Pinnacle Financial Partners earns a lot of praise for being a great place to work, whether it’s for soon-to-be retirees or Millennials. Most recently, the bank was ranked sixth in Forbes’ 100 Best Workplaces for Women list.
Pinnacle, based in Nashville, also has a commitment to the local communities that it serves. When Pinnacle acquired Bank of North Carolina in 2017, local associates, clients and greater High Point were foremost in the bank’s mission.
“High Point is really important to us,” says Pinnacle Financial Partners’ President and CEO Terry Turner. “If you’re in the banking business, you’re going to be a product of the market that you serve. That’s why we choose high growth markets like the Triad. So, our future is tied to the success of High Point.”
Given this, it makes perfect sense that Pinnacle Financial Partners would partner with Women in Motion of High Point. Thebank is a financial contributor and also provides leadership through several of its most experienced associates.
Women in Motion is one community resource through which Pinnacle can make a positive impact here, and the initiative’s professional development and advocacy for women in the workplace.
For Pinnacle Financial Partners, advancing the needs of their associates is a fundamental part of the company’s philosophy. And it comes from a very practical motivation.
The bank, founded in 2000, has seen significant growth and expansion in the Southeast. By hiring and retaining experienced associates with competitive compensation and an award-winning company culture, Pinnacle keeps turnover low. Clients appreciate their experienced personnel. The High Point team includes people who have been there since the days of High Point Bank, later acquired by Bank of North Carolina.
“If we create this great work environment for all of our associates, they’ll create a great work environment for our clients,” says Turner. “If we do that, the winners are our communities and our shareholders.
“When you get it right for the clients, the communities that we serve and the shareholders that we serve are the beneficiaries.”
Community outreach is part of the success formula.
“We target 1% of our pre-tax profits to give back in the form of contributions to the markets that we serve,” said Turner. “Instead of just supporting one signature cause, we want to spread the love, so to speak, and let our associates decide how our community investments are made. We support the causes that are important to them because they know what’s needed most in their communities.”
When Pinnacle Financial Partners came to High Point, Paula Comer, Senior Vice President, Trust Portfolio Advisor, had already laid the groundwork for similar community outreach in her work with High Point Bank.
In 2014, Comer helped launch the Wise Women Series, a program of educational socials geared toward women and covering topics such as IRA’s, Simplifying your Financial Life, Investments 101 in both High Point and Winston Salem. In the first luncheon, Deanne Ebel, Senior Trust Advisor, spoke on “Estate Planning Blunders—mistakes many famous people have made with their estate planning.”
Comer and her colleagues see first-hand, every day the demanding roles that women play in childcare, domestic decisions, jobs and family finance.
“Women tend to be the primary caregivers to children, parents and their spouse,” said Comer. “Typically, men are the primary decision maker for investment planning and I wanted to bring awareness to women about basic topics around their financial lives and provide a forum to ask questions.”
The Wise Women concept was a good match for Turner’s organization. Around the same time, the L. Paul Brayton family, High Point Community Foundation and the bank had begun conversations about establishing a foundation and perhaps steering it toward a women’s initiative, that would become Women in Motion of High Point.
Another long-time employee and community service advocate who made the Pinnacle transition is Office Leader and Branch Manager Eva Ogden.
“The legacy has not been lost, but renewed,” said Ogden who, with Comer, is a Women in Motion leadership committee member. “That’s exciting especially when you have an initiative like Women in Motion. It’s nice to see that the bank supports us and allow us to participate in initiatives and activities that help the community.”
Ogden sees the mission as clearing away some of the more challenging hurdles for women who want to advance in careers and establish better work-life balance.
“Women in Motion is a second-level of assistance for women,” said Ogden. “We’re really targeting women who are already working and want to keep moving up. And there are a lot of things to keep women from continuing to grow…anything from type of work-life balance allowed at their job, to care for children, transportation and negotiation skills. Things you don’t know that you don’t know.”
Angela Eddins attended a Pinnacle event where the bank presented Women in Motion leaders with a check for the endowment and immediately volunteered and made a financial contribution. Eddins is Senior Vice President Trust Retirement Services at Pinnacle.
“With Pinnacle being an advocate for the same goals as Women in Motion, I think it will be a really good partnership,” said Eddins. “The common thing between Pinnacle and Women in Motion is knowledge.
“Pinnacle believes in educating the employees and making them aware of other opportunities in the community. I think that’s a lot of what Women in Motion is about as well: providing women with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and saying that regardless of what they’re facing in their lives they can continue to pursue their dreams and work toward those achievements.”
The Pinnacle Financial Partners partnership with Women in Motion is a template for how businesses in and around High Point can engage with the community in ways that not only give back, but can also grow business as more people advance in their education, careers and lifestyles.
Best of all, it’s got the support of top management.
“We’ve got a team there that cares about the community,” said CEO Terry Turner. “They’re integrated in it and decisions on giving back are made on a local basis.”