Kevin Woods with Karlisa Kuykindall

Kevin Woods (left) and Karlisa Kuykindall (United Way staff)

“Ultimately, you have to own your destiny.”

Those were the words of Kevin Woods at “Coffee with Kevin Woods” at The Office@Uptown, 594 N. Second Street last Thursday. The event provided an opportunity for some of Memphis’ young leaders to learn about taking leadership roles and getting good jobs in our community. The event was sponsored by United Way of the Mid-South’s Emerging Leaders Society.

In addition to speaking on employment, Woods spoke about Mid-South poverty.

United Way Emerging Leaders SocietyAs Executive Director at Workforce Investment Network, Woods assists Memphis, Shelby County, and Fayette County with improving employment opportunities for citizens, and focuses on the challenges face by citizens living in poverty.

“Send them to us,” Woods said. “What we do, we’re going to look and say…does this person have a history. We’re going to peel back that onion and find out what is going on that is deeper than just the work environment.”

Woods said that people living in poverty depend on their family because that’s all they have.

“To improve the lives of people living in poverty here, we often have to shift their value system,” he said.  “It takes intensive coaching to get them to the point of managing in the workforce. Let us help.  We provide resources to people like access to transportation and child care, but ultimately people have to own their destiny.”

Woods previously served as the Director of Career Development with New Horizons, where he worked for 12 years and was two-time recipient of The President’s Club, the highest accomplishment for any consultant with New Horizons. He currently serves on the Shelby County School Board as the Vice Chair, and is a member of numerous boards.  He is a Graduate of Leadership Memphis Executive Class of 2014 and has been recognized as one of The Memphis Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40.”

Please see photo gallery below:

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