Synovus: A Career Conversation with Julia Allen

What motivated you to join Synovus?
I joined Synovus Bank because of the culture. Since my internship with the Bank in 2017, I saw how the people care about their clients, their community, and one another. I was lucky enough to work under strong women who made an impact in their careers in their long tenure with Synovus. I saw their growth within the company, their ability to learn and try new things, and have a successful career at the Bank. That motivated me to want to do the same!

How does Synovus convey to employees a sense of belonging?
We call each other team members, instead of employees, which I think is the first way we gain that sense of belonging with one another. We also emphasize our geographic model that supports our communities, internally and externally. In my Charleston market, we love to get lunch together, volunteer in our community like our quarterly litter pick up or doing happy hours at a local restaurant! When I worked in Atlanta, I was surrounded by multiple departments that comingled, collaborated, and interacted daily. It was not siloed, which gave me a sense of belonging to the whole organization not just my department. We also have Synovus-wide team member appreciation events that are held virtually. I love participating Kahoot trivia during these events and being on a Teams call with 100+ other team members. Nothing like a little friendly competition! Plus it is really fun to see team members from across the footprint. It makes the organization seem a little smaller.

In what ways has Synovus supported your professional development and growth?
Synovus has encouraged my professional development through my training in the Accelerated Bankers program, through monthly Synovus-wide events, and through my managers and mentors. In the AB Program, our fast-track training program for recent graduates, I gained soft and hard skills to prepare me for a career in the banking industry. We completed public speaking course with a trainer, learned about our DISC profiles, and met with senior level management from different departments across the Bank. We have monthly Power Banker Lunch Series which bring in an internal subject matter expert to speak on a topic. Each week, we have a dedicated hour for personal and professional development called MyTime. I use this time to catch up on Morning Brew, read white pages around the banking industry, or meet with my mentors!

In what ways are you supported in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
I am supported in maintaining a healthy work-life balance by taking time off, having the ability to work from home, and to be flexible in my schedule. I am encouraged to take time off and truly be unplugged. If I need to adjust my schedule for a doctor’s appointment, my manager is more than flexible with coming in late or leaving early. I am trusted to get my work done and manage my time. I see the same sentiment in other team members around the footprint.  I am currently in graduate school with tuition assistance from Synovus, so my manager is even more aware of the work-life balance I need. I have felt supported in maintaining a healthy balance at Synovus because of having a manager and team who care about me personally and professionally.

How do you know that you’re making a difference/having an impact with the work that you do?
I work on the corporate side in the Business Strategy office so I have tangible, meaningful projects I support and I see their impact through the process. I really enjoy how this role challenges me but also how I can be a part in making a customer, manager, or team members job more efficient and effective. I know the work I do is making an impact because I recognize how my work contributes to my line of business and the organization as a whole.

What makes you proud to represent Synovus?
I am proud to represent Synovus and the culture. This is a company that cares about their people and cares about their community. Big city or small town, Synovus can support their customers, their livelihoods, and their family. 5 years ago, I never thought I would work at a bank. Now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. So, I don’t just work at a bank – I work at a great company in meaningful career.

In what ways do you feel like you’ve grown since working for Synovus?
I have grown in my overall knowledge of the banking industry, my ability to problem-solve, and my aptitude to work with many different people. I have been fortunate enough to start in the Accelerated Bankers program and move to a few new roles since then. In each position, I learned what kind of leader I want to be and what kind of leader I do not want to be. Since my first day at Synovus, I think I am a more confident, well-rounded individual who provides values and input to a team. It might not be in years of experience, but I think I can add creativity and enthusiasm. I have a lot more to learn but I know I am surrounded by the best teachers.

What do you wish you had known about the professional world when you were a student?
The soft skills are something you can’t teach someone – you can teach nearly anyone the technical side of a role but you can’t teach work ethic, drive, and maturity. As a student, grow in those areas as well as your academic. One more thing is the learning never stops. You can always ask questions, dig deeper to learn more, or be your own advocate.

In thinking about emerging young professionals, what advice would you share to those seeking their first opportunities?
Identify 3 things: What you are good at, what you enjoy, and what your organization needs. If you can align those 3 things, that can help you feel fulfilled and energized. If you don’t have that yet, find an aspect of your role that apply those – a stretch assignment, shadowing, or new position. Seek out mentors who can help you get to that next level. Be patient - don’t expect those circles to align immediately but identify your skills and take that knowledge with you to advocate for yourself.

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