By Terry Woodard, DNA past president (2010)

With the elections coming up, we are all being challenged by our leaders and potential leaders to get involved. The call is particularly daunting given the present circumstances in the world and most importantly in Memphis.

Most of us want things to be different but for whatever reason we tend to stay where we are most comfortable because of the fear of the unknown. It has been said that life begins at the end of your comfort zone and it is where your growth begins. A great way to begin your new life is to say yes to the call for new board members for the 2017 Downtown Neighborhood Association Board. There are so many opportunities to do something about matters of importance through DNA. 
If you asked Mayor Strickland what he plans to do about crime or blight in Memphis or other problems we face, he will tell you we need “new eyes to solve old problems.” And he will also let you know that, “(he) loves Memphis and is willing to fight for it.” If you love Memphis, you can be a part of the solutions by being a set of new eyes looking out for our neighborhood, which is the core of Memphis.

Downtown residents have many opportunities to solve problems and make a big difference through the Downtown Neighborhood Association. According to Jodie Vance, owner and publisher of the Downtowner Magazine and DNA past president (1991), “DNA changed the laws and ordinances that would protect the neighborhood from future threats. (Through DNA) zoning got changed. It (DNA) became the voice of Downtown.” 

When responding to the call to serve on the new 2017 DNA board DNA member, Natalie Goin replied, “This is an incredible time for growth and momentum here (in Memphis) and downtown truly is the heartbeat of the city. Downtown Memphis is where the city comes together and what happens here can affect our neighborhood as well as the entire city.”


By Bob Lundy, DNA past president (2006)

My wife and I moved to Downtown in 1995.  We had lived in Germantown & then Cordova after transferring to the area in 1984.  Up until the time we moved to Downtown, my focus was solely on my family and my Job.  I never really had any significant community involvement. I can’t recollect ever meeting or talking to a politician or community leader in all of the many places I lived during my time in the Navy or with Proctor & Gamble/Buckeye.  Originally, we got involved in the DNA because of the monthly meetings.  We saw this as a chance to mingle socially with our neighbors while at the same time hearing from some community leaders.  Hearing from and speaking with people like City & County Mayors, the Police Director, the Sheriff, City Councilmen, County Commissioners, State Legislators, and even Congressmen - really opened up my eyes to how much access we really have in Memphis to the people who can help us improve our community.  I then started getting involved with the DNA board and eventually became DNA President. That led to my involvement with the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) where I just completed two terms as Chairman.  I feel that my initial involvement with DNA has allowed me to become much more involved in making positive changes in our Downtown Community.


By Sharon Leicham, DNA past president (2013) 

The goal of the founders of the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) in 1981 was to advocate for the sustainability of Downtown Memphis. My personal goal has always been to make a difference and give back. My involvement with DNA as a member and Past president has given me that opportunity as DNA has always been true to its goal of participation in city issues, riverfront development and neighborhood planning and organization. When input is needed to solve Downtown challenges, city leaders call on DNA to provide support. At the same time, DNA promotes social interaction for downtown residents and businesses through informative monthly meetings and special events. There’s no doubt about it. The Downtown Neighborhood Association is part of Downtown Memphis’ DNA!


The DNA board has a few spots open that you can fill. Please go to our website,, for more information about DNA, it’s structure and board positions. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact Nominations Chair Marcy Siebert at You will find that board service will be as rewarding for you as it will be for DNA. As Jody Vance says, ”Through DNA you will be connected in ways you cannot even imagine.”