I Am New Memphis: Jon Campbell
Full Name: Jonathan Edward Campbell
Describe your life philosophy in six words: Give the best version of yourself
Where are you from? Originally, I am from rural Illinois. Believe it or not, a town called Campbell Hill.
How did you get to Memphis? My wife and I went to grad school in different states and decided to live wherever the first one of us got a job after school. That was her, and we came here—which is great because our families are both close by.
What’s your job title? Director of Fellows
OK, but what do you actually do? I manage all parts of the Fellows program – selection, curriculum, evaluation, engagement. I also lead some presentations on behalf of New Memphis and support the evaluation work or our team.
What neighborhood do you live in? East Memphis, near Richland Elementary
Tell us a bit about yourself. I’ve lived in Memphis for about 10 years and have been married for 9. We have two daughters, and our family is doing its part to keep red hair alive (check out the pictures for proof). I have a curiosity about the world and love to learn new things.
OK, now give us the bio. Work, school, places you’ve lived, awards and distinctions etc. Degrees from MTSU and the University of Tennessee. I worked in leadership development at the University of Memphis for several years, and I still do a lot of work with college students through some paid and volunteer roles. My awards have been connected to that work: I was the national advisor of the year Up ‘til Dawn, a group that raises money for ALSAC/St. Jude; I was recently awarded volunteer of the year for my fraternity; and I was made an honorary member of the Penn State’s fraternity community because of some work I did a few years ago.
What are you thankful for? I am thankful my dad taught me how to work on things. I’ve saved tons of money over the years, it is empowering, and I believe the troubleshooting and figuring out that goes into working on a house or car is useful in my daily tasks.
When playing Monopoly, which piece do you pick? I am the wheelbarrow so I have something to carry all the cash.
If you could only eat one kind of food (e.g. Mexican, Thai) for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza. Is this even something worth debating? Shouldn’t pizza win for everyone?
What’s the last book you read? Iron Horses. It’s a book about the building of the transcontinental railroad.
What do you hope to accomplish in life? I want to raise my daughters to be strong, generous, and confident women; I want to spend a lifetime with my wife; and I want to help people find a path to make a positive difference in their sphere – no matter how big or small.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Temporal manipulation. I could bend time and travel to the past to visit a lost loved one, or I could simply slow a moment to savor it.
What is your favorite Memphis “hidden treasure”? There is a parking lot in the southeast corner of St. Jude’s campus. I love the view from the top of it. It is different angle on downtown than the one I typically observe, and you can look over either shoulder and miraculous places rising above their surroundings – St. Jude to your right and Le Bonheur to your left.