The Women to Watch: No. 14, Synovus' Liz Wolverton

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Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Customer Experience Officer, Synovus Financial Corp

Liz Wolverton had only been the digital strategy lead at Synovus for a short time when she realized that a project that took a year and a half to develop — and which was only 90 days from being complete — wasn't going to work out.

She also knew that not everyone at the table of executives before her would accept that conclusion. The project wasn't just any new initiative, but a new online and mobile platform — Synovus' first launch of a customer-facing digital platform in more than 10 years.

"New concepts are often met with skepticism and raised eyebrows," said Wolverton, the chief strategy and customer experience officer at the Columbus, Ga.-based Synovus. "But I have never been too concerned with being the 'odd' voice in the room."

Wolverton recommended the digital platform, My Synovus, be delayed and made more ambitious. It needed a new design that went beyond transaction automation and rethought how the company engaged with its technology partners.

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Ultimately, Synovus launched the platform to staff in December 2018 and to consumers two months later. Within 60 days, the Apple app rating for Synovus improved 50%.

Wolverton also provided oversight for the launch of a new online mortgage lending application that piloted and launched in 2019, which now handles half of the $32.7 billion-asset company's mortgage applications.

In January, Synovus announced higher financial targets in anticipation of a refreshed three-year strategic plan that Wolverton developed.

Last year already contributed some momentum. Overall revenue grew by 10% to $1.4 billion. Net income increased 55% to $410 million and earnings per share rose 60% to $3.47.

The company's highest ranking woman, Wolverton has been accumulating responsibility and influence at Synovus for the past several years. She added digital leadership in early 2018 to go with other roles such as sponsor of the company;s inclusion and diversity initiative. She also serves as the only woman on the four-person Resource Allocation Committee.

"In a bank that has performed strongly for over a century, change can be provocative, but I believe my role is critical in continuing to drive that agenda," Wolverton said.

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