Tri-State Defender Business Stories


Aspiring black homeowners targeted at Community Wealth Building Day

By Dalisia Brye, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

The Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) held its 2nd annual Community Wealth Builders event this past Saturday. The event provided information to aspiring homeowners about various financial programs. “We’re here to provide wealth and longevity to black communities through homeownership,” said local President Sherita McCray. “Our goal is to teach financial literacy and provide credit manageability though various financial vendors.” Created by National President Ron Cooper, the initiative is designed to get two million new African-American homeowners into homes within the next 5 years. The four-hour event featured financial counseling from the Tennessee Housing Authority, Aflac and State Farm. Free credit checks were provided through the National Investment Division-Housing Counseling Agency. NAREB, said McCray, caters to homeowners facing foreclosures. “We want all black homeowners to keep their property so they can pass it down from generation to generation,” she said. NAREB programs include those that provide credit vouchers for those in need of assistance with closing costs. “Prior to us getting married, my husband and I didn’t know where to start when it came to purchasing a home,” said Ashley Martin, who attended the Community Wealth Building Day event. “Thanks to these programs, we got our credit in order and became homeowners shortly after we were married. We’ve been in our home for two years now. Thankful isn’t the word.” (For more details, contact Sherita McCray at


By Charles Sims Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Most employers have already replaced traditional pensions, which promise lifetime income payments in retirement, with defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s. Even so, 35 percent of workers say they (and/or their spouse) have pension benefits with a current or former employer. A 2016 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute indicates that pension payments are a major or minor source of steady income for about 47 percent of retirees. About half of pension plan participants can choose to take their money in a lump sum when they retire. In addition, companies can offer pension buyouts — not only to vested former employees who are working elsewhere but even to retirees who are already receiving pension payments. By shrinking the size of a pension plan, the company can reduce the associated risks and costs and limit the impact of future retirement obligations on current financial performance. However, what’s good for a corporation’s bottom line may or may not be in the best interests of plan participants and their families. For most workers, there are clear mathematical and psychological advantages to keeping the pension. However, a lump sum could provide financial flexibility that may benefit some families. Weigh risks before letting go A lump-sum payout transfers the risks associated with investment performance and longevity from the pension plan sponsor to the participant. The lump-sum amount is the discounted present value of an employee’s future pension, set by an IRS formula based on current bond interest rates and average life expectancies. Individuals who opt for a lump-sum payout must then make critical investment and withdrawal decisions and determine for themselves how much risk to take in the financial markets. The resulting income is often not enough to replace the pension income given up, unless the investor can tolerate exposure to stock market risk and is able to achieve solid returns over time. Gender is not considered when calculating lump sums, so a pension’s lifetime income may be even more valuable for women, who tend to live longer than men and would have a greater chance of outliving their savings. In addition, companies may not include the value of subsidies for early retirement or spousal benefits in lump-sum calculations; the latter could be a major disadvantage for married couples. When a lump sum might make sense A lump-sum payment could benefit a person in poor health or provide financial relief for a household with little cash in the bank for emergencies. But keep in mind that pension payments (monthly or lump sum) are taxed in the year they are received, and cashing out a pension before age 59½ may trigger a 10 percent federal tax penalty. Rolling the lump sum into a traditional IRA postpones taxes until withdrawals are taken later in retirement. Someone who expects to live comfortably on other sources of retirement income might also welcome a buyout offer. Pension payments end when the plan participant (or a surviving spouse) dies, but funds preserved in an IRA could be passed down to heirs. IRA distributions are also taxed as ordinary income, and withdrawals taken prior to age 59½ may be subject to the 10 percent federal tax penalty, with certain exceptions. Annual minimum distributions are required starting in the year the account owner reaches age 70½. It may also be important to consider the health of the company’s pension. The “funded status” is a measure of plan assets and liabilities that must be reported annually; a plan funded at 80 percent or less may be struggling. Most pensions are backstopped by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), but retirees could lose a portion of the “promised” benefits if their plan fails. The prospect of a large check might be tempting, but cashing in a pension could have costly repercussions for your retirement. It’s important to have a long-term perspective and an understanding of the tradeoffs when a lump-sum option is on the table. (Charles Sims Jr., CMFC, LUTCF, is President/CEO of The Sims Financial Group. Contact him at 901-682-2410 or visit

THE MOVE: Tri-State Bank of Memphis is taking its headquarters to Whitehaven

By Karanja A. Ajanaku, [email protected] In the banking industry as in the world of medicine, heart transplants require expertise, precision execution and loads of care and c...

