I Am New Memphis: Jessica Cowan

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Full name: Jessica Cowan

Where are you from? Ingrams Mill, MS (but it’s so close to Olive Branch – and nobody knows where that’s at so I usually say OB)

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? That’s hard to say, I either wanted to do something related to technology and computers or be a detective.

How did you get to New Memphis? How long have you been on the team? New Memphis was starting a new program engaging college students more and my background is in higher education doing student development work so while the position was still open, I was both recruited and eager to apply.  I started working here in May 2017.

What’s your job title? Collegiate Engagement Specialist

Okay, but what do you actually do? I coordinate and manage all programs working with and engaging collegians. We are developing a new program called Launch: Campus to Career which aims to connect college students to local professional and career opportunities in the city, so I’m helping develop our new online internship platform, running our Summer Experience Program and coordinating monthly in-person student engagement opportunities we’re calling Launch sessions. I also get to spread the word about all our amazing opportunities for college students at local Career Fairs.  Lastly but not least, I serve as the coordinator for our mentoring program, Grizzlies Scholars, where we pair ten 8th grade boys from Grizzlies Prep Academy with 10 young professional mentors in the city.

What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever found your keys? I once lost my keys over my grandma’s house and swore I looked everywhere for them and settled on the fact that I accidentally threw them away and took out the trash so they were long gone… fast forward 5 or 6 years later, my mom brings the keys to me and saying that they found them when throwing out the old couch at grandma’s house.

If you could go one place in the world for one day, and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do? I would gather my closest friends (most of whom don’t live here) and probably go to Bora Bora (or any beachy place where it’s sunny and 75-80 degrees) and just kick it with them, relaxing at the beach, doing what beach people do.

Cook or baker? I’m more of a baker but if grilling were an option then that would be the option

Fly or drive? Depends on the distance and who I’m traveling with… let’s go with flying.

What’s your superpower? Being able to make all my great ideas and potential inventions come to life without actually having to do the work 

What have you learned since joining New Memphis? The people of Memphis truly care about this city and that’s inspiring. There is a wealth of talent here in the city and a multi-generational group of good-hearted people.  I believe the more collaboration there is between generations will be the key to building a more prosperous and vital city.

What New Memphis alum inspires you and why? Carolyn Hardy. She’s that entrepreneur boss woman that people, especially women and women of color, can look up to.  The more I learn about how she built her business, her involvement in the community and the many different ways she gives back is inspirational.

What’s your favorite hidden gem in Memphis? Slider Inn – I’m a sucker for good burgers and they have some of the best sliders in town and you can mix and match which sliders you want.

What are you doing tonight? I like to clear my mind by catching up on some of my shows. Recently, I’ve picked up Law and Order: SVU but now my fall shows are coming back on so I’ll try to stay up-to-date on those #TGIT.