Pinnacle veteran Eddie Alford steps into the newly created role with firm-wide scope
Pinnacle Financial Partners has named firm veteran Eddie Alford its first diversity and inclusion officer. Alford will lead and coordinate work on diversity, inclusion and related issues across all areas of the firm and will join its leadership team.
He will develop concrete, action-oriented initiatives to build on Pinnacle’s foundation as a great place to work. Alford also will serve as a thought leader who centers diversity, inclusion and equity in all of the firm’s work with clients and in the community.
“Ensuring that Pinnacle has a diverse team with a strong sense of belonging, empowerment and ownership is critical to achieving our vision of being the best financial services firm and the best place to work in the Southeast,” Alford said. “This foundation gives us so much potential for being a force for change both within our walls and cascading out into the communities we serve. My mission now is to unlock that potential so we can ensure our successful model for doing business can benefit all people equally.”
Alford has served on Pinnacle’s learning and development team since joining the firm in 2005. He helped develop and lead Pinnacle’s one of a kind three-day orientation with CEO Terry Turner and played a key role in building Pinnacle’s leadership development curriculum.
“Eddie is one of the keepers of our culture,” Turner said. “His talents and charisma have helped inculcate our unique attitude about banking and service into hundreds of our associates, and he’s continued that work by helping develop the next generation of Pinnacle leaders. He’s totally immersed in what makes our company tick and is invested in our continuous improvement.”
In January, Pinnacle produced its first Corporate Social Responsibility report, with attention given to issues of diversity. Within the “Excited Associates” component of the firm’s business model, “Creating a diverse and inclusive team” is listed as a key metric of success. The report touts Pinnacle’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the well-above-benchmark results of associate surveys that show an internal culture of genuine equality.
It also shows, however, the amount of ground needed to make up in recruiting and developing diverse associates and addressing the gap in leadership positions with regard to ethnicity and gender. Pinnacle is committed to growth and change in these areas and is focused on the steps necessary to diversify the board of directors, the recruiting pool for new associates and the networks in which existing associates are connected, among others. Pinnacle created a new Corporate Social Responsibility Committee in 2019 with diversity and inclusion as a central goal. Senior leadership also began regular meetings with market leaders to discuss diversity in hiring, client selection and community investment.
Alford will lead all of these commitments and the work needed to reach them as he develops training, coordinates across teams and helps shape associates’ daily decision making.
“Fairness is among our seven values at Pinnacle, and as I look at what we’ve accomplished so far and what we’ve committed to do in the future, I feel that we’re largely living up to it,” Alford said. “I also see that we have a lot more of this mountain left to climb.
“Banks hold a unique place in society. We deploy capital and help make key decisions that can shape the economies of the communities we serve. It’s our responsibility to take the actions and make the investments that lead to greater equity. Pinnacle is committed to fulfilling that responsibility from the inside out. It starts by building an associate base that reflects the diversity of our communities and ensuring they approach their work with an equity mindset.”
“We pride ourselves in being the best place to work and the best place to do business, and that means for all people,” Turner said. “This work isn’t something that requires a division or a quota or careful study by a siloed taskforce. It must be threaded into all that we do all the time, at the front of all decisions our leaders and associates make. If we hold fairness as a central value, diversity and inclusion must be recognized as a vital part of our culture. That’s the part of our company where Eddie has lived for many years, and that’s why he’s the perfect person to lead us forward.”
Alford earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Alabama State University and his MBA from Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to working at Pinnacle, he served a vice president of training and development at PrimeTrust Bank and a regional training officer at Nashville Bank of Commerce (NBC). While at NBC, Alford was also the community development officer for Nashville, working with dozens of branches to ensure the bank was meeting the needs of the low- to moderate-income community.
He is involved in youth financial literacy education through Junior Achievement and other nonprofit organizations.
Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2019 deposit data from the FDIC. Pinnacle earned a spot on 2020 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fourth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For seven years in a row.
Pinnacle owns a 49 percent interest in Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), which provides innovative, hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals. Great Place to Work and FORTUNE ranked BHG No. 1 on its 2020 list of Best Workplaces in New York State in the small/medium business category.
The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $33.3 billion in assets as of June 30, 2020. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 12 primarily urban markets in Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia and Atlanta.
Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed atwww.pnfp.com.