Ten questions for... W. Imara Canady
Name: W. Imara Canady
Age: 39 (though very few actually believe me)
Neighborhood: Grant Park
Occupation: Vice President for Programming & Strategic Partnerships, National Center for Civil and Human Rights (breaking ground in October of this year)
1. How long have you lived in Atlanta?
I have lived in Atlanta since the late 70s.
2. In one sentence, tell us the best thing about your job.
Convening diverse individuals and organizations to develop collaborative initiatives and programs that have a powerful impact on our community and result in people thinking differently about our global civilization.
3. What's one thing that's changed about the city that you wish hadn't?
Atlanta is growing at such a rapid pace, and every day I worry about our collective community support around preserving the rich history of our city. We are a city that builds up the new but rarely preserves the richness of the historical aspects of our city, be they historical buildings, landmarks, or neighborhoods.
4. What phone app can't you live without?
Fandango (I am a huge movie buff) and the Facebook app (I have grown to truly appreciate the possibilities that Facebook offers).
5. 404, 770, or 678?
I believe that Atlanta is truly growing as a regional community, and I appreciate that. But I was raised, educated, and live ITP, so I am very much a 404 kind of guy (though I do have a 770 cell number).
6. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, WSB-TV, or Twitter?
There is a definite tie for this category. For details on the local community, there is no better place to turn than WSB-TV, for extensive coverage. For information on national and global issues, there is no network I rely on more than Atlanta's own CNN. I also have to say that I am a strong supporter of both of these networks because of their commitment to supporting the community in which they reside—Atlanta!
7. Best spot for a business lunch?
My answer to this is VERY neighborhood driven:
-If the meeting is in Midtown, then I must support my new favorite spot, Chow Baby on Ponce de Leon.
-If the meeting is Downtown, then I will definitely go to the new Cafe Intermezzo by the Margaret Mitchell Library.
-If the meeting is in Southwest Atlanta, then I only go to Landon's on Cascade.
-If the meeting is in Buckhead, then I usually go to an off-the-beaten-path spot called Little Bangkok.
-And if it just doesn't matter, then I am off to Nan.
8. What's your commute like?
Ten minutes from door to door. It is why I live in the Grant Park community.
9. What's the city's worst enemy?
I think the city has three big enemies:
-An inefficient transportation system.
-The burden of being the capital city of a state that has political leadership that generally does not fully understand the importance of the arts to our overall quality of life and as a major economic generator for both its capital city and the greater state of Georgia.
-A city-wide and a state-wide public education system that has failed the very constituency it serves, our children—the future of America.
10. In one sentence, describe your vision of Atlanta in a decade from now.
A decade from now, I see an Atlanta that has the ongoing development of a strong regional transportation system, a revived public education system, and a thriving arts and cultural community and is ranked in the top 10 percent of best-in-class cities because we once again are the place for folks of all backgrounds to come to live, work, play, and be inspired to fulfill their every dream.
Bonus: Is there anything else you think we should know or would find interesting?
Most folks think that my professional career started in politics, having worked for the last few mayors and for Al Gore, but I actually started in radio, having worked at Power 99 FM and Z-93 when they were both Top 40 stations, and still get the joy of working in the field of my first love (broadcast journalism) as an Emmy Award–winning producer for the public affairs show In Contact, which airs every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on WPBA-Public Broadcasting Atlanta.