5 surprising facts on the wage gap for women of color

By Angela Bronner Helm, The Root

In honor of Equal Pay day on April 4, the American Association of University Women released its latest report on the disparity in men and women’s pay in America, and unfortunately, Black and Hispanic women have the longest way to go. We have all heard about the “20 percent” pay gap that exists between men and women—but in truth this does not reflect the reality of all women. The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap gets to the brass tax of things, by not only addressing how the pay gap is influenced by age, race, motherhood and education levels, it now even includes information on disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It also offers solutions on how to close it. First, five quick facts from the report: 1 - According to AAUW, the pay gap won’t close until 2152. 2 - The gender pay gap is worse for mothers, and it only grows with age. 3 - Thanks to the pay gap, women of color especially struggle to pay off student debt. 4 - Women in every state experience the pay gap, but in some states it’s worse than others. 5 - More education helps increase women’s earnings, but it still doesn’t close the gender pay gap. Compared to the earnings of non-Hispanic White men (the largest segment of the workforce in America), Hispanic women earn 54 cents to every white man’s dollar; Black women earn 63 cents; White women earn 75 cents and Asian women 85 cents (which all together gets us to the “20 percent” wage disparity.) The report also dispels the notion that more education closes the gender pay gap. “As a rule, earnings increase as years of education increase for both men and women. However, while more education is a useful tool for increasing earnings, it is not effective against the gender pay gap. At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s median earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education,” notes the AAUW’s website. The report also documents that women of color have a harder time paying off their student debt. Yet, for all of the “bad news,” the AAUW also offers solutions to the gender pay gap: For companies While some CEOs have been vocal in their commitment to paying workers fairly, American women can’t wait for trickle-down change. AAUW urges companies to conduct salary audits to proactively monitor and address gender-based pay differences. It’s just good business. For individuals Women can learn strategies to better negotiate for equal pay. AAUW’s salary negotiation workshops help empower women to advocate for themselves when it comes to salary, benefits, and promotions. In Boston or Washington, D.C.? Read more about the free workshops in your area, and stay tuned for more cities to come! For policy makers The Paycheck Fairness Act would improve the scope of the Equal Pay Act, which hasn’t been updated since 1963, with stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, enhance federal enforcement efforts, and prohibit retaliation against workers asking about wage practices. Tell the Congress to take action for equal pay.

4 reasons to steer clear of romance in the workplace


As innocent and convenient as it may seem to let a little flirtation with a co-worker turn into something a bit more, you might find it’s not worth the headache. I mean, most people spend the majority of their lives at work. The people you at your job can often see your more than your family. Romantic relationships in the workplace aren’t farfetched, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t messy. The following might be reasons you need to consider before you partake in that “lunch date.” 1. Who Are They Really? Have you ever spent time with this person outside of work? If not, it’s hard to really know who you are getting to know. Most people spend the majority of their time in the office figuring out who they want their work persona to be. Corporate culture practically encourages the fake personality you learn to have every day when you walk into the office. So how are you to know if you TRULY like this person, or if you just are crushing on the person at work? #Workbae might just be that someone you like only at work. 2. Favoritism If you work on the same team or in the same division of the company, it could be a conflict of interest especially if you are in management. People on your team might feel that you show the person you like more favoritism simply because of the relationship you two share. No longer will your agreements with their opinions or ideas be simply that; most people will assume it’s a biased perspective. 3. The Break If you guys don’t work out and have to still see each other every day how will that go over? What if the breakup is awful?Perfect recipe for awkwardness. Breaking up is already a hard thing to deal with. Add still managing to wake up and go to work with a smile on your face every day. Imagine having to do this while being anxious you will run into your ex in the breakroom….not fun! 4. Gossip Now there is always a topic of discussion going around the office and it’s never fun for it to be about you. Dating in the office can stir up quite the discussion and could put a damper on your career goals if the wrong ear catches wind of your relationship. It’s best to keep your personal life personal while at work and dating someone in the office can make this rather difficult.


