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VOL. 11 | NO. 22 | Saturday, June 2, 2018

First Horizon’s Flippin: $4B Initiative ‘Laser-Focused on Helping People’


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Since joining First Horizon National Corp. as executive vice president and chief communications officer in January, Candace Steele Flippin has met with community leaders and organizations to identify areas that are prime candidates for the bank’s recently announced Community Benefit Plan. This $4 billion, five-year initiative earmarks funds for small-business loans, home loans, and community development in low- to moderate-income areas within the bank’s footprint.

Candace Steele Flippin, the new chief communications officer at First Horizon National Corp., has been heavily involved in the rollout of the bank’s five-year, $4 billion Community Benefit Plan. (Memphis News/Houston Cofield)

“Our goal is to be able to make these funds available because we think they’re important,” said Flippin, who also has coordinated television appearances and other strategic communications to promote the Community Benefit Plan since joining First Horizon. “We’ve been very intentional about working with other organizations and asking them how we can be helpful. They’ve given us their insights, and we’ve carefully crafted this program to be able to do that.”

These organizations include not-for-profits with a focus on first-time homeownership, helping people repair their credit score, small and minority-owned businesses, and multifamily developments, according to David Popwell, chief operating officer of First Tennessee Bank, a division of First Horizon. According to Popwell, Flippin has been involved in the entire rollout of the initiative.

“First Tennessee has historically been a very community-oriented, philanthropic organization,” Popwell said. “As bankers and as a company, we believe that for our business and for our bank to thrive, our communities need to be strong.”

First Horizon acquired Capital Bank Financial Corp. last year, which expanded the bank’s footprint into eight states. Six community development managers work directly with community organizations and government officials to identify needs and implement the Community Benefit Plan across the company’s various markets.

Keith Turbett, community development manager for the West Tennessee area, sees this plan as aligning with a very exciting time in Memphis when revitalization projects are already happening. According to Turbett, initial planning for the initiative took place in the last half of 2017.

“This plan will span five years and is a big commitment,” he said. “I’m very impressed with Candace, with what she’s doing, and where she is taking the company.”

Flippin credits her parents with espousing community service and said she feels privileged to work for a company that believes strongly in helping communities thrive.

“What I’m most excited about with this plan is it’s an extension of what we’re already doing, but it’s laser-focused on helping people have greater financial success by giving them access to products and services,” she said.

Born in Memphis, Flippin moved to Michigan when she started grade school, but returned regularly through her teen years. She obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Johns Hopkins University, a doctorate in management at Case Western Reserve, and has spent a great deal of her professional career working with nonprofit organizations.

She credits much of her success to having great mentors, and believes in paying it forward through mentoring programs at First Horizon and her alma mater, Johns Hopkins.

Flippin has authored two books on workplace management, “Generation Z in the Workplace” and “Millennials in the Workplace,” and recently co-edited a special publication on Generation X for the American Society of Aging, which will be published this fall.

She sees Memphis as a destination for millennials and a top city for entrepreneurs.

“As I look at the landscape of what Memphis looks like Downtown, and knowing there is so much energy being infused into it, the programs that we have in place will give a broader cross-section of our community access, and that’s tremendous,” she said.

In celebration of the First Tennessee Foundation’s 25th anniversary in June, the bank will be launching a video contest with cash prizes. Flippin looks forward to continuing the bank’s history of giving and telling stories of individual success through initiatives like these.

“I believe that our commitment will continue to grow because it’s in our DNA,” she said. “I told my mom when I took this job, ‘You all left the South so that we could have better opportunity, and it’s wonderful that I get to come back to Memphis, where I was born, for the best opportunity of my career.’”

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