Welcome to The Dean’s List! The Dean’s List will profile up-and-comers in Memphis who are certain to be the next group of leaders in the nonprofit, corporate, government, and faith communities. The Dean’s List is curated by Kevin Dean, the Executive Director of Literacy Mid-South.
Elle Perry is a native Memphian and a two-time graduate of the University of Memphis who is a writer, photographer, and social media strategist for hire. She’s become known for her reach on social media and her uncanny ability to be seen at every artsy event in Memphis. (We think she has a clone!) Elle’s active participation in the Memphis charity and social scene is spurred by her love of Memphis and her commitment to social justice issues. She is a board member of Just City and a member of the Memphis Association of Black Journalists, GiVE 365, and Young Women Philanthropists.
We chose Elle because of her ongoing coverage of all things good (and bad) in Memphis, as her voice is important for both awareness and dialogue about many important community issues. Elle may be a quiet person, but she carries a lot of power that we know will only help improve Memphis for years to come!
Why do you choose Memphis over another city?
Memphis is home. It’s affordable, you can make an impact with relative ease, and I don’t have to spend an untold amount of time commuting.
Name three people in Memphis that you think have the most potential to lead this city one day.
Rachel Knox: She’s poised, savvy, and passionate about Memphis and its people
Sarah Petschonek: She’s incredibly innovative in her solutions to solving problems in Memphis which would be a great asset.
Allison Gibbs: She’s a great project manager, has tons of energy, and is dedicated to social causes.
Where is your favorite place in Memphis to unwind?
Minglewood Hall at a live show
What’s your favorite restaurant in Memphis?
Vietnam Restaurant, Blue Nile, and Maximo’s on Broad (formerly 3 Angels)
What is your favorite event in this city?
Probably a toss up between Cooper Young Festival and Overton Square Crawfish Festival. (I like to people watch and buy things.)
What’s the one part of Memphis that you couldn’t live without?
What makes Memphis different from other cities?
Memphis is very authentic. It’s not a place that you could build from a kit. The people and the history make for a unique combination. All the parts of town have incredible history and lore.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself owning a membership-model venue space. A space that would hold intimate concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings, book signings, and lectures. Events would be open to the public. In addition to the performance space there would be two to three hotel-type rooms to host visiting artists, professors, writers, or musicians who are traveling from out of town.
What’s the one misconception people have about Memphis that is simply untrue?
That there’s nothing to do. I often find myself having to choose between simultaneous events (or event hop.)
What area of town is your favorite and why?
I’m a big fan of Downtown. There’s always energy and I enjoy the big buildings and neon lights.
What can Memphians do to make a difference in our community?
Visit a part of town that you’ve only heard about. It’s probably a lot different than what’s in your head. Too often we rely on perception to inform us. The knowledge we have about a particular neighborhood comes from something someone told us or something we read or saw on tv news once rather than first-hand. Go beyond the surface level and challenge yourself to have an intimate relationship with the entire place you call home, not just your immediate surroundings.
What is one thing you’re most excited about for Memphis?
The local arts community has a great deal of positive momentum and I’m excited to see what comes of it.