Tiffanee McDaniel joined Synovus in 2015 and currently serves as a learning specialist, helping team members navigate their new roles. Despite her senior role, the Columbus, GA native fondly remembers her fateful beginnings in banking. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of West Georgia, Tiffanee struggled to find a job in her field. “One day I stumbled into the lobby of a regional bank to make a deposit for the company I worked for, and they basically hired me on the spot,” she reminisced. “They were short-staffed and needed help immediately. I had no experience in banking, but I could manage a cash drawer and I was very teachable. That is the key… is to be teachable.”
“I am a wife, bonus mom, driven leader, and passionate advocate for the underserved in our community.”
Along with her professional achievements, Tiffanee describes herself as “a wife, bonus mom, driven leader, and passionate advocate for the underserved in our community.” She is an active member of United Way Emerging Leaders and Women United, and a board member for Home for Good, Urban League of Greater Columbus Young Professionals (ULGCYP), Standing Against Violence Education (SAVE), Girls Inc., and Fourth Street Daycare and Academy. “I love helping others. That is one of my life’s missions, to make our community better for the future,” she said.
Q: What are your hobbies and interests when you aren’t serving our community?
A: “I am a huge Auburn, Duke, and Atlanta Falcons fan. I can easily be found rooting my teams on every weekend during football and basketball season. When I am not watching football or serving our community, I am catching up on my crime shows and classic shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Matlock. I have also grown to love camping or ‘glamping,’ as we call it. I was never a fan of the outdoors, but it has grown on me when you camp in an Alpha Wolf Camper.”
Q: What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
A: “When I was in the 3rd grade, I had surgery to have a little piece of skin cut from under my tongue. This piece was holding my tongue down to the bottom of my mouth and it wouldn’t allow it to move freely. Until this time, I was very shy and did not talk much because I had a slight slur and stutter. Most people do not believe that now because of the person I have grown into, but it is very much true. Once I had that surgery, it was only up from there and I have been going full speed since then.”
Q: Who helped you realize you had greater potential?
A: “As for my professional life at Synovus, I am thankful for Carolynn Obleton and Stephanie Lee who were the first to give me a chance as a relationship banker. They saw more in me than I saw in myself, and I was quickly promoted to assistant branch manager after six months. I knew I was a natural born leader, but I had never been given the opportunity to help lead a team in that capacity. I have always been a leader amongst my peers, but Jolene Wirth gave me that chance to lead from the front. This is what catapulted my career at Synovus, and I will always be thankful for all three of these powerful women.”
Q: Have you had any female mentors? What were they like?
A: “Yes, all my mentors have been powerhouse females at the top of their game. I also have a starting five, which is a group of like-minded individuals who are driven leaders. I believe in surrounding myself with people in different fields because even though the work may be different, our experiences are usually similar. My most influential mentors have all been at Synovus.”
Q: What did these mentors teach you?
A: “They taught me that I need to bring my authentic self to work and how to find my voice again.”
Q: How do you currently apply those lessons?
A: “I used to try hard to fit in and be someone that I was not. I know that I naturally talk loudly, but why should that be seen as a bad thing? Yes, I have a lot of energy and that is okay. This loud voice has been in many rooms where many thought I shouldn’t be. Now, when I walk into places, they say, ‘We knew that was you coming’ and I love it. It’s just me!”
Q: What are some lessons you aspire to teach other women in your field and social circle?
A: “I want to teach them that women who look like me can succeed in a male-dominated industry, and to never give up on your dreams. You must put in the work, and you will always reap the benefits. Also, remember that a ‘no’ can sometimes mean, ‘not yet.’ Keep going. Don’t be afraid to make yourself seen; networking is very important. Bring your own style to everything that you do. Embrace feedback and ask questions.”
Q: How does it feel to be a woman in your field?
A: “It feels amazing! I want to show women that they can do and be anything that their heart desires when they put in the work. It’s simple as that. I came to Synovus only knowing one or two people. I just knew that I wanted a change and to make a name for myself. Now, I am being invited to meetings and asked to contribute to projects like this and I am truly honored. I love Synovus and I am thankful for all the opportunities.”