“Memphis.. is where where many musical genres converge to create a one-of-a-kind Memphis sound; where high culture meets outdoor adventure; and where family fun meets urban energy.

It’s these unexpected combinations that make the Memphis experience sounique and why, no matter how many times you visit, you’ll always discover a new beat.” -Haley Berlent, MEMTalks 2016 speaker.

On Wednesday, June 9, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau held their annual tourism convention at the Cook Convention Center and it was a SUCCESS!

The first ever MEMTalks joined together over 500 people excited for the future and growth of travel & tourism in Memphis and greater Shelby County.

Eight different speakers took the stage, from professionals and celebrities to Memphians making moves in the community. And they left the audience with nothing less than a heap of positivity, encouragement, and a reaffirmed appreciation for this amazing city.

Speakers included:

  • Hayley Berlent– Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of The Additive Agency discussing the Memphis Brand
  • Roger Dow- President andCEO of the U.S. Travel Association discussing How Memphis Fits Into America’s Travel Outlook and the Importance of Taking Time Off
  • Jay Salyers- VP of Miles discussing the digital impact of Memphis travel and tourism with a presentation how Memphis is Always On
  • David Nicholson- Memphis Director of European Operations with Lofthouse Enterprise discussed Memphis Across The Pond, how Memphis fares with travelers overseas
  • Terri Lee Freeman- President of The National Civil Rights Museum with a presentation on Moving Memphis Forward, creating the remembrance of civil rights history in a positive light
  • Kelly McDonald- President of McDonald Marketing discussing How to Market To People Not Like You
  • Boo Mitchell- Owner of Royal Studios with the Story Behind Uptown Funk
  • Logan Guleff- Winner of Master Chef Jr. with a celebration of What’s Cookin In Memphis

Aside from these official speakers, we had quite a few surprises take the stage!

Ned Canty from Opera Memphis presented two of the Opera’s stars, where they gave a hilarious performance as Memphis tourists to the tune of the Memphis Grizzlies’ GrizzLine.

And Mayor Jim Strickland joined me in presenting Boo Mitchell with the Spirit of Memphis award.

From Gibsons Doughnuts and homemade BBQ  to Ardent Studios and Al Kapone performing, Wednesday’s event was truly a full of Memphis pride.

And as Boo Mitchell said, “There are a lot of music cities, but Memphis is the music city of the world.”

It was such an honor and humbling experience to be able to host the first annual MEMTalks event, and I look forward to many for years to come!