Erika Lane, Senior Credit Officer
For Erika Lane, Senior Credit Officer in Athens, Ga., memories of summers in Mexico visiting her family really stand out. “Every summer, my family would fly to Mexico to my grandparents’ house,” she recalls. “We would spend a month there with all of my mother’s family, immersed in Mexican culture. My favorite was playing cards and learning to cook delicious food. I feel very fortunate to have experienced my family’s heritage firsthand, and for the values it instilled in me.”
Erika also loved that the neighboring grandchildren in Mexico were learning English, and she and her siblings would trade language back and forth with them. She says, “Growing up in the South and then going to Mexico gave me a better appreciation for different cultures and communities.”
One tradition passed along is the celebration of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), also known as All Saints Day. This is a Mexican holiday held on November 1st and 2nd to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. “My mother’s birthday is November 2nd, so she would always have a big All Saints Day celebration, and she shared that tradition with my kids,” Erika recalls.
“It's been great to see how Synovus has evolved and the parallel to the Hispanic heritage. Even with big changes like charter consolidation, branding, and deeper expansion into Florida, Synovus always remained committed to our customer covenant. They appreciated not all markets are the same just as Hispanic heritage shares common culture and traditions yet from diverse backgrounds.”
Now, her daughters are both nearby at the University of Georgia. She was thrilled to get a call from her oldest, whose non-Hispanic Texan roommate was familiar with the tradition. They previously hosted a big Día de Los Muertos celebration where everyone shared stories about the lives of loved ones that have passed away. “I never would have guessed this would be a tradition carried on,” says Erika. “It’s meaningful; these little things shared that carry on your heritage.”
This is especially meaningful to Lane because a large part of the Hispanic culture can be assimilation. “Sometimes heritage gets diluted so it’s nice to see when traditions carry on,” she says.
She wants the next generation of Hispanic-Americans to keep their culture in their fabric. “I’m a second-generation Hispanic,” she explains. “My mom was born in the United States. She kept traditions alive in ways that were important to her and our family. You can be raised in the South and still make some mean grits and enchiladas!” she says. “It’s about values and traditions of your heritage that are meaningful to you.” She plans on celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month the best way she knows how —“the communion of food with people I love.”
Erika has been with Synovus for 24 years and appreciates that her experience and heritage have always been acknowledged. As a bilingual international business major, she’s been an asset to the company from the beginning, but what she’s most grateful for is Synovus’ pioneering attitudes towards working women. “At the time my children were born, not many financial institutions allowed ‘flextime’ in production roles. So Synovus was supportive of my desire to achieve a work-life balance when my children were young.”
In her 24 years with the company, Erika says it’s been fantastic watching Synovus evolve. “I parallel Synovus to Hispanic heritage,” she explains. “Even with big changes like charter consolidation, branding, and deeper expansion into Florida, Synovus always remained committed to our customer covenant. They appreciated that not all markets are the same, just as Hispanic heritage shares common culture and traditions yet from diverse backgrounds.”
Since 2019, Erika has served as executive sponsor of Aquí Nos, Synovus’ Hispanic and Latino employee resource group. “I was thrilled when Michael Durroh, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director, asked me if I might be interested in working with the Aquí Nos,” she says. “He and I worked together previously when I was leading loan operations, and he was leading the call center—he didn’t realize that I identified as Hispanic. I told him that my mom still gets on me for being the only person she knows that has a Southern accent [when I speak Spanish]!”
It was natural for Erika to get involved with Aquí Nos. Serving her community is just another thing ingrained in her from her parents and her time at Synovus. “It goes back to the culture: being authentic, doing the right thing, and being a servant leader, not only to the company but your community.”