Rhodes and New Memphis Institute Help Keep Young Professionals in the City

three students looking out at the city on a balcony on the top of a building
Megha Fernandes (right) with Rhodes students Weston Breay and Bekah Barr on the rooftop of the Peabody Hotel looking out at Downtown Memphis

Memphis has a rich history and vibrant culture. The chance for opportunity is endless, and young Memphians should invest in the city, according to the New Memphis Institute, a non-profit located downtown and dedicated to recruiting and retaining young talent in Memphis.

The organization began under a different name in 1980 as the Memphis Job Conference in order to help build the local economy and the next generation of leaders. Today, New Memphis has a series of initiatives and programs to welcome and engage new and local young professionals.

Frankie Dakin ’14 and Megha Fernandes ’16 are both members of the New Memphis team and are working hard to promote the city Rhodes calls home.

Dakin, a native of Millington, TN, became the city’s youngest alderman at 20 years old. At Rhodes, he decided to major in political economy because it was applicable to what he was doing in his position. Upon graduation, he knew he wanted to stay in Memphis. “I chose Rhodes because I wanted to be here. It’s an amazing time to be in the city and the Greater Memphis region as well. Millington is so tied to Memphis, and so I knew I wanted to live here.”

After graduation, Dakin became welcome coordinator at New Memphis, and currently, he helps new educators get involved in the city right after graduation through the program First Friend, a mentorship and networking program. Dakin also is involved in Summer Experience, which is a program for interns to socialize and gain access to city leaders all while seeing what the city has to offer.

“New Memphis can help connect Rhodes students to influencers in the city, and so when you’re looking for jobs or internships, you would already hold those connections,” says Dakin. “I work really closely with Rhodes’ Career Services, and most people in that office have gone through some of our programs at New Memphis. We really have a great relationship there.”

Megha Fernandes ’16 is currently working at New Memphis as the public engagement intern writing for its blog and sharing stories about the strides the city makes to improve the quality of life for Memphians. She also believes that New Memphis can benefit Rhodes students in helping them engage in the city.

“New Memphis wants people who will stay and make a change in Memphis, and I think that really embodies what a Rhodes student is.”

Fernandes plans to pursue a career in political public relations and recently had the opportunity to write about the mayoral election and millennial voting trends. Fernandes says, “Working for New Memphis has shown me that there is so much I can still do in Memphis.”

If you are interested in learning more about the New Memphis Institute and its programs, visit http://www.newmemphis.org

By Lizzie Choy ’17