can assure you, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll continue as Editor of MBQ, and happily so. I enjoy writing about the Memphis business community as much as anything I do. This position has brought me into contact with more wonderful, intelligent, charming, and thoughtful people than I can count. I appreciate the common call that we need to attract more talent to our city, but I do think it’s good to look around every once in a while and acknowledge the “creative class” that already calls the Mid-South home. We over-emphasize what we don’t have at the peril of under-appreciating what we do.

Rarely have I felt that as strongly as at the Innovation Awards ceremony, held on October 3rd at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn. The awards (announced in our October/November 2013 issue) were co-presented by MBQ: Inside Memphis Business and the Fogelman College of Business & Economics, The University of Memphis.

For the first time at an MBQ event, I was able to sit back and relax and take in the show rather than participate or even, gulp, emcee it. We recruited former TV newsman Daniel Hight, who now serves as Executive Director of Forever Young Senior Veteran Wish, to host the show. He did a great job and was engaging and funny.

During the ceremony, I basked in the light emanating from our awards winners and speakers. Dr. Rajiv Grover, Dean of the Fogelman College, gave a talk about what innovation is and what guided our search to honor our city’s great innovators. Then, each winner, as they came up to accept their awards, gave a few remarks about their product or company or mission or all of the above.

Each speech was exceptional, even moving. Perhaps the high point was when Charles McVean of Peer Power honored his mentor, former Memphis City Schools teacher and principal Margaret Taylor, who was on hand to receive a standing ovation.

McVean and the other winners talked about the team efforts that have gone into their achievements. What they didn’t say, because they’re too humble, is that they’re each phenomenal leaders. Each of them has forged a fresh path where others haven’t before tread. They could have waited for outside help to come along, or conditions on the ground to improve, or others to beta test.

As each of our Innovators proves: There’s no reason to wait to reshape our world. We got your back. 

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