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2015 Young Memphis: Anna Cardona, ETFC Architects

The following is a feature from the previous issue of Memphis Crossroads Magazine. Click here to view the full issue.

Young professionals see a future in Memphis – their future. They believe in what Memphis is and what it is becoming. They want to be a part of what others are doing and to offer their talents, energies and dreams to make the city an even better place to live. They talk of loving Memphis, and the ways this city draws them are as diverse as Memphis’ population. Perhaps, in a word, they picked Memphis because of opportunity. Career opportunities. Opportunities to play and relax. Opportunities to connect with family and peers. Opportunities to make a difference.

And making a difference is key, as this generation prioritizes following their passions and leaving the world a better place. Memphis offers plenty of ways to connect with their peers and create transformational change in their community. There’s SoundCheck, the Young Professionals Council of the Greater Memphis Chamber, which connects these YPs with experienced business leaders and involves them in critical issues facing Memphis. There’s also leadership programs like Embark by New Memphis Institute and the FastTrack Program by Leadership Memphis. And that’s only the beginning.

The 10 featured work as entrepreneurs, professionals, nonprofit employees and creative types. But their jobs aren’t the only way they put their mark on the city. They put energy into causes like homelessness, education and civil rights. While sometimes their jobs and what’s dear to their hearts overlap, volunteerism is strong among these young professionals. They look outside of themselves and reach out to help others. While they are making lives for themselves, they are making life better for others. Memphis is in good hands with these young leaders on deck.

Anna Cardona likes to keep her finger on the pulse of her city, but there was a time when she thought about leaving home. The Bluff City native who holds an interior architecture degree from the University of Memphis has been a designer and marketing director at Evans Taylor Foster Childress Architects (ETFC) since March 2014, but before landing the job she juggled her options as she weathered the recession. “I’ve been offered positions in Dallas and Beijing. I thought about it,” the 32-year-old said. “It made my heart sad.”

And so Cardona stayed and remained connected to causes that touch her fellow Memphians. She is co-creator of a literary and arts collaboration, Words Matter. She keeps abreast of homelessness issues and the tiny house movement. And she is an ordained deacon. She also is one of the city’s young professional voices as a leader of SoundCheck, an endeavor of the Greater Memphis Chamber, and Mayor Mark Luttrell’s Young Professional Council. Young professionals see the uptick in Memphis, she said, and feel they have a role. “It’s a renaissance,” she said. “Everybody can see and feel the mounting excitement and potential.”

Story by: Toni Lepeska
Photo by: Troy Glasgow
Posted: 9/15/2015 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: 2015, Anna, Architects, Cardona, Designer, ETFC, Memphians, Memphis, Professionals, SoundCheck, 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 (