By Charles Sims Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Information on Roth IRAs often refers to the “five-year rule,” but in fact there are two separate five-year holding requirements that may affect the tax treatment of Roth distributions. The first determines whether a withdrawal of earnings will be tax-free, and the second determines whether a withdrawal of converted principal will be penalty-free. Withdrawal of Earnings You can withdraw contributions to a Roth IRA at any time without tax liabilities or penalties, because contributions are made with after-tax dollars. However, to qualify for a tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, the distribution must take place after age 59½ (with exceptions for death, disability, and up to $10,000 for a first-time home purchase) and meet the Roth earnings five-year rule. The five-year holding period for earnings begins on January 1 of the tax year for which you made your first contribution (regular or rollover) to any Roth IRA you own. For example, if your first Roth IRA contribution was designated for tax year 2016 (even if made in early 2017), your five-year holding period began on Jan. 1, 2016, and will end on Dec. 31, 2020. You have only one five-year holding period for determining whether distributions from any Roth IRA you own are qualified tax-free distributions. Inherited Roth IRAs are subject to different rules. Converted Principal When you convert assets in a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the amount you convert (except for any after-tax contributions you’ve made) is subject to income tax in the year of the conversion. If you withdraw any portion of the converted amount within five years, you may have to pay the 10 percent early-distribution penalty on those funds, unless you’ve reached age 59½ or qualify for an exemption. This five-year holding period starts on Jan. 1 of the year you convert assets to a Roth IRA. If you have more than one conversion, each will have its own separate five-year holding period for this purpose. This rule also applies to assets rolled over from a qualified (tax deferred) retirement plan such as a traditional 401(k) to a Roth IRA. These guidelines may be helpful, but Roth distribution rules are complex. Be sure to consult your tax professional before taking any specific action that might have tax consequences.

