CEO Spotlight: The Life of Jeremy C. Park, CEO cityCURRENT (via CEOWORLD magazine)
Below is the article written by Sophie Ireland and published in CEOWORLD magazine on October 2, 2020. Click here to read the article on CEOWORLD magazine's website.
The world today might seem like it is on fire. Every day is ‘hot and happening’ with news related to politics, the pandemic, inequality and justice, natural disasters, struggling world economies, and other social issues that can leave us wondering if good still exists in this world. Thankfully, while bad news might receive much of the mainstream spotlight, the reality is that there are countless organizations and individuals around the world who are working hard each and every day to help others and make a difference, and to create good news. One such person is Jeremy C. Park, who lives with the ultimate motive to ‘power the GOOD.’
Born in the United States of America, Jeremy C. Park is a philanthropist, author, marketer, media personality, speaker and the CEO and catalyst behind cityCURRENT, an organization with a mission to power the GOOD. The organization is a partnership of more than a hundred businesses, including some of the world’s largest employers, like FedEx, AutoZone, Verizon, and Smith+Nephew that have joined forces and funds to strategically help support nonprofits and lift communities. The organization has offices and teams working in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. They host more than 150 free community events each year in both cities, produce an array of positive-oriented media, and financially and physically give back to support nonprofits. Some of their recent community efforts have brought together hundreds of volunteers to wash the feet of thousands of youth, providing them with new socks and shoes as a part of their Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions, helping to mobilize a cleanup effort with more than 13,000 volunteers; and giving away a mortgage free home to a wounded veteran hero.
Park, along with his cityCURRENT team, recently launched a new business division called GROWTHcurrent. It is subscription-based e-learning and online personal and professional development platform providing access to exclusive learning modules and virtual events that feature Q&A sessions with thought leaders, national guest speakers and business industry experts who are sharing their advice and success secrets. They developed and launched GROWTHcurrent in response to COVID-19 as a vital business pivot with cityCURRENT; but, given that the platform is online and individuals around the world can become subscribers to access the content and virtual events, GROWTHcurrent has the potential to ultimately reach and impact more people, and to enable cityCURRENT to power the GOOD in larger ways than ever before.
Park was raised in Weatherford, Texas, spent eight years in Los Angeles, California, and now lives in the Memphis, Tennessee area. His career spans more than two decades full of learning and experimentation in using media, marketing, events, and corporate philanthropy to drive positive change in the community. For more than 12 years now, Park has been nurturing cityCURRENT. Under his leadership, the organization quickly transformed from a small internally-focused networking group, originally called the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, into a powerful, charitable, and externally-focused partnership, which is now recognized internationally for its innovative approach to social entrepreneurialism and collective impact.
Graduating in 1999 magna cum laude from the University of North Texas with a BBA in Marketing, Park was the top undergraduate student in marketing. He was president of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business students, and was heavily involved in service projects both on and off campus.
Park’s continued focus on community service throughout his professional career have garnered numerous awards and recognitions including Top 40 under 40. He has been featured in bestselling books like ‘The Good Ones: Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees’ by Dr. Bruce Weinstein and has been highlighted in several national and international publications, like Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, and Leader’s Edge.
As a result, Jeremy C. Park is frequently sought after to speak and offer insight on topics related to leadership, communications, marketing, media, events, philanthropy, CSR (corporate social responsibility), social entrepreneurialism, and volunteerism.
A Walk through Park’s Professional Life
Publications and Media
Park’s first book, ‘Giving Back with Purpose,’ was released by Main Street Books in 2013. His second book, ‘Giving for Growth,’ was first released in 2015, followed by an updated edition in 2017 and another this year, as an eBook. Both books are focused on achieving success in career and life while helping others and benefiting the community in the process. Proceeds generated by these books are donated to nonprofit youth literacy programs.
Since 2010, Park has been authoring a weekly “Giving Back” column that is published each Sunday in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal. The column shares philanthropic tips and highlights nonprofits and community efforts. He also produces and hosts the ChangeMakers podcast, along with two weekly radio shows, one airing on all four Cumulus Media Memphis stations and another airing on all five Cumulus Media Nashville stations. Additionally, he hosts a monthly television show on PBS’s WKNO called ‘The SPARK’ and annual televised awards show, ‘The SPARK Awards.’ That’s not it – Park even hosts the television show ‘A Conversation With’ that airs across the PBS network in Tennessee and profiles figures like NASA astronauts and Shark Tank investors.
Investments, Interests, and More
Park is a member of the LLC with Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, the largest independent insurance agency in the mid-south and one of the largest independent agencies in the nation. He is also a notable investor for companies like the Memphis-based medical device startup, SweetBio.
When it comes to entertainment and volunteerism, Park has played the role of a head tennis professional at Beverly Hills Country Club, worked in national television and radio, and been mentored by entertainment icons, like Merv Griffin. Park has long served on many nonprofit and education boards, and he currently serves on the boards of Slingshot Memphis, the University of Memphis LEAD program, and New Leaders, where he currently serves as Memphis Advisory Board Chair. He is also a member of the Forbes Communications Council and Business Journals Leadership Trust with The Business Journals.
The Real Purpose
As Park describes, the purpose of his life and whatever he does personally and professionally, including his writing, is to “power the GOOD” and to encourage others to do the same. Park endeavors to help individuals and organizations find and leverage their purpose to make a difference, knowing that the power of leveraging one’s purpose can transform his or her life, career, and community.
Growing up in Weatherford, a small town outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, Park’s parents had an open-door policy where individuals and families dealing with a difficult situation, like the loss of a job, a divorce, or depression, could come over any hour of the day. He and his younger brother got to see the power of just ‘being there’ for others and how those brief moments of caring led to long-lasting relationships that opened doors of new opportunities for Park’s family.
As he discusses in his second book, ‘Giving for Growth,’ Park realized that while money is an important resource, a dollar bill does not physically solve a single problem; people do. He emphasizes that if we want to see change, we must be willing to “be the change” and to physically be there for others, like his parents did and do still today. He adds that opportunities in life and career come from people, that people are the catalysts for new opportunities. No matter what company you work for or own, you will always need somebody to give you a chance, invest in you, or help you get where you want to go. The intersection of understanding that the more you physically serve and invest in your community, and the more you are positive with your attitude, the more people you will meet; then, the more people you meet, the more opportunities you will have to build trust and showcase your ability to lead and deliver results, is how giving leads to growth. This framework is how Park has built his career and what he shares as a model in the book, as he dives into greater detail on how you can customize the approach to leverage the power of your own individual purpose.
The Next Big Thing in Park’s Life
Park’s future aspirations include more speaking and further expanding the reach of his media efforts and shows. With the launch of GROWTHcurrent, the new division of cityCURRENT, Park intends to widen the philanthropic efforts and support of nonprofits and to power the GOOD on an even greater level. Park and cityCURRENT have made a remarkable impact and difference in Memphis and are on a trajectory to do the same in Nashville, where they launched in 2018 – all because Park, his team and corporate partners believe that to be truly successful, organizations and individuals must be purpose-driven, growth-oriented, collaborative, uplifting, and inspirational – they must be a community catalyst.