The role of change leadership manager for First Horizon National Corp. requires Lori Spicer Robertson to wear many hats. And in her “spare” time, things are no different. “No day is ever the same,” she says. “I love and welcome a challenge!”
Lori exercises creativity and passion to implement positive change in all things. Mom to 18-month-old Liam and wife to Eric, Lori has found the time to grow an event design business, develop a nonprofit, assist in the revitalization of her neighborhood and makes no apologies for taking the necessary time to travel and experience life with her family. She exemplifies the true qualities of a community connector and proves there can be no such thing as a routine when maintaining a successful balance of work and home life. Today, we are delighted to introduce Lori Spicer Robertson as our FACE of Memphis.
What is your favorite thing about living in Memphis?
I love the sense of community and the character of the people in Memphis! I am a Memphian, born and raised, and although I left for school and my early career, I have found a new appreciation for my hometown since my return. I have such an immense pride in the city of Memphis and all the incredible things happening here.
We’ve heard Soulsville recently received a grant for neighborhood revitalization. Tell us how residents have engaged to further improve this community.
The Soulsville, USA neighborhood has such a history, mostly known for its acclaim surrounding Stax Records in its heyday, but so much more happened in this neighborhood. A number of influential Memphians hailed from this community, and we are seeing a resurgence of people slowly moving back into the neighborhood. A huge part of true engagement is rallying the residents around driving the community forward. This process has been so rewarding, and I have enjoyed knowing our neighbors by name. I can’t wait to share with the world all that Soulsville, USA has to offer!
What led you to start an event planning business?
I have always felt a sense of fulfillment by using my creativity to bring joy to my family and friends. Smitten Events was a dream birthed through the collaborative spirits of myself and two others with the intent to serve nonprofits by helping them deliver on creative events and galas. At the close of 2014, we hosted a relaunch to let Memphis know that we also adore weddings, and we love to be part of all other life celebrations, charity occasions and corporate events. This year, we are proud to be the coordinator for The Big Fake Wedding-Memphis, which will take place on Thursday, March 3, at Propcellar, so come by to see our work of art!
What sparked the idea for Memphis Prom Closet?
Memphis Prom Closet is an initiative that stemmed from a self-empowerment program I co-founded, called Brown Girl Dreams. When we began BGD (formerly known as Girl Talk), the former principal of Northside High School shared that he typically purchased prom attire for a number of the female students to avoid them being chastised and being left out of the prom experience. Being the problem solver that I am, I researched to see if there was a prom dress drive, and the only thing that resembled this was only offered to Youth Villages participants. So I pulled my friends and contacts together, and the outgrowth was Memphis Prom Closet.
What are your travel essentials?
My husband and I vowed when we got engaged we would travel and/or do a staycation at least once per quarter to recharge our batteries, learn something new and explore the vast world around us. Since so much of my life includes travel for business and pleasure, I can’t help but have a “must-have” travel list, including clothing that does not require much ironing — not my fave thing to do when traveling; an extra, collapsible tote for the items I will buy and that inevitably won’t fit in my carry-on; a swimsuit — I always have one just in case; my cell phone to Facetime with my family; my tablet to fulfill my Pinterest fix; a fun, colorful dress and shoes that make me look outstanding to wear with my husband to a lounge, bar, dance club or cool restaurant; a curling iron to transform my hair; my travel makeup to beautify; backup cell phone and tablet chargers to make it through layovers; a picture of Liam because I miss him so much when I am away; and a good book (an actual book), like The Happiness Project.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Event design, organizing and ice cream, just like that!
How do you successfully unwind after a busy day?
This one is easy … coming home to look at the smiling face of my little prince — Liam — and curling up on the couch with my husband, Eric, to hear all the awesome work he is doing in our community. With those two things, life is grand.
What’s your best piece of advice for others?
“Live in your vision, not your circumstances.” This is the mantra my husband and I live by, because it is so easy to be blinded by our current situation and lose sight of our vision or the destiny that awaits us.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Naturally, I wanted to say my faith, family and friends, and in that order, but my others are just as great. Must haves include: Bread pudding — my favorite dessert, Pinterest — love trying all the new ideas I find and a “party with a purpose” — what better way to spend time celebrating life with family and friends, while supporting a deserving cause?
Thank you, Lori, for sharing a bit of yourself with our readers today. And thank you to Micki Martin for today’s beautiful photographs!
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