125 N. Main St. Room 700 Memphis, TN 38103
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.
CERELYN “CJ” DAVIS
Cerelyn "CJ" Davis
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has over 35 years of experience in the law enforcement profession. Being focused on holistic interagency wraparound services and transformational policing for crime reduction, Davis’ research-driven work is strongly influenced by the practical application of the latest tools in technology, predictive policing, leadership development, and all-important community engagement.
She began her career with the City of Atlanta Police Department where she learned the importance of forging relationships with Atlanta’s diverse community. She was assigned to a variety of specialized assignments as a young patrol officer and quickly moved through the ranks working as an Investigator in Licenses & Permits, supervisor in Background & Recruitment, Special Victims, Executive Officer to the Chief, Public Affairs, Homeland Security & Organized Crime. As a Commander she led the Special Operations Section, which included SWAT, Mounted Patrol, Motors, Helicopter Unit, Vice & Narcotics, REDDOG Unit, all Federal Task Force Officers, HIDTA Task Force, Cyber Crimes, Gangs & Guns and the Surveillance Unit. In addition, she was the Internal Affairs Commander, Airport Section Asst. Commander, and served on Executive Loan as a Project Manager to the Mayor’s Office. After her promotion to Deputy Chief, she led the Strategies & Special Projects Division, overseeing the Department’s new Video Integration Center (VIC), a real time crime center where she ensured more than 3000 public and private sector cameras were included in the citywide network. Also, under her leadership was Planning & Research, Accreditation (CALEA), the Atlanta Police Leadership Institute (APLI), capital projects, facility improvements and more. Davis retired in June, 2016 to accept the position of Chief of Police for the City of Durham, NC. 2
As the Chief of Police, Davis made great strides towards improving the Durham Police Department’s outreach and crime reduction efforts by building trust between citizens and law enforcement, and fostering sustainable partnerships with key stakeholders.
In April of 2021, Chief Davis was selected by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland as the first female police chief for the Memphis Police Department. She was later confirmed by Memphis City Council in May and began her career as the Chief of Police for the Memphis Police Department on June 14, 2021.
Chief Davis is a graduate of the 225th Session of the National FBI Academy, and completed senior management training at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Boston, MA. Chief Davis has experienced training opportunities abroad at the Emergency Preparedness College in York, England, and as a participant in a leadership exchange session with the Israel National Police.
She is a past President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter of Police Reform, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. She has since been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and other networks as a subject matter expert on this important topic.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and was appointed to North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper’s Racial Equity in Criminal Justice Task Force.
Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and commendations, to include Atlanta Police Supervisor of the Year, and featured in OPRAH ‘O’ Magazine as winner of the “Women Rule” competition, where she was recognized for establishing a women’s mentoring initiative entitled, “Sisters-In-Law.” In 2013, she was featured in Atlanta’s Women Looking Ahead Magazine as one of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential Women.
Davis has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in General Administration. She is the proud wife of a very supportive husband (retired law enforcement) for 27 years, and mother of one daughter.
Chief Financial Officer
Shirley Ford was appointed as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Memphis in January 2018 after serving for three years as Comptroller for the City. As a member of the senior leadership team, Ms. Ford serves as a credible, knowledgeable, and trusted resource to the Mayor and other senior leaders in providing financial strategic leadership and ensuring proper enterprise fiscal management. As CFO she is responsible for the financial management of the entire organization, which includes budget analysis and management, bond issuance and debt management, financial modeling and reporting, capital project budgeting and reporting, cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs, accounting and treasury operations, investment strategies, and procurement. In addition to overseeing the audits of the City’s Retirement Fund and the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Fund, the CFO serves as the Chairperson of the City’s Pension Investment Committee overseeing more than $2 billion in investments, and the Chairperson of the quarterly OPEB meetings.
Her mission is to provide fiscal leadership, integrity, and superior finance services through prudent and efficient management of the City’s financial affairs. This includes offering quality, meaningful analyses, and financial perspectives necessary for enterprise decisions and strategic planning. The CFO also serves a non-voting member of the Sports Authority Board, a member of the local Tax Increment Finance Board, and a Review Committee Member for the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Ms. Ford holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Business from the University of Memphis, and has over 35 years of financial, accounting, managerial, and strategic planning experience.
