International Award, Additional Program Scope, and New Hire all Support Progress
The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) was awarded the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) Pinnacle Award* at the September 2022 IDA conference in Vancouver. The industry’s highest recognition, the Pinnacle Award, represents the most inspiring innovations in urban place management.
Each year, the IDA recognizes outstanding projects as winners of the Downtown Achievement Awards, which identify advances to urban centers by organizations worldwide. This year’s projects were awarded by a jury of IDA members in the following categories: leadership development; organizational management; economic development; marketing, communication and events; planning, design and infrastructure; policy and advocacy; and public space management and operations. The DMC’s award-winning efforts highlighted the organization’s policy and advocacy work in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) realm, with the Building Downtown DEI Toolkit, designed to increase MWBE and emerging developer participation in the development of Downtown Memphis.
“The Downtown Memphis Commission’s innovative work received the IDA Pinnacle Award for setting the new standard for improving cities around the world,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The DMC’s DEI Toolkit has made an impact on its community and the people who live, work and play there, and is evidence of the continued commitment to champion livable, vital and thriving urban centers.”
In addition to the IDA-recognized work, the DMC will take on a growing role in the emerging developer landscape, beginning fall 2022. The DMC will be the new home to multiple programs previously managed by Urban Land Institute (ULI) and RegionSmart. Under the DMC’s umbrella, these programs will continue to support greater equity in the overall development momentum in Downtown.
“The DMC has a history of advocacy for emerging developers,” stated Paul Young, DMC President. “We believe that pulling these programs together under one roof will strengthen the programs and lead to a stronger, more connected, development community.”
The programs include the Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDI) program, Develop-A-Thon, and other locally-focused workshops and classes designed to prepare individuals for careers in commercial development.
“DEI doesn’t happen by accident,” said Brett Roler, DMC SVP Planning & Development. “The DMC already has a robust toolkit designed to support a wide range of projects and emerging developers. Through the addition of this new emerging developer programming, we expect to redouble our efforts to continue growing the ecosystem of small developers taking on the challenging work of building up the core city.”
To ensure the success of these programs and the ongoing DEI work, the DMC has recently hired Tori Haliburton as Director of DEI. Haliburton graduated from Lane College, a small Christian HBCU in West Tennessee, and received her Master of Public Administration from Villanova University.
Before joining the DMC, Haliburton served as Director of Grants and Funding Opportunities at Christ Community Health Services, and in various positions with increasing responsibilities at Wiley College and Lane College. Haliburton has extensive community engagement, project management, and team-building experience. She was named as the 2016 WestStar African American Leadership Emerging Leader and was selected by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce as Forty under 40. She has served as a softball, cheerleading, and pageant coach; and AKA sorority advisor. Her current favorite coaching/advising role is in support of her college-aged son’s pursuits at her alma mater, Lane College.
*The DMC has received the Pinnacle award twice in three years,
the first for the Open on Main program in 2020.
Additional Quotes in support of the DMC’s Emerging Developer Programs
“We are thrilled to find a new home for the Emerging Developers programs at the DMC. The DMC is the perfect organization to provide the expertise to ensure that real estate entrepreneurs in our community have access to the education and resources they need to be successful.”
–Anna McQuiston, RegionSmart Executive Director
Additional Quotes related to Tori Haliburton’s role at DMC
“We’re really excited to add Tori to our team. Her task is to wake up everyday thinking about what more the DMC can do to be proactive and aggressive to attract new investment and ensure that we’re building a downtown that reflects the diversity of our full community.”
–Brett Roler, DMC SVP Planning & Development