THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING ABLE TO HAVE DREAMS, IDEAS AND GOALS COME TO FRUITION, IS THE CORE OF WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE BECAUSE OF THE FREEDOMS THAT ARE OURS IN AMERICA.

- Denise Burnett Stewart

SMALL BUSINESS DRIVES THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. IT THRIVES AND SURVIVES NO MATTER WHAT MAY BE GOING ON IN THE MAIN ECONOMY.

- Dick Gadomski

UNLESS WE PROMOTE ENTREPRENEURSHIP, WE WILL NOT HAVE AN EXCITING BUSINESS ATMOSPHERE IN OUR COUNTRY.

- Allen B. Morgan, Jr.

Susan Stephenson

Independent Bank
Co-Founder and Co-Chairman

Chip Dudley and Susan Stephenson are the Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen of Independent Bank in Memphis, Tennessee. Established in 1998, Independent Bank now has over $800 million in total assets and over $100 million in capital. It is the second largest bank headquartered in Shelby County with 10 branches and 180 employees.

Stephenson and Dudley have forged a remarkable and unique synergistic partnership. Both strong leaders in their own right, each believes their partnership is the reason Independent Bank has been so successful. Together they designed and executed the unusual denovo strategy to build and position I-Bank as the next great Memphis based banking organization. This year, Independent Bank was recognized by SNL Financial as one of the top 100 community banks in the United States based on its growth, superior profitability, excellent asset quality and strong capital position.

Prior to starting Independent Bank, Chip Dudley was Chairman, President and CEO of Boatmen’s Bank of Arkansas, the largest bank in the state. He was named to this position after producing extraordinary performance results in the same role for the bank’s Tennessee operation. Susan Stephenson was the Chairman, President and CEO of Boatmen’s Bank of Tennessee. When named to the position in 1995, the 37-year-old Stephenson was the first female Chairman and CEO of a Tennessee bank.

Based on their lifelong commitment to improving the communities where they live and work, both Susan and Chip have served on and led numerous civic organizations in Tennessee and Arkansas. Stephenson is past Board Chair and member of the Executive Committee and Board of the New Memphis Institute, a past Chair and member of the Executive Committee and Board of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Treasurer and Trustee of historic Elmwood Cemetery, a member of the Baptist Women’s Hospital Advisory Board, and a member of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board. Dudley has served on numerous boards in both Tennessee and Arkansas and is currently serving as the Board Chair of the Family Safety Center, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Description of Business:

Commercial bank providing a complete line of financial services in Shelby County with a niche in automobile lending throughout the Southeast.

Year Business Founded:

1998

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship:

“‘Entrepreneurs power this nation’s free enterprise system through their willingness and ability to connect ideas to action and dreams with implementation—creating jobs and prosperity in the process. Successful entrepreneurs see both opportunity and risk with equal clarity—they just choose to embrace the opportunity.”