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Trading LA Life for Memphis Accessibility

The following is a feature from an issue of our Memphis Crossroads digital magazine. Click here to view the full magazine.

When 26-year-old Jordan Jackson left Los Angeles for Memphis about 18 months ago, she walked right into open arms. Having been raised in Wynne, Arkansas, she was aware of Memphis’ friendly reputation. But only when she arrived did Jackson discover exactly how important the welcoming spirit of the Bluff City would be to the tempo of her life.

This was a city she could call home. This was a city where she could have a voice, a role in the city’s direction.

“When you move to a new city, you need to put yourself out there,” said Jackson, account manager at Sullivan Branding, a Memphis-based advertising agency with offices downtown overlooking AutoZone Park and in Nashville. “There’s tons of things to do here. It’s such a vibrant community.”

Jackson studied advertising and public relations at the University of Arkansas and worked in her home state awhile before moving to the Brentwood community of Los Angeles, where she worked for Lunchbox, a shopper engagement agency. She served as digital marketing manager on the toys/electronics/games team. But the Mid-South beckoned. “I’m a Southern girl,” Jackson said, “and the older you get, it’s more important to be with family and friends.”

She picked Mud Island for her new home because “it feels like a great getaway … from city life. And it’s super accessible to work or downtown.”

A lover of history but firmly planted in the modern age, Jackson is drawn to places of revival in Memphis for leisure, such as Overton Square and the Cooper-Young district. She loves the live bands at Lafayette’s Music Room and the art, sounds and food of Revival at Tennessee Brewery in downtown’s South Main District. Sun Studio is a haunt, especially when she has out-of-town visitors, as is Victorian Village, grand homes of the mid-19th Century turned into museums. “There’s so many things in this city ready for people to discover,” she said.

But Memphis isn’t just a place for play. Jackson, whose career goals include “helping people in a meaningful way,” is enthused by how accessible business leaders are in Memphis. One of the doors to that access has been SoundCheck, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Young Professional Council. The 210-member group got its start almost a year ago to expose young professionals to corporate leaders and opportunities for career enhancement. 

Principal and CEO Brian Sullivan, who hired Jackson, strongly encourages his work force to be involved in the community. Knowing this, Jackson felt at liberty to join SoundCheck. Sullivan values the contribution of young adults like Jackson. He said the younger generation has “no shortage of ideas or opinions and the confidence to share them. They come from a different angle. Most of them want to be involved where they have a meaningful impact.”

Jackson didn’t break into leadership in LA. Perhaps the city was too big. But the open arms of Memphis were refreshing. She appreciates being included, and a highlight of her involvement has been listening to leaders in business like FedEx’s Richard Smith, who spoke to members of SoundCheck in April about what attracts businesses to Memphis. “Memphis really embraces growth and networking,” Jackson said. 

At her job, Jackson’s work includes brainstorming sessions for clients, particularly those in the health care, hospitality, education, finance, consumer packaging and toys industries. She is building relationships with clients. Jackson currently is working with a city task force on the Memphis Says No More campaign against domestic and sexual assault. It is a spinoff of the national campaign.

Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, said Jackson is quick, professional and sensitive to the needs of the campaign. As part of the Sullivan team, she’s helped develop potential ways to get the message of the campaign into the community, including possibly using stenciling artists on the streets around crowds. Jackson is also dedicated, demonstrated by her appearance  at the campaign’s pop-up tent at Beale Street Music Festival. “It’s the weekend and she’s there … physically shows up for the effort.”

Jackson makes the effort because Memphis is not just a place to work to her. It is home, and you care about home. “Everyone wants the city to be the best it can be,” Jackson said. 
Seeing the pride and resilience and the growth of the city is attractive to people her age, she said. “That’s going to keep the young people here excited and happy.”

Story by: Toni Lepeska
Photo by: Troy Glasgow
Posted: 8/17/2015 11:58:59 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Branding, Chamber, Council, Greater, Jackson, Jordan, Memphis, Professionals, SoundCheck, Sullivan, Young

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (