Twenty-five years ago Lisa White graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in journalism. Rather than take that degree into the profession of public relations, which was the original plan, she joined Columbus Bank and Trust [a unit of Synovus] as a management associate, "at the bottom of the totem pole," she says.

A quarter of a century later she has become a driving force in Synovus's growth, though she credits those communication skills learned in college for much of her success. "In the business world, if you can't communicate both verbally and in writing, then you can't be successful," White says. "Call it fate or whatever, but I was able to learn banking with a good fundamental base in communications from journalism."

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