She is recognized by the State of Tennessee as a Certified Public Accountant and carries the designation of Certified Municipal Finance Officer authorized by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, and is the sanctioned CMFO designee for the City of Memphis financial reporting. She is a member of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Government Finance Officers Association. Ms. Ford served on the Legislative Committee of the Tennessee Government Finance Officers Association, as Vice-President, and is the 2023 President of TGFOA. Ms. Ford also serves on the Executive Board of Directors of Leadership Memphis and as 2022 Chairman of the Board. Ms. Ford is a Board Member of Memphis Botanic Gardens and member of the Finance Committee, and she also serves on the U of M Fogelman College of Business and Economics Business Advisory Council. Ms. Ford is a participant of the City of Memphis “Mentor Memphis”, and served on the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Memphis United Way, United Way of the Mid-South campaign team.
Ms. Ford was identified by the Memphis Business Journal as one of the 100 most powerful people in Memphis business, and in 2019 as a CFO of the Year for a non-profit. In November 2022, Ms. Ford was selected as one of the 35 nationwide participants for the Government Finance Officers Association Leadership Academy.
Although not a native Memphian, Ms. Ford is a 42-year resident of Memphis and a life-long resident of Tennessee.
Chief Communications Officer
Allison Johnson Fouché has helped to shape the political landscape in Memphis through strategic marketing, adaptive planning, and the creation of effective messaging that resonates with constituents. A civil servant backed by over 20 years of experience, Fouché has worked in the office of four City of Memphis Mayors and has developed a reputation as a “straight shooter” who specializes in solutions.
Her hard work, relentless dedication, and sound decision-making have enabled her to climb the ranks to her current position as Chief of Communications. In this critical role, Fouché is tasked with branding City Government. Fouché is tasked with branding City Government, which consists of the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Business Diversity & Compliance, Police Services, Fire Services, Human Resources, Parks, and Memphis Public Libraries, to name a few. Humanizing government has been her goal, as she oversees and works with her team of marketing professionals to positively impact citizens’ ideas about government. With her strategic marketing, she has helped recruit over 800 officers for the Memphis Police Department with the cities’ Join MPD campaign.
She has also created other successful promotional campaigns that have garnered both national and statewide recognition such as 901 Counts Census 2020, Slow Down Memphis, I AM a Man, I Am Memphis MLK50 Commemoration. She also helped lead the communications for the COVID-19 pandemic as a member of the Memphis and Shelby County Joint Taskforce. Allison Fouché knows the secrets to marketing in the 21st century and understands the complexities of establishing and maintaining a brand in government and the corporate sector. Prior to her current position, she worked as Strategic Marketing Coordinator for Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW), Fouché has also worked as Community Affairs Manager for the City of Memphis, Communications Coordinator for The National Civil Rights Museum, and Internal Communications Manager for Chicago Public Schools.
Fouché’s career is built upon years of specialized training in the classroom, as she excelled on the academic stage as well. Her Master of Science Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (Magna Cum Laude) from West Virginia University and Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communications (Cum Laude) from Middle Tennessee State University have equipped her with the skills needed to adapt to the ever-changing world of marketing and communications, while consistently producing masterful results.
Some of Chief Fouche’s awards include: 2022 Woman of Impact, American Heart Association, National Association of Government Communicators 2019 Communicator of the Year, 2020 Silver Telly Winner for Local TV General-Public Service/PSA, 2015 American Public Gas Association Marketing and Sales Award, 2015 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Clean Air.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Fonda Fouché was recently named the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for the City of Memphis. She oversees Talent Management, Total Rewards, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Workplace Safety and HR Analytics and Performance. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Talent Management Officer and was responsible for recruitment, organizational development, career pathways and AmeriCorps Vista.
Ms. Fouché earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with a Minor in Business Administration, from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her career with the City of Memphis began shortly after graduation. A few years later, she also earned a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Ms. Fouché has served in city government for over 27 years and has served in several capacities with a particular focus on recruitment and retention.
