Leaders of Color: Alumni Profile

November 18, 2021

The Leaders of Color program launched in 2018 to elevate the tremendous talent of community-based leaders of color. Since then, 116 leaders have emerged from the program ready to bring change to their communities. These are their stories.

Meet Arriell Quianna Gipson - a Leaders of Color alum, native Memphian, community advocate, curator of change, and a bold woman from a strong lineage of incredible women.

Q: When did you join Leaders of Color?

A: I joined Leaders of Color in 2021 in Memphis.

Q: Why did you apply to be part of the Leaders of Color program? What inspires you to get involved in civic leadership?

A: Although I’m not a novice to local politics or civic engagement, I understand the importance of continual education, networking, and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals. I heard about Leaders of Color and was recommended for the past couple of years by my dear friend, now angel Ken Taylor, but wanted to watch the sustainability and the success. It was undeniable [that the program is valuable], and I knew if I was going to take a leap from campaign staff to a candidate and be successful I needed a team and a tailored plan. Now I am running to be the next Shelby County Clerk in Tennessee - you can support me here

Q: Did the program help you in your career or with leadership opportunities? How are you thinking about your future based on what you experience with Leaders of Color?

A: The Leaders of Color training program has helped me transition from campaign staff to candidate. Oftentimes people find this transition unsuccessful, so I knew I needed the best of the best to prepare me for it. From storytelling to strategic planning, role play, and access to endless wisdom, it's been a vital stepping stone on my journey of success to serve more people in a greater way, leaving a positive lasting impact on thousands of lives. I feel confident to run as my authentic self and prepared for the journey ahead.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about becoming leaders of their own communities?

A: God has a plan and a purpose for us all. (I like to think He has several.) Seek Him and listen. Surround yourselves with people who have similar aspirations with morals and values you can connect with - do good together. Find a way to serve, it's the most beautiful, satisfying, and humbling experience - and serve often! Stay true to yourself, grow and evolve yes, but don’t lose the pure essence of who you were created to be. Stand strong and firm for what is right and give love. Our communities are shaped by our hearts, our actions, our love.

Q: Please share your favorite inspiring quote!

A: “Don’t ever stop having ideas and don’t give up on your ideas, that’s like giving up on life." - Grandma Bernice P. Gipson

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