Looking Forward to the Future of Memphis

In January, the city of Memphis will welcome a new mayor. In preparation for his new term, Mayor-elect Paul Young asked two St. Mary’s alumnae to join his transition team. Cara Greenstein ’10 and Anna McQuiston ’88 worked with other community leaders to help guide the priorities of the new administration. They will provide recommendations to Young and his team at the end of January.

woman stands in front of door

Cara Greenstein ’10


Greenstein and McQuiston are fierce advocates for the city and embrace the opportunity to lend their voices to issues they care about. Both women shared that they gained the confidence to voice their opinions at a young age through the encouragement and support of the teachers and staff at St. Mary’s.

“Because of the nature of the St. Mary's classroom environment, I am not afraid to share my perspective,” said Greenstein. “Throughout my career, I have often been one of the youngest women at the table, but I always speak up. If I had been in a different classroom environment, I don’t know if I would have that confidence,” she added.

woman poses in front of window

Anna McQuiston ’88


Greenstein, VP of Public Engagement at Doug Carpenter & Associates, serves as co-chair for the Arts & Culture committee. She is also the voice behind Caramelized, a popular Memphis lifestyle blog and Instagram account.

During McQuiston’s time at St. Mary’s, she said she learned to think critically about complex issues. “What I love the most about St. Mary's is that I was taught how to think, not what to think.”

McQuiston is the Executive Director of Mid-South Development District, a regional planning and economic development organization. On the transition team, she is the co-chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure committee.

The pair rely on their diverse experiences and knowledge as key contributors to their committees. They must work with other transition team members to address “how we can improve the quality of life of all of our citizens and make Memphis an even more desirable place to live,“ said McQuiston.

Both Greenstein and McQuiston remain confident that the city has a wealth of assets and untapped potential that the new administration can leverage to foster economic growth, development, and new opportunities.

“The arts—and not just the visual arts or the performing arts, but the culinary arts and other expressions of our culture—are the greater soul of the city and really make Memphis what it is,” shared Greenstein.

McQuiston views infrastructure and transportation as a connective tissue to all the other committees and areas of focus. She shares that access to transportation and infrastructure assets like public transportation, walkability, Internet, and water systems “are key to our economic development. Those things have to be in place in order for arts and culture to thrive, for businesses to want to move here, and for neighborhoods to expand.”

Greenstein is excited to “turn the page to the next chapter of Memphis, harness the talent of future generations, and focus on making Memphis a place people want to be.” She also believes in the administration’s ability to “engage the broader community” and inspire hope moving into 2024.

McQuiston understands what a powerful tool hope can be, adding, “When you're hopeful, you show up to vote, help clean up your neighborhood, give your neighbor a hand, and get out in your community and do things.”

McQuiston also stresses that the key to success is “that we start growing again. The formula for us to win involves more people moving to Memphis and staying in Memphis. I hope we can spread the message that this is an extraordinary city with so many opportunities.”

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