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BlueCross taps Mitchell to head service operations

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has promoted Carol Mitchell to director of service operations for membership administration.

She will lead teams responsible for member and group enrollment processes, including issuing employer contracts, member policies and ID cards, and managing billing and collection.

"Carol has taken increasing responsibility in her drive to provide excellent customer service," said Maria Darras, vice president of BlueCross commercial operations. "She makes our customers the primary focus of everything she does."

Mitchell joined BlueCross in 1989. She served most recently as manager of performance optimization, overseeing process improvement for member benefits and managing training and development for new employees in claims and customer service. She's also been a project manager and operations manager.

Mitchell has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Bryan College.

Southern Lit Alliance hires new director

Lynda LeVan has been named executive director of the Southern Lit Alliance.

Levan graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and spent the past seven years as director of external affairs at Creative Discovery Museum and 10 years as executive director at Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, now known as Breast Cancer Support Services.

"Like many I have a life-long love affair with books and am passionate about inspiring lives with the uplifting power of the written word," LeVan said. "Arts have been a big part of my childhood and life. The opportunity to study dance, music and painting helped me develop self-confidence and creativity. All children deserve these opportunities to develop through the arts.

Founded in 1952, the Southern Lit Alliance engages audiences through innovative literary arts experiences and educational enrichment in local schools and underserved communities in Chattanooga.

Rainer, Wright join Oaklyn Consulting

Former equity trader Jack Rainer and business owner Chris Wright have joined the financial consulting firm Oaklyn Consulting in Chattanooga.

Wright was founder of Foci Cognitive Training, a health care services company, and previously worked in business development for New Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in Birmingham and Dallas, as well as RLR Partners, an executive search firm serving Fortune 500 companies.

Wright received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Rainer, most recently, was a recruiter with Career Personnel Service Inc. and previously worked as an institutional equity trader at Morgan Keegan & Co. in Memphis. He received a bachelor's degree from Auburn University and a master's in business administration from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.

Frank Williamson, founder of the consulting firm, said Rainer and Wright will help business owners use financial analysis to navigate strategic issues and challenges.

"Chris's experience in executive recruiting, private equity and owning a business have provided him a keen sense of 'what good looks like' when companies are approaching investors," Williamson said. "Jack's experience as an equity sales trader provided him with very good sales and client services habits, which will help us be more responsive to business owners and professionals needing our help."

Oaklyn Consulting was founded in 2016 to help small and mid-sized companies with thoughtful merger, acquisition and capital-raising advice.

Buchanan finalist for military award

Chattanooga law firm Dale L. Buchanan & Associates, P.C. has been named a Freedom Award finalist for its support of military employees' service.

This year's finalists for the Department of Defense's highest employer award, the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, was selected from a list of 3,064 nominations submitted by guardsmen and reservists. This year's group of 30 finalists represents large and small employers from almost every industry, as well as from state and local governments.

Bowra named VP of operations at NetGain

NetGain Technologies has named Jason Bowra as the first-ever vice president of operations. Bowra will helm the 95-member operations staff based in NetGain's Lexington, Ky., headquarters and branch offices in Louisville, Ky.; Cincinnati; Birmingham; St. Louis; Chattanooga and Little Rock, Ark.

In Bowra's nearly 30 years in the technology industry, he has worked at large companies including CDW, Logicalis, E.W. Scripps and Fifth Third Bank.

Kliger is Chattanooga Food Bank coordinator

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank has hired Ella Kliger as an agency relations coordinator to oversee partner agency relations in 10 rural counties of Southeast Tennessee.

A native of Massachusetts, Kliger graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and political science from Tulane University. She joins the food bank with more than six years of industry experience, serving as the Western Outreach specialist for MANNA Food Bank in Asheville, N.C.

Kliger will be assuming the service area formerly managed by Laura Kilpatrick, who was recently promoted to the director of agency and government relations for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

Reliance Partners adds Copeland

Reliance Partners has expanded its leadership team with the addition of veteran insurance professional Stephen Copeland as senior director of customer service.

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Copeland previously worked as the commercial lines manager of Southern Financial Insurance Group in Tallahassee, Fla., and in the direct writing market space for Sentry Insurance Co. He also has experience at Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn insurance as producer, personal lines manager, and marketing director and also as an independent agent specializing in farm insurance.Copeland earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Georgia.

Ward heads Vision revenue management

Vision Hospitality Group has named Jody Ward as vice president of revenue management.

Ward oversees the company's corporate revenue team in analyzing and creating initiatives to increase profitability and is responsible for the company's portfolio-wide strategy.

He has 15 years of experience in hotel revenue management.

"Jody's experience in hospitality is diverse, with positions at the property level, corporate level and even third-party booking sites," said Reggie Piercy, Vision's senior vice president of operations. "His experience gives Vision both a macro and micro perspective of the revenue management space, which will help drive both our strategy and execution of maximizing revenue."

Siskin therapist earns top-level certification

Michelle Allyn, a physical therapist at Siskin Hospital, recently passed the Certified Orthopedic Manipulative Therapist (COMT) exam "with distinction." This is the top level of manual certification awarded by the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy. Allyn leads Siskin Hospital's Outpatient Orthopedic Program.

Business News is published each Sunday. Send information about new hires, promotions and business awards to onthemove@timesfreepress.com.

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