As Seen In: River City Lifestyle Magazine

River City Lifestyle has named Ballet Memphis President & CEO Gretchen Wollert McLennon one of "Five Inspiring Women Creating A Better Future for Memphis." She has been recognized for the time and effort spent making Memphis a better city through the arts, bringing her education and experiences home to the city she loves.

Read Gretchen's full interview with River City Lifestyle Magazine here:

Wonder Women


As a high school student at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Gretchen was a member of the Ballet Memphis company. After earning degrees at Northwestern and Wake Forest and spending many years in the non-profit world, Gretchen joined the Board of Ballet Memphis before being named president and CEO. Her appointment coincided with the beginning of the pandemic, a challenge she embraced with the belief that “when nothing is certain, anything is possible.”

​Gretchen Wollert McLennon, President and CEO
While dance and music are the soul of the ballet, we want to be aspirational and accessible.

It was a perfect time to reposition Ballet Memphis. “While dance and music are the soul of the ballet,” she says, “we want to be aspirational and accessible.” She has sought out fresh new energy and incorporated popular music and a little funk into the company while always maintaining their values of excellence, belonging, authenticity and joy.

Building an audience is an ongoing challenge. Her team is constantly working to cultivate the next generation of arts patrons by being more reflective of the Memphis community in their productions. The new building has been critical to that end as have partnerships with other creative institutions like the Stax Music Academy.

Article by Margaret Ledbetter
Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography