Julie Bennett, a Kingsport native and community leader, was elected by the Ballad Health Board of Directors as Senior Independent Director and Vice President.
Bennett replaces David Lester, of Bristol, Virginia, who has held the position since Ballad Health’s inception nearly five years ago.
“Our entire team is grateful for David’s nearly five years of dedicated service to Ballad Health as Senior Independent Director and Vice President,” said Alan Levine, President and CEO of Ballad Health.
The independent lead director provides advice and guidance to the CEO and ensures that the voices of the community are present and heard when the board considers decisions. During Lester’s tenure as senior director, Ballad Health saw its bond ratings rise, reaching the highest levels in the history of Ballad Health, Wellmont Health System or Mountain States Health Alliance, the rating agencies credit citing Ballad Health’s governance as a strength, although they acknowledge the quality of care has been maintained as Ballad Health has reduced the overall cost of care. Additionally, the board played a central role in ensuring that management had the resources and flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“This is a very complex and challenging time to keep hospitals and health systems running, given the combined effects of the pandemic, workforce shortages and challenges in delivering healthcare in the workplace. rural,” Levine said. “Good governance is key to ensuring that health systems can survive these headwinds. David’s experience and guidance has been essential to our entire team, and we are very grateful to him for agreeing to serve for as long as he has.
Lester served two full terms as senior director, the maximum allowed under Ballad Health’s bylaws.
Bennett’s tenure as Lead Independent Director and Vice Chairman officially began July 1.
Bennett is currently Vice President and General Counsel of Bristol Motor Speedway, a role she has held for more than 15 years. In this role, she oversees all legal matters impacting the highway and its programs, oversees all government and community relations, and assists with virtually all aspects of planning and training for the highway.
Prior to working with the speedway, Bennett spent 15 years as an associate at Hunter, Smith & Davis, where she represented and advised companies across the United States on general corporate matters and corporate relations. employees. National expert, Bennett is highly respected as a lawyer, receiving high Martindale-Hubbell peer-reviewed marks, including the highest mark for serving with very high ethical standards. Bennett was also the recipient of the Tennessee Bar Association President’s Distinguished Service Award.
Bennett, a 1985 graduate of Sullivan North High School, has made community service a priority. Prior to her appointment to the Board of Directors of Ballad Health, she served on the Board of Directors of the former Wellmont Health System, where she served as Vice President-elect and a member of the Executive Committee, Audit Committee and of the governance committee.
Bennett is a member of the First Broad Street United Methodist Church, where she volunteers her time as a general counsel for the church, in addition to her past service as chair of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of the Church. ‘church. She is currently a member of the Kingsport Economic Development Board and the Board of Trustees of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, as well as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Kingsport Chamber Foundation and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. In addition to devoting his time to these groups, Bennett served in dozens of other organizations in various capacities, many of which led to recognition; most recently as a graduate member of Leadership Tennessee.
“As someone whose parents regularly use our region’s healthcare system and who raised my own children here, the quality and accessibility of our healthcare system is very important to me,” Bennett said. “We are fortunate to have a team of caring professionals within Ballad Health, all of whom are deeply committed to caring for our patients as if they were our own family; and in many cases they are family. I am truly inspired by the work of our team and very grateful for the consistent and thoughtful leadership of each Board member. It’s not just my opinion that our governance has been effective – it’s the opinion of national rating agencies, each of which has independently observed Ballad Health’s professional and sound governance.
As Bennett assumes his responsibilities as Lead Independent Director for his two-year term, other executives have also been selected for the same term. David Lester was elected as Treasurer, replacing Gary Peacock, who has served as Treasurer since the inception of Ballad Health. Peacock’s term on the board expires in June 2023. Keith Wilson was elected as secretary, replacing Dr. Doug Springer, whose term on the board expires in June 2023. Scott Niswonger will continue as the at-large member of the Executive Committee.
“A lot of people don’t realize the selfless work of these board members,” Levine said. “They are unpaid and spend a huge amount of their time providing advice, fiduciary oversight and strategic decision-making. We are extremely grateful.
The Board of Directors is currently composed of:
• Alan Levine, President and CEO
• Julie Bennett, Senior Independent Director and Vice President
• David Lester, Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee
• Keith Wilson, secretary
• Scott Niswonger, Executive Committee Member at Large
• David Golden, Chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee
• Aldo Noseda, chairman of the innovation committee
• Dr David May, Chairman of the Quality, Service and Safety Committee
• Gary Peacock, former Treasurer
• Dr. Doug Springer, Chair of the Community Benefits and Population Health Committee
• Dr. Brian Noland, President of East Tennessee State University