The name cityCURRENT is new but the people behind the name are exactly the same. They are a small group of individuals whose desire to give back is so deeply ingrained it has taken root and infiltrated almost every aspect of the Memphis community. Public and private sectors ranging from educational causes to corporate luncheons have benefited from the team that is at the core of what was formerly the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club.
What is perhaps most interesting, and surprising, to me is that what you see in the public eye is exactly what you experience in the privacy of the cityCURRENT offices. Unlike in The Wizard of Oz when the curtain concealing the Wizard is pulled back and what we see is vastly different from what we believe to have been true, Jeremy Park, Allison Carson and Andrew Bartolotta- to me- are exactly as we would believe them to be.
Jeremy’s accessibility makes it fairly easy to forget that he is in fact president of cityCURRENT, Vice President of Communications for the largest privately-held insurance agency in the Mid-South, member of the Forbes Communications Council (yes, THAT Forbes), author of two books- and I’m sure a third one in the works- TV and radio show host and a mentor to many. Many, many, many. I have often walked into the office and, taking for granted that very few company vice presidents have open-door policies, sought his input on a storyline or guidance on an impending career move. Even on those days when he can give me just a few minutes of his time, it is a few minutes more than most executives in his position would offer- of that I’m sure. His résumé is big; his heart is bigger.
When a person’s reputation precedes them you know that a memorable impact is going to result from your relationship with them. I knew of Andrew Bartolotta long before I knew him. He’s a Millennial tech whiz and I’m a Gen Xer who gets frustrated with Twitter. But once I shove my (healthy)envy aside, I can only appreciate the unmatched energy Andrew infuses into the space surrounding him. He is generous: the person who will stop what he is doing, deadlines dangerously approaching, and answer your call for help (my need for tech help never ceases.) He is selfless: the guy whose mother is undergoing major surgery on a Tuesday but is at work on a Monday until whenever o’clock doing what needs to be done so that those who were promised something will see that promise fulfilled.
A river’s current is influenced by its gravity, the force “by which all things with energy are brought toward one another.” Also, “gravity has an infinite range.”
At cityCURRENT, Allison Carson is the gravity.
You don’t always see her or see what she’s doing but without her projects, and subsequently lives, would not flourish as they do. I often walk away from our conversations astonished by her capacity to give without asking anything in return. She finds joy in being the unseen glue beneath the seams, the unseen anchor beneath the water. She is not defined by whether others celebrate her contributions; she is defined by the manifestation of her purpose through those contributions. It is an interesting thing to watch someone who is content in their position without being complacent about their path. It is interesting, it is refreshing and it is inspiring. Allison inspires me far more than she realizes.
I have two Cairn Terriers at home, the same breed of dog as Toto in the aforementioned The Wizard of Oz. I have never taken my dogs to the office and there is certainly no giant curtain separating the cityCURRENT team from the rest of the world. But, hypothetically, if I did take my dogs in and there was an existent curtain that they pulled back, the Wizard granting wishes definitely wouldn’t be a middle-aged humbug. It would be a team of compassionate, unselfish people seeking to change our city one ripple at a time.