Jennifer Matlock, Truist Financial | Most Powerful Women: Next

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Chief financial officer, Crump Life Insurance Services, a unit of BB&T Insurance Holdings

Early on in her role overseeing the finance department of Crump Life Insurance, Jennifer Matlock encountered a challenge: low engagement across the department.

So she rolled out a plan that incorporated lots of communication: regular large group meetings among all four functions within the department and personal conversations not only with her direct reports, but also with the people below them.

In those one-on-one conversations, she didn’t take employees at face value when they said things were “fine” either. She cultivated relationships with them and learned to ask more prodding questions.

Her efforts ultimately yielded improved internal engagement metrics, higher productivity, and a reduction in errors.

“We took a fresh look at how we engaged with our team,” said Matlock, who has been in her position since January 2016. “We started doing more regular meetings as a larger group instead of just siloing between the different departments. When we started bringing everybody together, it made a better connection, and it made everyone feel like one larger unit.”

Over the past year, as business volume rapidly increased, Matlock had to address a much different challenge: how to continue providing excellent service, while reducing expenses.

She initiated a review of her department, and instead of adding staff to handle the increased workload, launched two technology projects to automate processes, resulting in increased productivity, improved client satisfaction and a 12% cut in expenses.

Matlock is one of 15 executives selected for our second annual Next list. This extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.

Lately Matlock has taken on some extra responsibility beyond her job. She agreed last year to co-chair the diversity and inclusion council for Truist’s financial division, where she’s focused in particular on the hiring and recruitment process and efforts to diversify the workforce. Through that work, she learned that it’s important to seek out others within the organization who may have relationships with schools where Truist may want to recruit.

She is instrumental in growing the business and serving as a model for combining talent and technology for outstanding performance and service.
Daryl Bible, Truist’s chief financial officer

Matlock said consistent communication has been critical to balancing her many professional obligations with her family life.

The mother of two young girls, Matlock said she is open with her team about when she needs help, say, if she has to duck out of work early to make it to gymnastics practice. She’s also vocal about making sure her teammates exercise the same privilege. “I do a lot of pushing to make sure that they’re doing as much as engagement as they want with their children’s lives and that work doesn’t hinder them from doing that,” she said.

Nominating executive:
Daryl Bible
Truist’s chief financial officer

What he says:
Bible described Matlock as an “exemplary leader” and lauded her success in helping improve efficiency and customer service at the insurance unit, while also registering some of the highest personal engagement scores at the company. “She is instrumental in growing the business and serving as a model for combining talent and technology for outstanding performance and service,” Bible wrote in nominating Matlock for the Next list.

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Insurance BB&T Truist Financial The Most Powerful Women in Banking: NEXT 2020