Press Releases

Meet the Co-Chairs of the Women’s Business Council

Friday, 11 February, 2022

This year, the Greater Memphis Chamber is excited to announce its two new co-chairs of the Women’s Business Council: Kandace Stewart, Senior Director of External Affairs and Business Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, and Paige Walkup, President and Founding Partner of Caissa Public Strategy.

 
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Kandace Stewart
Senior Director of External Affairs and Business Operations
Memphis Grizzlies

Kandace Stewart is currently the Sr. Director of External Affairs and Business Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies where she works directly with the Team President and Ownership to handle the ever changing needs of the organization. She works with different departments to help build and foster strategic relationships with key business, political and community stakeholders.

Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Kandace was an Associate Attorney at Evans Petree, PC, where she was a member of the Insolvency and Litigation Groups. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. During her time as a practicing attorney, Kandace was active with the Memphis Bar Association as a member of the Inaugural Class of the Leadership Forum, a Bankruptcy Section Board Member and a Committee Member for the Student Legal Internship Program.

A lifelong Memphian, Kandace graduated from The University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2000, and earned her JD/MBA from the University in 2003. She graduated from the New Memphis Institute Fellows Program in Spring 2015 and was named to Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 in 2017. A graduate of Leadership Memphis Executive program in 2020, she currently serves on their Board of Directors as Secretary of the Board. She is on the Board for Girls Inc. Memphis, is an Advisory Board Member for Facing History and Ourselves, was appointed by Lt. Governor McNally to serve on the Sports Wagering Advisory Council for the State of Tennessee and was recently appointed by Mayor Jim Strickland to the Community Redevelopment Agency Board.

Q&A

If you had a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

If I had a superpower I’d want to be able to heal people. Whenever I watch any superhero film I’m always drawn to the characters who can heal others or regenerate body parts. I would want to go a little further and be able to use that power both physically and mentally. I know that’s a stretch but I like to dream big!

Who is the woman that influenced you the most?

The woman that influenced me the most was my mother. Although I was only able to learn from her for 19 years of my life, she taught me lessons that have served me well. She emphasized the importance of education, being of service to others and taking care of myself. She showed me the importance of friendships as well as how to set boundaries and walk away when something wasn’t right for me. She always supported my goals and dreams so that I knew that anything was possible as long as I put in work and believed in myself.

One of the biggest lessons that she taught me was speak up for myself and others, even if my voice shakes.

How would you like to help Mid-South women grow?

I’d like to help Mid-South women grow by creating opportunities for them to grow their network. Knowing how to network and build relationships is essential to growth but isn’t something that all women know how to do. We always hear how important it is to find a good mentor, but if we’re being honest, not everyone has access to good mentors as easily as others. Memphis is a great city for relationship building if you’re plugged in, so I’m always looking for opportunities to connect people with each other and am extremely excited to be working with the Chamber’s Women’s Business Council in this capacity.

 


 

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Paige Walkup
President and Founding Partner
Caissa Public Strategy

Paige Walkup has over 25 years’ experience in the community advocacy sector. As a communications professional, Paige is an expert in community engagement and relationship building.

Paige leads Caissa’s strategic communication business while overseeing the daily operations of the full-service communication firm, including all project management and administrative functions, managing a staff of 28 full-time employees and hundreds of part-time team members and working to ensure sufficient resources are given to Caissa and CaissaK12’s clients.

She has managed and directed projects for clients including community and stakeholder engagement for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the management of the Renasant Convention Center construction communications and the implementation of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Tourism 20/20 plan. Paige also developed the strategic plan for the Beale Street Merchants Association and Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority. She has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement and works regularly with elected officials and a wide range of community-based initiatives and agencies.

Paige holds a Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology from the University of Memphis
and Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Fine Arts from Elon University. She serves as the Co-Chair of Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Business Council and co-chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Department of Anthropology at the University of Memphis. She previously served as a board member of the BLDG Memphis and mayoral appointee to the Health Education and Housing Facilities Board.

Areas of Expertise

  • Public relations
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Legislative affairs
  • Utilizing legislative relationships to navigate policy changes & effects
  • Community organizing & engagement
  • Public advocacy message development & distribution
  • Developing long-term strategic organizational and communications plans
  • Message and planning implementation discipline
  • Media engagement
  • Analytics and reporting

Q&A

If you had a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I’m not big on traditional superpowers, but if I had to pick something I could do, it would be to force people to slow down and listen to the experiences of others before they pass judgment or make decisions. Finding a place of empathy is a challenge far beyond superpowers but I think it is at the heart of solving a lot of our problems.

Who is the woman that influenced you the most?

There have been women at different points in my life who have taught me critical skills that have helped me develop both professionally and as an individual, of those three clearly stand out.

My maternal grandmother was an artist who taught me to always be creative in the way I approached situations and that being curious would net not only adventure but could benefit you in situations where you seemingly did not fit in. My curiosity helped me learn at an early age how to start a conversation and probe for interesting information from whomever I was speaking with.

In high school, I had a teacher that told me I would never amount to anything, her lack of confidence in me and disconnect with my personal learning style taught me that everyone needs to find allies that want to help them succeed. Do not let one naysayer suppress your desire to grow and to work outside the box.

Lastly, my mother has had the most influence over me. Her emphasis on work ethic, kindness and follow-through are what anchor my daily actions.

How would you like to help mid-south women grow?

I think it is critical that we encourage women across industries and job types to mentor young women entering the workforce. Providing peer-to-peer feedback, serving as a listening board, assisting with building networks and helping to build confidence in skills are important actions we can do daily. I want to ensure that women who were my interns or new hires 10-15 years ago are still succeeding and growing whether they are with the company or have moved on to new opportunities.

 

Want to Join the Women’s Business Council?

If you’re interested in joining the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Women’s Business Council, please email Patricia McKinney by clicking here.

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