Embarker of the Week: Leslie Burton
Leslie Burton, Fall 2018 Embark Graduate
What are you doing these days to earn your keep? (As in, where do you work and what’s your job title?) Client Success at Signet, Inc (we sell promotional products).
Where are you planting the seeds of your passion(s) in Memphis and why? Before Covid-19 hit, I volunteered weekly at the Lester Community Center in Binghampton as part of the GROW program (with the Junior League of Memphis). We provide a really fun and educational Thursday evening complete with separate activities for preschoolers, grade schoolers, teens, and adults and end the evening with family dinner! We also throw 2 big carnivals each year and bring in STAX Music Academy students to perform each semester. I've really enjoyed getting to know the families and staff of Lester Community Center and I hope we're able to find a way to restart this program when it's safe for everyone. I also mentor a student through Youth Villages and participate in a Tennis Memphis adult league.
What have you done to promote self-care and positive energy during this time? My favorite "self care" activity is lounging on my back patio with a good book - my favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi and I recently completed a personal goal of reading 100 books in 2 years, so I have all the recommendations if anyone needs one! I also try to go on a neighborhood walk each day (to keep me and my dog, Penny, both sane) and there's no need to pretend I haven't also managed to binge watch basically every show I've ever loved during this pandemic (did I need to watch all of Parks and Rec for the 4th time? Absolutely!)
What plans do you have once the world opens back up to our new normal? The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is being able to travel again, but I feel like that's still a long way off. Locally, I'm excited for events like the concerts at Levitt Shell to restart, and I'm also just excited about being able to again hang out with friends and coworkers in our fave local restaurants and breweries! I'm especially excited about visiting Beale Street Brewing (when they finally have a chance to open their taproom) and trying their upcoming Black is Beautiful collaboration beer with Crosstown Brewing Company!
Let’s end the debate: Whose BBQ are you digging into after quarantine? (i.e. Memphis’ best) We all know BBQ is a loaded topic in Memphis but I've learned that native Memphians can't answer this question with a single location, so I'll take their lead - I've already been consuming a bunch of Central BBQ during quarantine (my favorite pulled pork salad, my husband's favorite ribs), but I'm going to need a pulled pork sandwich from Three Little Pigs, bbq pork spaghetti from The Bar-B-Q Shop, and a pulled pork baked potato from Germantown Commissary to really satisfy my cravings.
What parting words do you have for your fellow Memphians during this challenging time? While it's tough to stay positive during such crazy times, I try to think of 1 thing I can do each day to help someone in Memphis. Can I wear a mask while at a drive-through to protect the worker? Can I call a coworker that I know doesn't have relatives in town? In the interest of self-care, something like ordering a meal from a local restaurant can save you stress and support our local community! Even writing a recommendation for or sharing a post from a local business on social media can help someone, and costs you very little time and energy.
What priceless gem did you takeaway from your Embark experience? My biggest takeaway from Embark was the friendships and business relationships I gained. I joined Embark as a new Memphis resident (I had moved about 6 months prior) and really hadn't found a good way to meet people, and Embark was the answer! It also helped me learn more about the great culture of Memphis and all the assets the city has to offer - it's a really great program for those new to the area, or wanting to make more connections!
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