Synovus Celebrates Diversity Month
2020 Inclusion & Diversity Report
Over the course of 2020, we collectively witnessed and experienced unprecedented global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and economic challenges. These events magnified our need both as a society and company to do more.
I&D efforts and initiatives have always been critical, but for 2020, a year that transformed our workplaces and how we connect, I&D was truly fundamental to our success. This year, we must continue to amplify our I&D actions and leverage our unique perspectives and backgrounds to better serve our team members, customers, and communities.
While we’ve made steady progress since forming our I&D program, more work needs to be done to increase women and people of color in leadership roles. To mature our efforts and shift from a position of listening and learning to a position of action and change, we must recruit and retain diverse talent and foster even more inclusive environments and behaviors.
Organizationally and individually, we must all continue to learn more, to have the difficult conversations, ask the hard questions, and face the answers with actionable solutions. We all play a role in advancing I&D, and when we make progress together, we build a better bank and stronger company.
We’re constantly maturing and developing our strategy and establishing a clear path for impactful change inside and outside our company, and as you read the highlights or this report, know we’re making steady progress and plan to continue driving our business forward using I&D as one of the catalysts.
Director, Inclusion & Diversity
Our goal is to move the visual needle and show measured evidence of our I&D commitment. Two specific areas of focus are increasing the representation of women and people of color in leadership roles.
Within our three-year strategic plan, we set a target of 40% of leadership-level roles for women and 15% for POC. We ended 2020 with significant improvement in both areas.
To create a workforce that is more accessible and equitable, we start with our talent. I&D plays a role in conversations that range from the substance and execution of our work to hiring practices and the creation of professional development opportunities.
Here are some of the key steps we’re taking to build a more diverse pipeline:
- We made a $1 million UNCF contribution to expand college opportunities for African American students. The fund will provide scholarships for African American students to attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions of higher education in our five-state footprint.
- Our campus recruiting efforts were expanded to include virtual events at Alabama A&M University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, and Bethune-Cookman University. We also attended the Atlanta University Career Consortium, which hosted students from Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University.
Latin American Association
- Continued partnership with the Latin American Association (LAA). The LAA provides an opportunity to focus on community, business development, and talent acquisition within the Latino community.
- We also participate in the LAA’s Unidos in Finance (UIF) program. The program includes 12 weeks of rigorous training to prepare selected individuals for careers in banking.
Influencing our culture takes time but will prove to be the most valuable aspect of our I&D initiatives. By continuing to lay a strong foundation and building on our values, we’ll create a learning environment where I&D is embedded in our culture.
Left-to-right: Bill Roach, African American Advisory Council (AAAC); Gloria Banks, AAAC; Robert Nobles, AAAC; Jennifer Pratt, Leadership Development; Sean Lee, Chair, Prism ERG; Dave James, Chair, African American ERG; Chrissy Capri, Chair, WISE ERG; Ash Serrano, Chair, Aquí Nos ERG; Gordon Bussey, AAAC; Jonathan Morrison, Chair, Veterans ERG
Our foundational initiatives to ensure I&D is embedded in our culture include:
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
- The groups are assisting with talent acquisition efforts, community outreach, team member development, and the establishment of both mentor and sponsorship opportunities, among other initiatives.
CEO African American Advisory Council
- The council works directly with the Chairman and CEO and the executive management team to assist with maintaining a pulse on Synovus’ current racial equity initiatives and presenting additional opportunities to advance diversity and inclusion efforts across our footprint.
Leadership Development Programs
- These programs include unconscious bias training, which will help our leaders continue to build more inclusive teams and environments.
Awards and Progress
- A diverse board of directors. Pedro Cherry, president and CEO of Atlanta Gas Light and Chattanooga Gas, was named to our board in September 2020. People of color comprise 25 percent of the Synovus board of directors, and 25 percent of the board is female.
- In August 2020, Forbes named Synovus one of America’s best employers for women. Forbes collaborated with market research firm Statista, surveying 75,000 Americans, including 45,000 women, working for businesses that employ more than 1,000 workers.
As we continue our I&D journey, we are committed to creating an environment that appreciates the individuality of all our team members and know that leveraging these differences is essential to our long-term success.
Diversity at Synovus
For us, diversity of perspective, thought, and experience drives better decisions and better business. We desire to signiﬁcantly elevate personal and company performance by cultivating a workplace where team members feel highly valued, as well as empowered and comfortable to bring their ideas, voice, and full selves to their roles.