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‘Humbled, overwhelmed,’ Suggs is UNA Alum of the Year

FLORENCE – Stacy Suggs was born in Florence, graduated from then-Bradshaw High
School and the hometown University of North Alabama, currently lives in Tuscumbia and is an integral part of the Shoals community fabric.

The executive vice president-chief operating officer of Bank Independent, she also serves as president of the board to Safe Place, the only comprehensive domestic violence program offered in North Alabama.

For her lifelong commitment to the Shoals, Suggs has been named UNA’s 2023 Alumna of the Year. She was also spotlighted by the UNA National Alumni Association in May 2022 and is a member of the UNA Foundation Women of Influence.

“My first reaction when contacted about the award was a little emotional,” Suggs told 256today.com. “I was humbled, and in the moment, a little overwhelmed. It truly is an honor to be recognized by UNA for this award. My parents always stressed the importance of earning a college degree and being independent.

“My father had to leave college his second year at Florence State College (now UNA) and my mother never had the opportunity to attend. He worked and she was a stay-at-home mom bringing up five children. My dad always spoke in terms of ‘when you go to college …’ not ‘if you go to college’. So, when I think about this honor, I think about how instrumental UNA has been in my education, development, and my parents’ hopes for me.”

Suggs and her husband, Stuart, reside in Tuscumbia and have two children who graduated
from UNA: Spenser, 27, and Sydney, 24.

A graduate of the Class of 1990, Suggs will be honored Sept. 29 during the Homecoming Alumni Celebration. Macke and Kimberly Mauldin ’94, who are part of the Bank Independent founding family, are among those to be honored.

Suggs’ career with Bank Independent Bank spans three decades beginning in 1988. From her initial role as a proof operator, she moved into auditing, credit analysis, regulatory compliance, information security, and into her previous role as senior vice president of Risk Management, which she held from 2006-17.

“I don’t know if many people know about the connection between UNA and my career,’’ Suggs said. “While still a student, I took a role as a proof operator for Bank Independent, a local bank that often hires local students from UNA. They kept me on after graduation and provided me incredible opportunities to grow and learn.”

Meanwhile, serving with Safeplace is an important part of Suggs’ resume.

“With my foundation of family, education and work, I have been exposed to the benefits of
volunteerism and making a positive difference where I can,” she said. “Safeplace is an incredible organization with a very worthy mission to provide help to victims of domestic violence. This is a cause that makes a real positive impact and gives hope to people who feel hopeless. I’ve always been very passionate about the work of Safeplace.

“The help I can offer supports their efforts and allows me to give back to our community.”

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