published Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Business Digest: Hays is social tour CEO in Mumbai

Hays is social tour CEO in Mumbai

Reality Tours & Travel in Mumbai, India, a social tour operator managed by Chattanooga native Stephanie Hays, was nominated for a People’s Choice Award at the 2013 World Responsible Travel Awards in London.

Reality Tours & Travel operates a number of city tours throughout Mumbai which aim to show travelers a unique side of the city that would be difficult to find in travel guidebooks. Its signature tour, a two-and-a-half hour walking tour of Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, aims to change the way people think about underprivileged communities by showing the dignity, fortitude and enterprise of the community, according to the company.

Eighty percent of the profits of all of Reality’s tours are used to fund its sister entity, Reality Gives, which runs and supports various social development projects and micro-enterprises in the field of education, livelihood as well as environment and health.

Hays moved to Mumbai last January to take on the role of CEO and expand the business.

“I love living in Mumbai and my position at Reality Tours & Travel because I get to work in the field of tourism and know that it’s for a good cause. We can actually create a change for the communities we work in, which, unfortunately, is rare for many other tourism activities,” said Hays, who recently completed a master’s in international tourism management and development in London.


Hutton hires Martin to real estate group

Kendall Martin has been added to the Hutton Co. real estate team as a senior real estate assistant, said Derek Jones, vice president of real estate at Hutton.

Martin graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and has more than 10 years of legal assistance experience. Her most recent work experience has included extensive real estate assistance both legally and administratively. Kendall has worked for several local law firms and for a large development company before coming to Hutton.

“Kendall has all the skills required to provide high level legal and administrative assistance to Hutton’s management team,” Jones said.


KMT expands professional team

KMT Creative Group expanded its professional team with the hiring of senior art director Colin Cady.

He brings more than 20 years of design and creative experience to the KMT team.

Founded in 2001, KMT is a full-­service brand strategy agency. It provides a broad range of marketing, advertising and public relations services.


DiDonato, Griffith join mortgage center

Sue DiDonato and Brian Griffith have joined First National Community Bank’s mortgage center in Dalton, Ga., said Laurice Tatum, chief executive.

DiDonato is a 1978 graduate of Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Ga., and has completed a number of courses offered by the American Institute of Banking as well as mortgage seminars. She brings to FNCB Mortgage more than 13 years of lending experience.

Griffith earned his associate of science degree in industrial management from Chattanooga State Community College in 1989 and later completed his bachelor of science degree in organizational management from Covenant College. Most recently, he was affiliated with Hometown Lenders in Chattanooga.


Parker named to Alabama board

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Tim Parker III, from Tuscaloosa, to the nine-member board of the Alabama State Port Authority. Parker’s five-year term became effective on August 1. Parker is a member of the board representing the central region in Tuscaloosa.

Parker, a UTC graduate, is president of Cargo Handlers Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Parker Towing Co. He joined Parker Towing Co. in 2005, a marine transportation company headquartered in Tuscaloosa.

He also served as a sales representative and director of sales and terminal services before his current position. He serves on Parker Towing Co.’s Board of Directors.


Brown picked to Chairman’s Club

Chattanooga-based financial adviser Mike Brown was recognized for his performance and client service by Raymond James & Associates Inc. Brown, managing director and senior vice president of investments, was named a member of the firm’s 2012 Chairman’s Club.

Raymond James’ Chairman’s Club is the firm’s highest honor given to financial advisers recognizing their accomplishments and service to their clients over the calendar year.

Brown, working with his partner and wife, Debbie Clifford Brown, focus on retirement planning, tax advantaged investing and investment management. Their combined investment industry experience exceeds 50 years.

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