Among her time at the City of Memphis, she spent 10 years with Police Services, handling employment functions, such as hiring, administering exams, serving on applicant review boards and more. And even in her most recent role as Talent Management Officer, she worked with other divisions to develop and implement effective hiring and retention strategies to ensure each division’s employment goals were met.
Ms. Fouché is a community-minded leader and has participated in programs such as Emerging Leaders and Leadership Memphis (2016). The consummate HR professional, she’s also a member of the International Public Management Association (IPMA), through which she is deemed a Senior Certified Professional, and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Most recently, she was appointed as an Advisor to the Customer Experience Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Chief of Staff
Maria Fuhrmann has served as Mayor Jim Strickland’s Chief of Staff since January 2020. Fuhrmann has served in several roles since she began her career with the City of Memphis in 2006, including Legislative Research Analyst for the Memphis City Council, Grant Coordinator for the Executive Division, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Strickland in 2019. She grew up in Murray, KY, and is a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has lived in her adopted hometown of Memphis, TN, since 1991. Says Fuhrmann: “I love the culture of Memphis – its music, food, outdoor spaces, architecture, neighborhoods, and most of all the people. Memphis has been very good to me. It is my honor to serve the City and help Mayor Strickland execute his vision for Memphis and provide support to our leadership team.”
Chief Operating Officer
Chandell Ryan became the first female Chief Operating Officer for the City of Memphis in 2022 and is responsible for directly managing and overseeing all city departments and related agencies. Prior to this appointment, Ryan served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer providing strategic day-to-day service delivery, resource allocation, and policy development for all City divisions. She became the first female Solid Waste Director (Interim) in 2021 while also serving as DCOO and she instituted new technology, route optimization, and on-the-job CDL and Picker Operator training to the Solid Waste team. As an 18-year veteran at City government, Ryan held a total of 8 various attorney, human resource management, and operations roles across 4 divisions, including her service as the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer where she launched the City’s overall D&I strategy. Her experience outside of City government includes general civil litigation, management, and human resources.
Ryan obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, in 2001. She is a New Memphis Leadership Development Intensive Alum (2017) and Leadership Memphis Executive Program graduate (2020). The Memphis Business Journal recently added Ryan to their 2023 Power100 list created for the most powerful people in Memphis Business. A native Memphian, Ryan is deeply involved in the Memphis community, serving on several boards including New Memphis Institute, Innovate Memphis, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Memphis Convention Center Commission, and the Tennessee Labor-Management Foundation.
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 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. 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. She graduated cum laude from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2003, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the law review. 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.
Gina Y. Sweat began her career as a firefighter with the Memphis Fire Department on May 26, 1992. She was promoted through the ranks of the department as a Driver, Lieutenant, Battalion Chief and Division Chief. Beginning in 2014, she assumed the duties of the Deputy Chief of Logistics and Deputy Director on an interim basis. Finally, on January 1, 2016, Gina was appointed by Mayor Jim Strickland as the Fire Chief for the Memphis Fire Department.
She earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Freed-Hardeman University in 1988 where she also played collegiate basketball. After joining the Memphis Fire Department, she continued her education by obtaining a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies in Fire Administration in 2000 and a Master’s of Professional Studies in Strategic Leadership in 2013, both from the University of Memphis.
During her tenure as Chief, the Memphis Fire Department has focused on initiatives to improve operations which helped raise their Insurance Services Office Public Protection Classification from a Class 2 to a Class 1. The department has developed the Healthcare Navigator Program intended to reduce the impact of non-emergent responses. The department focused on recruiting through youth programs such as HERo day, Shelby County Schools Grow Our Own, Fire Explorers, Fire Cadet and lateral hiring. She developed a facilities master plan that has resulted in multi-million-dollar renovations to the 911 Communications Center, the Office of Emergency Management building, 3 new state of the art fire stations and a new fire administrative building. Chief Sweat has focused on many health and safety issues including purchasing SCBA with built-in thermal imaging cameras, on-duty health physicals, multiple carcinogen reduction initiatives, therapy dog program, and an online therapy program. The Memphis Fire Department became the lead agency for COVID-19 vaccinations in Shelby County in 2021 facilitating the delivery of over 1 million doses. Chief Sweat contributes these successes and more to the dedicated members of the department who make a difference in the City of Memphis every day.