Columbus executive graces list of ‘25 Women to Watch’

Liz Dukes Wolverton, who has been with Synovus since 2003, is chief strategy officer at the Columbus-based regional banking firm. --
Liz Dukes Wolverton, who has been with Synovus since 2003, is chief strategy officer at the Columbus-based regional banking firm. -- Synovus Financial Corp.

One of Columbus’ own has been named one of the “25 Women to Watch for 2016” by American Banker, a banking industry organization that publishes a monthly magazine. The rankings appear under the headline, “The Most Powerful Women in Banking.”

Liz Dukes Wolverton, chief strategy officer at Synovus Financial Corp., appears at No. 19 on the prestigious list, which includes executives from a who’s who of financial institutions — Bank of the West, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, USAA, U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, Huntington Bancshares, Fifth Third Bancorp and Charles Scwab Bank.

Wolverton is the only Georgia banker on this year’s list, which is in American Banker’s October issue. It is now online. Topping the list is Nandita Bakhshi, president and chief executive officer of Bank of the West.

“One of the main qualities we look for when selecting women for the ranking is leadership, and Liz really stands out in that regard,” Bonnie McGeer, executive editor of American Banker magazine, said in a statement.

“As a high-level executive juggling multiple responsibilities while raising two children, Wolverton, who joined Synovus in 2003, did not necessarily view mentoring other women as a high priority,” American Banker said in a synopsis on the Synovus executive. “Then last year she was named one of American Banker's 25 Women to Watch and, suddenly, up-and-coming female colleagues at Synovus were reaching out to her seeking advice on how to advance their careers.”

“It's my responsibility to use the role and influence that I have to help improve the path and development of rising female talent,” she told American Banker.

Wolverton, who reports to Synovus Chairman and CEO Kessel Stelling, started as director of accounting and financial analysis with the bank before becoming senior director of banking. She was promoted to chief strategy officer in 2014. In a nutshell, her focus is working with others at the Southeast regional bank to identify and develop profitable business opportunities.

The Columbus executive and others on the list will be honored next week in New York.

Synovus, headquartered in Columbus, oversees about $29 billion in assets through its 28 bank divisions, which includes Columbus Bank and Trust. The company operates 251 branches and 332 automated teller machines in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.