From St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the National Civil Rights Museum, Judith Black-Moore’s career has been on the move. Over the years, Moore has played a significant part in the growth and development of Memphis, shaping the city for the better.
Along with managing communications efforts across the city, Moore has also been a single mom, which leads her to her latest endeavor. Moore now serves as the President of the Tarik Black Foundation, founded by her son, Tarik Black, who has played basketball for big-name teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, University of Memphis and Kansas Jayhawks.
The Collierville Chamber of Commerce sat down with Moore to talk about everything from her greatest career challenges to what it’s like to have your son as your boss.
Chamber: Before starting the Tarik Black Foundation, you headed communication efforts at places like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the National Civil Rights Museum, International Paper and Memphis Light Gas and Water. What career accomplishments stand out to you the most?
Moore: I was shaped by every single one of those experiences. International Paper took me from Memphis to Massachusetts, which was significant to my career. Coming back to Memphis, my public works experience gave me a deeper insight into the diverse people, mindsets and communities that make up Memphis. Finally, my time with nonprofits like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital allowed me to contribute to causes greater than myself.
Chamber: On the flip side, what have been some challenges in your career?
Moore: When my sons were children, I was juggling career and parenting responsibilities, having to make decisions about moving a young family from Memphis to Massachusetts and then to Atlanta. That was an extremely challenging period. At many points in my career, I have been the only woman or African American in the department. With that sometimes came the challenge of representing a point of view or getting my different point of view heard and acted upon.
The Tarik Black Foundation has been my latest career challenge. I am not just responsible for one department or aspect of an organization, but I’m held accountable for it all.
Chamber: Did you always know you wanted to launch a nonprofit like the Tarik Black Foundation, or was that an unexpected career twist?
Moore: No, but when I became a divorced mother of three sons, who were so different and required unique support and guidance, I started feeling a calling to find ways of uplifting youth. Tarik actually decided long before he signed his first contract that he wanted to give back to youth in Memphis. So these two aspects just came together.
Chamber: Three of the foundation’s focuses are health awareness, global awareness and technology impact. How did that come into play during COVID-19?
Moore: When we canceled in person programs, we turned to the growing relationships in Israel that Tarik was making as a Euroleague player. In 2020, technology made it possible to collaborate with overseas organizations to pilot programs. The first was the Global Sports Tech Youth Challenge in November in which Memphis youth and youth in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv competed in creating sports tech innovations. The second is the Global Social Justice program in which Memphis students and international students collaborated for three months to learn about social justice. With success in piloting these two programs, they will now be annual activities.
Chamber: What’s starting a nonprofit with your son like?
Moore: It’s an interesting experience to have your son as your boss. It’s the best, and the colliding of two worlds. I get a firsthand experience of what he is as a leader, while also imparting wisdom to support his development leadership. Our bi-generational perspectives make for some interesting conversations and debates, but in the end, it all comes together and what you see most often is the meshing of both ideas.
Chamber: Is there any advice or motto you live your life by?
Moore: If you wait to get all of your ducks in a row, you’ll never cross the street. That describes how we have moved forward in this journey to create and grow the Tarik Black Foundation. More times than not, in taking on this venture, we have envisioned the “what” but not the “how” – especially with COVID-19. I’ve learned, however, to keep moving forward. Somehow, with this way of thinking, we manage to continue growing and providing transformational experiences for youth.
Chamber: What are three things in life you love?
- My morning walks
- Hangouts out with my little grandkids
- Traveling the world
Judith Black Moore will be joining the Collierville Chamber for its February Women’s Leadership Network. Learn more and sign up here.