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VOL. 45 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 19, 2021

Connell named fellow for two attorney groups

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Virginia (Ginger) J. Connell has been accepted as a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and the Nashville Bar Foundation.

IAFL is a worldwide association of practicing lawyers who are recognized by their peers for their experience and expertise in family law. Membership is by invitation.

IAFL was formed in 1986 as the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers to improve the practice of law and administration of justice in the area of divorce and family law throughout the world. The USA Chapter currently has more than 370 Fellows from 39 states. Connell is one of just six fellows in Tennessee.

Connell also has been inducted as a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. The Nashville Bar Foundation Fellows Program was established as a way for the bar to honor its colleagues who have contributed significantly to the community. Fellows are selected by their colleagues. Each “class” of fellows is limited to approximately 2% of the bar in Nashville.

Connell earned her J.D. from Nashville School of Law in 2010. She is a 2005 cum laude graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University with a B.A. in management and human relations. Before completing law school, Connell was a paralegal for 12 years, including two years as a paralegal for Child Support Services of Davidson County.

Mercer joins Kraft leadership as member

Spencer Mercer is the newest member at KraftCPAs PLLC, where he joins a team of 17 other partners at the 63-year-old certified public accounting firm.

Mercer began his accounting career at Kraft’s Nashville location in 2009, shortly after earning his master’s degree in accounting at the University of Tennessee. He joined the firm’s Chattanooga team in early 2021 following Kraft’s acquisition of Matheney Stees & Associates the previous year.

Mercer works extensively in the construction and manufacturing, wholesale and distribution industries with a focus on tax planning, consulting and compliance.

Wright to be inducted into Nashville Business HOF

Pamela Wright has been named the 2021 JA Nashville Business Hall of Fame laureate by Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee. This distinguished annual event recognizes Nashville’s outstanding contributors to business and philanthropy.

Wright was selected by Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee and past laureates for her achievements in both entrepreneurship and business leadership in the Nashville area. She was honored at Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee’s Nashville Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Nov. 17 at the Music City Center.

Previous inductees include Darrell Freeman, former Gov. Bill Haslam, John Ferguson, Marty Dickens, Amy Grant, Jack Bovender Jr., Rob McCabe, Mark Emkes, Hal Pennington, Ron Samuels and Joe Scarlett.

In 1981, she founded the Wright Travel Agency, which has grown to be one of the largest travel agencies in the U.S. The company was named to the Inc. 500 list of the 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Wright currently serves as the president of Wright Airport Business Center and the managing partner of Wright Development.

In 2017, Wright was appointed by Gov. Haslam to the first board of trustees for Middle Tennessee State University and pledged to establish the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship at MTSU. She is also a member of the 2009 class of Tennessee’s “Women of Influence.”

Cable to host 2021 Board Walk of Fame

Nashville Cable, a diverse network of professionals dedicated to the professional development and advancement of women, will honor six women who have served on corporate boards along with two corporations during the 2021 Cable Board Walk of Fame Nov. 12.

The online event, presented by Amazon and Meharry Medical College, will feature a keynote address from Dr. Valerie Montgomery-Rice, president of Morehouse School of Medicine.

The 2021 Board Walk of Fame honorees are:


• Cindy Kent, Accolade

• Deborah Varallo, Wilson Bank & Trust

• Ivanetta Davis Samuels, Amedisys, Inc.

• Marlee Mitchell, First Farmers & Merchants Bank

• Meg Crofton, HCA Healthcare

• Stacey Garrett Koju, INSBANK


• FirstBank

• International Paper

Cooley Public Strategies adds Clelland, Lamar

Cooley Public Strategies has added Amanda Clelland as director of communications and Ann Morgan Lamar as an associate.

Clelland is a veteran of Metro government and served as public information officer of WeGo Public Transit since 2017 before joining the Land Trust for Tennessee. She also served as communications coordinator for the Tennessee State Employees Association 2011-2016.

Lamar graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2021 with a Masters of Public Policy, and has experience conducting research in both the private and public sectors.

As director of communications, Clelland will work directly with clients to craft and execute communications plans, react to ongoing needs and work one-on-one with reporters at the local, state and national level. Lamar will assist with research and policy needs for clients ranging from health care to land use and energy to environmental.

Clelland is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, where she earned a degree in English literature & writing. She also has a master’s in communications from Southern New Hampshire University.

Lamar holds a degree in public policy from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Public Policy from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.

Tennessee Animal Health names program director

The Animal Health Division of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has named Dr. Alexa McCourt, D.V.M., as director of the One Health program.

One Health is a collaborative effort among veterinarians, physicians, environmental scientists, public health professionals and others to address health challenges that affect people, animals, plants and the environment. McCourt will oversee the department’s role in improving communication and outcomes for a variety of health concerns, including emerging infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance and emergency preparedness.

McCourt will act as a liaison with other One Health partners, including the Tennessee Departments of Health and Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, academic institutions and extension services.

McCourt joined the Department of Agriculture in March as a staff veterinarian responsible for engaging with stakeholders regarding animal health in Tennessee, planning for animal-related disasters and emergencies, collaborating to implement state animal health programs, monitoring animal regulatory issues and movement and developing outreach resources for livestock health and welfare.

McCourt earned her animal science degree and her DVM from Cornell University. Before moving to Tennessee, she was an associate veterinarian at Bovine Veterinary Services in Dexter, New Mexico.

Halls Chophouse taps Nashville leadership

Halls Chophouse, scheduled to open in 2022 in the Broadwest development at 1600 West End, has selected Chad Ellis as its general manager and Lee Spencer as executive chef.

Spencer, a Nashville native, has more than 20 years in the business and attended culinary school at The Art Institute of Atlanta.

Ellis has been in the restaurant industry for nearly three decades, previously serving as general manager, corporate executive chef and food and beverage director for several nationwide operations.

His list of restaurants includes The Capital Grille, New York City’s Serendipity 3, Roy’s in Dallas and Lyons Group Entertainment.

The duo will be overseeing 2,500 square feet of patio dining and 10,000 square feet of interior dining, including several private dining rooms and classic and comfortable bars.

Cromwell Media owner voted No. 1 radio leader

Bud Walters, owner of Cromwell Media, has been named No. 1 leader in radio by his peers in Radio Ink magazine’s 2021 Top 20 Leaders List.

Walters founded Cromwell in 1969 with the formation of a single station in Hawesville, Kentucky. Over the years, Cromwell has grown to a family of 31 stations, with corporate offices in Nashville. The company manages affiliates operating six AM and 25 FM stations in six markets.

Key is now senior VP for ReVida Recovery

Lindsay Key, NCC, LPC-MHSP, has been named senior vice president of revenue and clinical operations at ReVIDA Recovery Centers.

Before joining ReVIDA, Key served as the vice president of revenue cycle for Constellation Behavioral Health, with a career focus on helping treatment centers integrate clinical and financial operations.

Key will oversee ReVIDA’s seven clinics spanning across East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than a decade of experience in revenue management for recovery and behavioral health facilities.

Key is a graduate of Belmont University and holds a degree in religion. She later earned a master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University.

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