African Americans are working more than ever, but pay hasn’t caught up

By Valerie Wilson and Janelle Jones,

Over the last several decades, black workers have been offering more to the economy and the labor market to incredibly disappointing results in pay and unemployment. Some have argued that the disparity in wages between blacks and white is the result of white workers working longer and harder than black workers. They blame black workers for racial wage gaps, saying that they should do anything from getting more education to simply working harder. Such explanations minimize the role of racial discrimination on labor market outcomes, while perpetuating racial bias and stereotypes of black workers as unmotivated and lazy. And the data show they are simply false: hours and weeks worked have increased for both races, with a larger increase for black workers over the last several decades. The increase in annual hours is particularly striking for workers in the bottom 40 percent of the wage distribution, where it has been driven almost entirely by women. Table 1 provides data on annual hours worked in 1979 and 2015 for workers ages 18–64 years old who report non-zero earnings during the year (so the averages are conditioned on working. In forthcoming research, we explicitly address trends in labor force participation). Work hours include paid vacations and time off, and therefore represent paid hours. The table also presents the percent change from 1979 to 2015 in annual hours, weeks worked, and weekly hours. These data are shown by race and wage fifth, or quintile. The key finding is that the average black worker worked 1,805 hours in 2015, an increase of 199 hours, or 12.4 percent from the 1979 work year of 1,606 hours. Resulting in a smaller increase of 11.0 percent, the average white worker worked 1,888 hours in 2015, an increase of 187 hours from the 1979 work year of 1,701 hours. For both white and black workers, the growth in annual hours was primarily driven by an increase in the number of weeks worked (up 8.1 percent for white workers and 10.2 percent for black workers) rather than an increase in weekly work hours (up 2.7 percent for white workers and 2.0 percent for black workers). The increase in annual hours between 1979 and 2015 was more pronounced among workers in the lowest fifth of the wage distribution than among workers in the middle fifth. It was also greater among middle-wage workers than among the top fifth of earners. As expected, the pattern for annual hours is similar to that of weeks. While the number of hours worked by those in the lowest quintile is consistently lower than those of better-off fifths, the greatest rise in weeks worked has been among individuals at the bottom of the income distribution. For both black and white workers, the growth in weeks worked for the bottom fifth was more than triple the increase for the top fifth. White workers in the bottom quintile have increased their annual hours by 17.0 percent since 1979, compared to 21.9 percent for black workers at the bottom. Annual hours for the second and middle fifth are very similar for black and white workers. At the top income distribution, white workers have seen a 5.6 percent increase in annual hours while black workers experienced a 6.2 percent increase. Trends in work hours vary greatly by race, gender, and wage group. Table 2 provides data on annual hours, weeks worked, and weekly hours in 1979 and 2015, further disaggregated by these categories. The data reveal that growth in work hours, for both whites and blacks, was heavily driven by the growth of work hours among women. Overall annual work hours grew by 22.0 percent among white women and 18.4 percent among black women. However, the growth in annual hours in the bottom fifth and second fifth is larger for black women than for white women. Black women also have higher annual hours than white women all across the wage distribution. Work hours only grew 4.0 percent among white men and 7.4 percent among black men. Similar to the overall trend, annual work hours grew more among women than among men from 1979 to 2015 because women increased their weeks per year more than their weekly hours in the paid workforce. Figure A shows annual hours by race for the business cycle peak years of 1979, 1989, 2000, and 2007, as well as for 1995 (the point during the 1990s business cycle after which wages grew dramatically) and for 2014 and 2015 (the two most recent years of the current recovery for which data are available). It shows that this trend of African American workers increasing work hours more than their white counterparts occurred primarily between 1979 and 2000. With the exception of a notable decline in work hours among black workers between 2007 and 2014, work hours have changed very little since 2000. However, during this period of time, labor market returns to black workers continued to worsen relative to their white counterparts regardless of age, education, occupation, and other socioeconomic demographics. The data make it clear that there has been no lack of effort on the part of black workers. Even in the face of persistent racial wage gaps, labor market discrimination, occupational segregation, and other labor market obstacles, black workers continue to increase their annual hours and weeks worked per year. (This blog post is based on data analysis from the EPI Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy’s (PREE) an ongoing project on Work Hours, Unemployment and Labor Market Disconnection.)

