I Am New Memphis: Anna Mullins

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Full Name: Anna Lauren Mullins

Describe your philosophy in six words: Make sure you are having fun

Where are you from? I grew up in Kansas City, KS, but have called Memphis home since age 15. So I think I can rightfully claim the Memphian title.

How did you get to Memphis? My father is an entomologist (the study of bugs, not word origins) and he moved the family to Memphis for his work in agriculture. I felt obliged to come along.

What’s your job title? Vice President of Communications and Strategic Initiatives

OK, but what do you actually do? I work with our communications and marketing team to develop and implement a plan that advances New Memphis’ brand identity and broadens awareness of our programs and priorities. I also help guide strategy as we establish priorities for emerging programs and new, mission-aligned projects.

Tell us a bit about yourself! Things I love include puzzles, pets, good story telling, sunshine, French cheese, and California wine. I spend most of my “free” time with my family and friends enjoying one or more of those things together. I really like the mental activity of work, but I am highly skilled in the art of relaxation.

Who is/was your celebrity crush? At age 10 I developed a love for Jeff Goldblum as the crushable and quirky “chaotician” in Jurassic Park. Nothing has changed.

Are you a “hat person?” I always think I am, but then I put on a hat and have to face reality.

What song have you completely memorized? The soundtrack to all Disney movies produced through the mid-90s. And R Kelly’s Ignition Remix.

Whom or what are you grateful for? I have a lot of gratitude, but for the purposes of this questionnaire I will isolate my appreciation of Henry, my boyfriend, who is incredibly kind, curious, funny, and patient.

What was the last item you cooked and ate? It is officially summer, so I have once again become obsessed with grilling. You give me a food, and I’ll find a way to grill it. (Last meal was grilled romaine salad and salmon.)

If you weren’t working your current job, what would you do? At some point during grad school I thought seriously about tossing aside my liberal arts degrees to pursue science and become a vet.

If you could only eat one kind of food (e.g. Mexican, Thai) for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why? I now eat Japanese food like every other night, so it’s just a matter of time before I am “only” eating sushi. It’s been said more than once that I’ll probably die of mercury poisoning. I’m fine with that.

What is your spirit animal and why? Sting rays. Something about the way they flap calmly through the water makes me think they have inner peace totally figured out.

What do you want people to say about you after you die? I hope she enjoyed all that raw fish.

What makes you wildly happy? I am at my happiest when people are making me laugh. Goofy comedy, smart comedy, physical comedy—I’ve been known to laugh at it all. The next time you see me, tell me a joke.

What is the best way to drive you crazy? People who talk really slowly…with unnecessary pauses…drive me nuts.

Are you like your parents? I hope I am like my parents. If nothing else, we share a dedication to family, an appreciation for bad action movies, and a fiercely competitive approach to simple games like Rummikub.

What have you learned since joining New Memphis? Being a part of the New Memphis team has taught me so much, but particularly the value of individual leadership in the pursuit of a big-picture goal. Creating opportunity, shifting the narrative of a city, addressing community need – these things can’t be done by a single person. But we work to invest in each person who is trying to make a difference, and it’s exciting to see how that bolsters the collective effort.

How can Memphis become a thought leader and a market leader in the 21st century? I think if we continue to embrace emerging leaders who value inclusivity and innovation, that’s a good start. The most important things, in my singular opinion, are a dedication to solving problems together and celebrating success together. That’s what I love about New Memphis’ work – we invite everyone to dream big for the future of their city and then help people build the skills and connections needed to get the hard, day-to-day work done.