WHO WE ARE
With nearly 15 years of dedicated experience in the youth-serving sector, Larissa Gregory is a seasoned professional who has worn many hats – from counselor and school leader to entrepreneur and now the Executive Director of LITE Memphis.
Larissa's journey in the youth-serving space reflects a deep commitment to the growth and development of young leaders. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for working with high school students, believing in their potential to shape a brighter future. Her expertise lies in cultivating leadership skills and providing invaluable exposure to entrepreneurship, particularly for Black and Brown youth who may not otherwise have such opportunities.
Family and community engagement are at the core of Larissa's philosophy. She understands the importance of fostering relationships between schools, community centers, and other pillar non-profits, advocating for collaborative efforts over siloed approaches. Larissa believes that true impact comes from unified efforts to create holistic and sustainable support systems for youth.
In her role as Executive Director at LITE Memphis, Larissa has successfully secured grants from prominent organizations, including the NBA Foundation, Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation, Crews Family Foundation, Cummins, and Jaren Jackson Jr.'s Much Required initiative, among others. These partnerships attest to Larissa's ability to garner support for initiatives that align with LITE Memphis's mission.
Under Larissa's leadership, LITE Memphis has become a beacon of empowerment, providing access and opportunities that bridge gaps for the youth LITE serves. Her forward-thinking approach, combined with a genuine love for her work, continues to drive positive change within the organization and our Memphis community.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Adrian Smith is the visionary force behind the operational and educational success of LITE Memphis, serving as the Director of Operations and Education for over six years. With a tenure spanning more than half of the organization's decade-long journey, Adrian is not just an integral part of LITE Memphis; he's a driving force in its evolution and impact.
As an innovative thinker and creator, Adrian has consistently demonstrated the ability to turn ideas into impactful programs. His role as the Director of Operations and Education is a testament to his commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional education and operational practices. Adrian's forward-thinking approach has played a pivotal role in positioning LITE Memphis as a leader in youth entrepreneurship.
In his multifaceted role, Adrian oversees the programmatic success of key initiatives, including the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, Alumni Engagement Program, and Community Workshops. His ability to implement and execute high-level programming has been a cornerstone of LITE Memphis's growth and influence.
Adrian's leadership extends beyond the organizational realm. He is a mentor, collaborator, and advocate for youth empowerment. Through his strategic vision and hands-on approach, he ensures that LITE Memphis not only meets but exceeds its goals in fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, and leadership skills among young individuals.
Under Adrian's guidance, LITE Memphis has flourished into a dynamic hub of innovation and learning. His dedication to the organization's mission and his deep understanding of the local community have been instrumental in shaping a decade of success, and he continues to pave the way for even greater achievements in the years to come.
Taylor White serves as a Program Coordinator at LITE Memphis, combining her passion for education with a deep commitment to youth development. As a native of Memphis, Taylor is dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders within her community.
With a background in education, Taylor brings a wealth of experience to her role, having previously served as an educator in Memphis schools. Her understanding of the local education landscape, coupled with her commitment to fostering positive learning environments, makes her a valuable asset to the LITE Memphis team.
In her role as Program Coordinator, Taylor is instrumental in the development and execution of programs aimed at nurturing entrepreneurial skills among young individuals. Her hands-on approach, combined with her genuine enthusiasm for youth development, contributes to the success of LITE Memphis's mission.
Taylor's commitment to community engagement extends beyond her professional responsibilities. As a native Memphian, she is deeply connected to the local culture and is dedicated to creating opportunities for the youth to thrive and succeed.
With a focus on empowerment and mentorship, Taylor plays a vital role in shaping the experiences of program participants. Her dedication to fostering a sense of purpose and possibility among Memphis youth aligns seamlessly with LITE Memphis's vision for a brighter and more entrepreneurial future.
Kat Dandridge serves as the Program Coordinator for LITE Memphis, bringing passion, dedication, and a wealth of experience to empower youth in the community.
With a background in education and community engagement, Kat plays a crucial role in the development and execution of LITE Memphis programs. Her commitment to fostering entrepreneurship among young individuals has made a significant impact on the organization's mission.
In her role, Kat oversees the coordination of various programs, ensuring seamless execution and a positive experience for participants. Her ability to connect with youth and create an inclusive learning environment reflects her deep understanding of the transformative power of education.
Kat's journey with LITE Memphis is marked by her innovative approach to program development. She is instrumental in creating engaging curricula, organizing impactful events, and providing mentorship that goes beyond traditional boundaries. Her dedication to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs aligns perfectly with the organization's vision.
Outside of her role, Kat actively participates in community initiatives, embodying the values of leadership and service. As a Program Coordinator, she continues to inspire both participants and colleagues alike, contributing to the overall success and growth of LITE Memphis.
Gardner Story is a seasoned Administrative Assistant with an impressive 10-year career dedicated to providing essential support and maintaining organizational efficiency. Her commitment to excellence and attention to detail has made her an integral part of our team.
Throughout her career, Gardner has honed her administrative skills, contributing significantly to the smooth operation of various departments. Her responsibilities have encompassed managing calendars, coordinating meetings, and ensuring effective communication across teams. Gardner's proficiency in office management software and her knack for problem-solving make him a reliable resource for streamlining administrative processes.
In addition to his technical skills, Gardner is known for her positive attitude and collaborative approach. She seamlessly integrates into diverse teams, fostering a cooperative work environment. Her commitment to delivering high-quality administrative services has been a driving force behind our organization's success.
Gardner's journey as an Administrative Assistant reflects not only her proficiency in handling day-to-day tasks but also her adaptability and continuous growth. As she embarks on another year of service, we look forward to benefiting from her wealth of experience and unwavering dedication to organizational excellence at LITE Memphis.