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Senior Leadership Team

In keeping with his pledge to apply “new eyes to old problems,” Mayor Jim Strickland created a senior leadership team for the City when he was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2016. This team, patterned after a corporate “C-suite,” meets weekly to advise the mayor and tackle significant issues.

In addition to Mayor Strickland (bio), members include:

SHIRLEY FORD, Chief Financial Officer

Shirley was appointed by Mayor Strickland and confirmed by the City Council in January 2018 to serve as the City’s CFO. Prior to being named CFO, Shirley served as City comptroller for three years. She has served on the Pension Board, the Healthcare Oversight Committee, and the Pension Investment Committee. Shirley has more than 30 years of financial, accounting, and managerial experience. She is a certified public accountant and a certified municipal finance officer as designated by the state comptroller. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Memphis.

DOUG McGOWEN, Chief Operating Officer

A 26-year career Naval officer, McGowen most recently served as head of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team. In his Navy career, he was the commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington. McGowen is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute (B.S., civil engineering) and the Naval War College (M.A., national security).

JENNIFER A. SINK, Chief Legal Officer

Jennifer A. Sink was appointed Chief Legal Officer / City Attorney for the City of Memphis in January, 2020, after serving as the Deputy Director of the Legal Division.  As the Chief Legal Officer, she provides legal advice and counsel to the Mayor, divisions directors, and city officials on a broad range of legal matters and provides strategy and legal problem solving.  Ms. Sink manages over 60 employees in the Legal Division, which includes attorneys and employees of the claims, permits, risk management, and metro alarm departments.   Before joining the City’s legal division in 2016, she was a Shareholder at the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz.  Ms. Sink graduated cum laude from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2003, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the law review.  Ms. Sink was elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Memphis Bar Association in 2021, and will serve as the President in 2023. She is a Memphis Bar Foundation Fellow, and is an ethics panel hearing member for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

URSULA MADDEN, Chief Communications Officer

Ursula has led the creation of the City’s first Office of Communications and serves as the administration’s spokesperson. Prior to her service for the City, she was an Emmy award-winning journalist and the main co-anchor of WMC Action News 5.  Committed to serving the Memphis community, Ursula is on the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s Episcopal School for Girls and United Way-Mid-South. She is also a contributor to the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and Church Health, and has recently become a mentor for Streets Ministries. Ursula is also a member of the Shelby County Links Inc. She is blessed to have 20 years of marriage to her husband Bill, and they have a beautiful daughter, Laurel.

Chief Cerelyn CJ Davis, Police Chief


ALEX SMITH, Chief Human Resources Officer

Alex is the architect behind the mayor’s initiatives involving talent management, training, employee relations, compensation, benefits, and diversity initiatives. Prior to her service for the city, Alex was the Director of Human Resources for Brightstar Device Protection, a subsidiary of Brightstar Corporation, where she led key culture and organizational development projects. She has also served in HR management roles for industry leaders such as Target Corporation and Microsoft Corporation, building a career of being a strategic HR partner for key business leaders. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Economics, and earned a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. 

Maria Fuhrmann, Chief of Staff