Hard times for Sears as retailer notes substantial doubt about future

By Anne D'Innocenzio and Hannah Weikel, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Sears, a back-to-school shopping destination for generations of kids, has said that after years of losing money that there is "substantial doubt" it will be able to keep its doors open. But it also insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk. It was still a dramatic acknowledgment from the chain that owns Sears and Kmart stores, which has long held fast to its stance that a turnaround is possible, even as many of its shoppers have moved on to Wal-Mart, Target or Amazon. Sears has survived of late mainly with millions in loans funneled through the hedge fund of Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert, but with sales fading it is burning through cash. Sears Holdings Corp. said late Tuesday it lost more than $2 billion last year, and its historical operating results indicated doubt about the future of the company that started in the 1880s as a mail-order catalog business. At a largely empty Sears store in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the available parking far outstripped the number of cars in the lot, 85-year-old Jack Walsh and his 82-year-old wife, Mary Ann, said they have shopped at Sears their entire lives, buying items from curtains and window treatments to tires and tools. "I bought my tools from Sears and I've still got them," Jack Walsh said. The company known for DieHard batteries and Kenmore appliances has been selling assets, most recently its Craftsman tool brand. But it says pension agreements may prevent the sale of more businesses, potentially leading to a shortfall in funding. "It's a sad story. This is the place that created the first direct to consumer retail, the first modern department store. It stood like the Colossus over the American retail landscape," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm. "But it's been underinvested and bled dry." Company shares, which hit an all-time low last month, tumbled more than 13 percent Wednesday. Sears tried to soothe investors' fears, saying in a post on its site that it remains focused on "executing our transformation plan" and that news reports miss the full disclosure that it's highlighting actions to reduce risks. It also said that the comments made in the filing were in line with "regulatory standards." Lampert combined Sears and Kmart in 2005, about two years after he helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy. He pledged to return Sears to greatness, leveraging its best-known brands and its vast holdings of land, and more recently planned to entice customers with its loyalty program. The company, which employs 140,000 people, announced in January said it would close 108 additional Kmart and 42 more Sears locations, and unveiled yet another restructuring plan in February aimed at cutting costs and reconfiguring debts to give itself more breathing room. But it has to get more people through the doors or shopping online for what it's selling. Sears, like many department stores, has been thwarted by a new consumer that has ripped up the decades-old playbook that the industry has relied upon. A plethora of new online players have also revolutionized the market. Sears has upped its presence online, but is having a hard time disguising its age. Its stores are in need of a major refresh as rivals like Wal-Mart and Target invest heavily to revitalize stores. Sales at established Sears and Kmart locations dropped 10.3 percent in the final quarter of 2016. Industry analysts have placed the staggering sums of money that Sears is losing beside the limited number of assets it has left to sell, and believe the storied retailer may have reached the point of no return. The company has lost $10.4 billion since 2011, the last year that it made a profit. Excluding charges that can be listed as one-time events, the loss is $4.57 billion, says Ken Perkins, who heads the research firm Retail Metrics LLC, but how the losses are stacked no longer seem to matter. "They're past the tipping point," Perkins said. "This is a symbolic acknowledgement of the end of Sears of what we know it to be." For Sears to survive, Perkins believes it would need to do so as a company running maybe 200 stores. It now operates 1,430, a figure that has been vastly reduced in recent years. As for Kmart, Perkins does not see much of a future. For decades, Sears was king of the American shopping landscape. Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s storied catalog featured items from bicycles to sewing machines to houses, and could generate excitement throughout a household when it arrived. The company began opening retail locations in 1925 and expanded swiftly in suburban malls from the 1950s to 1970s. "When I first got married at 19 or 20, we bought our first set of kettles from Sears," said Darla Klemmensen, who was shopping at the St. Paul store on Wednesday. "We still have some of those." Klemmensen says Sears has been part of her life since she was a child watching her grandmother order stockings and garters, and she remembers flipping through Sears catalogs as thick as her forearm, full of appliances, clothing and kitchen wares. But the onset of discounters like Wal-Mart created challenges for Sears that have only grown. Sears faced even more competition from online sellers and appliance retailers like Lowe's and Home Depot. Its stores became its albatross, many of them looking shabby and outdated. The company, based northwest of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, lost $607 million in the most recent quarter and revenue fell. "They've been delusional about their ability to turn around the business," said Perkins. Johnson, though, believes one avenue for Sears could be returning to its roots as a direct-to-consumer company, only using the internet versus the old catalog. He believes the Sears name still stands for something for the 40-plus customer. "It has a lot of good memories," he said. "It stands for being dependable and reliable." Weikel reported from St. Paul, Minnesota. AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman contributed to this report from Newark, New Jersey.


By Charles Sims Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender

A recent study by the Social Security Administration projected that an average of 56 percent of households receiving Social Security benefits will owe federal income tax on some or all of their benefits during the period from 2015 to 2050. This typically applies to taxpayers who have other substantial income, such as from a pension, investments or employment. The formula for determining the tax liability of benefits is somewhat complicated but may be worth taking time to understand. Whether you are already receiving Social Security or projecting your future retirement income, knowing how much of your benefits might go toward taxes is important for realistic planning. Combined Income The tax liability for Social Security benefits depends on your “combined income,” sometimes referred to as modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). For most people, this is adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest (such as from municipal or Treasury bonds) plus one-half of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income exceeds a “base amount” of $25,000 ($32,000 for joint filers), you may owe federal income tax on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income exceeds a higher base amount of $34,000 ($44,000 for joint filers), you may owe tax on up to 85 percent of your benefits. Single-filer base amounts apply to those filing as head of household, qualified widow/widower, or married filing separately if spouses did not live together during the year. If you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse, the base amounts do not apply, and you will probably pay taxes on all your benefits. The taxable portion of your benefit would be included with other ordinary income and taxed at your marginal rate. Increasing Tax Liability The combined income thresholds, which were set in 1983 and 1993 and intended for high-income beneficiaries, have never been indexed for inflation. This has increased the percentage of beneficiary households who are subject to taxes on their benefits from 8 percent in 1983 to 52 percent in 2015. For those whose benefits are taxed, the average percentage of benefits that goes toward paying taxes is expected to rise from 11.9 percent in 2015 to 14.7 percent in 2050 according to the Social Security Administration. Adjusting these base amounts is among the many provisions considered in broader Social Security reform, according to If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you should receive Form SSA-1099 each January, listing the amount of benefits you received in the previous year. If you expect to owe federal income taxes, you can pay estimated taxes with Form 1040-ES, have additional taxes withheld from other income, or request to have taxes withheld directly from your Social Security benefits by completing Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request.

