Diversifying Teams in the Banking Sector

Lynne Walker is a banker who learned to successfully engage with diverse circles while growing up near Princeton, New Jersey. Today, she has a passion for diversifying corporate teams and accessing diverse customers and vendors.

Walker says diversity plus inclusion is an incomplete equation. To achieve the ideal state of spontaneous inclusion, she says you have to build trust across diverse groups by spending time together and building relationships. Her complete formula is diversity plus affinity equals inclusion.

She says ultimately her father was her role model for living inclusion. “I remember my father’s determination and perseverance integrating a neighborhood to buy our first home.  I learned to accept challenges, be confident and make tough decisions,” she said. “Tough conversations often lead to better understandings and outcomes for all.”

Walker’s background is the lens through which she shapes First Horizon National’s diversity strategy. Her curiosity for business peaked in college seeing company names on buildings and trucks. She was intrigued with how they operated and wondered how they treated their employees.

She’s put that curiosity into play over a 30 year career in corporate banking. Today, as executive vice president and director of First Horizon’s Affinity Banking Strategy, she says leaders should model inclusion and give back. “Mentor in broad circles.  Share what you have learned.  Not just after you’ve made it, but all along the way,” she said.

Walker was named one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s Top Women in Business and the SBA Small Business Advocate of the Year when she created a team focused on educating and lending to small, minority and women owned businesses and offering mortgages to low to moderate income customers. “Banks impact the economy, business and personal financial success, and the success of communities,” she said. “And diversity powerfully impacts everyone’s bottom line.”

Walker served in leadership roles for the Self-Help Credit Union in North Carolina, UNCC Belk College of Business, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Urban League, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, and Ballet Memphis and currently serves on the board of Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. She holds a BA in economics and sociology from Duke University and lives by the words “be grateful.”