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Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Chandell Ryan
Chandell Ryan, Esq.
Chief Operating Officer

Current Role

Chandell Ryan became the first female Chief Operating Officer for the City of Memphis in 2022 and is responsible for directly managing and overseeing all city departments and related agencies. Prior to this appointment, Ryan served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer providing strategic day-to-day service delivery, resource allocation, and policy development for all City divisions. She became the first female Solid Waste Director (Interim) in 2021 while also serving as DCOO and she instituted new technology, route optimization, and on-the-job CDL and Picker Operator training to the Solid Waste team. As an 18-year veteran at City government, Ryan held a total of 8 various attorney, human resource management, and operations roles across 4 divisions, including her service as the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer where she launched the City’s overall D&I strategy. Her experience outside of City government includes general civil litigation, management, and human resources.


Ryan obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, in 2001. She is a New Memphis Leadership Development Intensive Alum (2017) and Leadership Memphis Executive Program graduate (2020). The Memphis Business Journal recently added Ryan to their 2023 Power100 list created for the most powerful people in Memphis Business. A native Memphian, Ryan is deeply involved in the Memphis community, serving on several boards including New Memphis Institute, Innovate Memphis, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Memphis Convention Center Commission, and the Tennessee Labor-Management Foundation.

Ryan practiced general litigation for Spicer, Flynn and Rudstrom, PLLC, until she joined the City in 2003. During her 13+ year tenure with the City, she served in various roles including Assistant City Attorney, Senior Assistant City Attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer/Labor Relations Manager, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Senior Manager, and EDI Officer. In her role as EDI Officer Attorney, Ryan was responsible for diversity and inclusion strategy and programs, equal employment opportunity philosophy and policies, on-the-job injury program, civil service commission, employee and labor relations, corporate social responsibility, and the AmeriCorps VISTA program. The City of Memphis employs 7,500+ public servants and is associated with 13 labor organizations representing 20 bargaining units.

As the Human Resources Manager/Labor Relations with United Technologies at the Carrier Plant in Collierville for nearly 3 years, Ryan was responsible for all labor (union represented) and employee relations activities for 1,900+ employees; recruiting, training, responding to discrimination complaints; and assisting the leadership team in reaching business objectives through consultation, advice, and policy and procedure improvements.

Notable Achievements
  • Negotiated with labor organizations to create new impasse ordinance
  • Collaborated with Memphis Fire Division to develop an in-house paramedic school for firefighters
  • Designed and developed an in-house training program for wastewater operator to fill critical wastewater operator vacancies with multi-department team
  • Mayoral Commendation for work in merging departments in accordance with City Charter provisions
  • Received A.C.E. (Achieving Competitive Excellence) Gold status for the Carrier HR Department, the highest honor for having the highest levels of performance by cultivating a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Negotiated a new attendance policy with United Steel Workers to improve daily attendance
  • Created new medical leave infrastructure which advanced the culture by improving and clearly defining roles, processes, and tracking mechanisms which curtailed abuse
Professional Affiliations
  • New Memphis Institute, Leadership Development Intensive, Alumni
  • Tennessee Labor Management Foundation, Board Member