If you ‘feel’ your employer has wronged you, get out of your ‘feelings’ — and get some evidence

By Myra Hamilton, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

What should you do if you “feel” you are the subject of discrimination on the job? Where should you even start? These are among the many questions employees ask when they are not quite sure what to do or how to move forward in getting to a resolution. My intention with this series of articles is to empower you with basic information to consider. Hopefully, the information will provide an understanding of the type of data that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Tennessee Human Rights Commission would need to confirm that you have been discriminated against in implementing and performing the scope of your assigned duties. I will start with very basic knowledge and build on it more in future issues. With that said, you need to know that Tennessee is an at-will state and your employer does not need good cause to fire you. Period. Tennessee law presumes that you are an employee at will. With that very important point stated and behind us for now, let me first be brutally honest and unambiguously clear regarding your “feelings” before we move any further. Did you know that your strong feelings or suspicions are not the same as evidence? The credibility, merit and success of your allegation of unlawful employment practices isn’t based on your feelings. It’s not based on the feelings of your co-workers or family members. No, it is totally and completely based on your evidence. You must show your evidence based upon events that occurred within a specific period. You need to consider the actual employment action itself before you move forward and report your feelings of alleged unlawful discrimination to your manager or human resources. I say this because let’s face it: Countless things happen on the job every day — things that are unkind, unpleasant, unfair, and/or downright insulting. Sometimes these things happen because of poor management. Maybe because someone is mad at you or dislikes you. But that doesn’t mean it’s unlawful, regardless of how unfairly you feel you’ve been treated. Your manager's decision can indeed be unfair but unfortunately not unlawful. An employment decision can be based on false information or false assumptions — and not be unlawful. Your supervisor can even fail to comply with a union contract or your employer's policies, and still not be considered unlawful. So be careful before you get all “in your feelings.” If you do have credible evidence in hand, and it’s strong enough to go forward, what should you know now? The evidence is what you will need to help direct your HR professional, an EEOC investigator and a judge and jury, that it is more probable than not, that your alleged personnel decision was indeed discriminatory. You want your evidence — not your feelings — to be so obvious that anyone could conclude that what happened to you was unlawful. Your allegations will depend on the strength of your evidence. Your evidence must demonstrate that your rights were violated. Your evidence is your supportive documentation to substantiate your allegation. The standards of proof that EEOC or the THRC requires are those that have been established by regulation and by the courts in lawsuits involving employment discrimination. In my next column, we’ll dig into standards of proof. Stay tuned! DISCLAIMER: This information does not constitute legal advice for your specific case and does not establish an Attorney-Client relationship. You should consult an Attorney. The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Education does not certify attorneys as specialists in Employment Law. This article is an Advertisement for Attorney branding and marketing purposes. Attorney Myra Hamilton is duly licensed to practice law in Tennessee, on the EEOC Attorney Referral List and has been consistently and consecutively since 20ll listed as a POWER PLAYER among Employment Attorneys by Inside Memphis Business Magazine as well as maintain an excellent rating by as an Employment Attorney. She is a Top North American Professional selected by American Registry, listed as a Woman to Watch by Memphis Magazine. She can be reached by phone at 901 471-3242 or via email [email protected]