Nearly three decades after moving to Memphis, TN, Traci Stickland’s career path led her through financial advising and compliance to marketing. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Triumph Bank, responsible for branding, advertising, public relations and community outreach. “I want to be involved in organizations where I can cause positive change and make a difference in people’s lives,” she says. “As Triumph has grown, our focus on serving our community has grown along with it.” We’re excited to introduce you to this dynamic and delightful FACE of Memphis!

Traci Strickland of Triumph Bank

Meet Triumph Bank‘s Senior Vice President of Marketing and our newest FACE of Memphis, Traci Strickland.

Tell us about your career path to marketing.

I majored in business with an emphasis in accounting. My dad told me to major in accounting because I’d always be able to get a job, and it has been a great foundation for me since I’ve worked in the financial services industry my whole career. My first job was at a small wealth management company. I started as a portfolio accounting officer – so green! I had to get in there and learn by fire how to do all aspects of the job. Seven years later, the partners decided to go their separate ways. Lane Carrick, one of the partners and my mentor, started Sovereign Wealth Management and brought me along with him. That was my first taste of branding. Before that, my main role had been talking to clients and building relationships – and I treasured those relationships. It translated to what branding meant. It’s not what your logo looks like; it’s truly about what the brand means to employees, people who invest in the company and clients.

During my time at Sovereign, I worked in compliance and in an advisory capacity to clients. After I returned from maternity leave with my first son, we began to expand our marketing efforts with more events and advertising. I was like a sponge, absorbing everything I could learn, and I realized marketing was what I wanted to do. It brought me joy to plan events and make people feel important.

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How did you begin working for Triumph?

In 2010, our firm was acquired by a national firm based in California. Its business model was to handle all marketing and accounting at the national level so the advisors could concentrate on their local clients. By that time, I was running all of our marketing, so I was concerned I would be out of a job! But when I met our new CEO, he asked if I could do marketing in a national role. It was a great experience. I stayed in Memphis, but I had a national footprint.

Three years later, Triumph Bank came knocking. My first boss and mentor, Lane Carrick, founded the bank in 2006 with the idea of creating a place with a small community feel, where relationships were important and customers knew they were valued. Triumph’s CEO and COO worked out of our office for about six months in 2005 when they were getting started, so I knew them well, and we always included them in our events and communications. When Triumph had grown to the point that they needed a head of marketing, they reached out to me.

I’ve worked at Triumph for over six years. My career is definitely a result of the relationships I’ve built. And I’ve been blessed to have some amazing mentors, such as Lane, Michael Deutsch and Triumph’s CEO Will Chase.

Traci Strickland posing in front of glass window

After spending nearly six years with Triumph, Traci credits her career to the relationships she has built.

What are some marketing or branding campaigns you are most proud of?

My first charge with Triumph was to rebrand the bank. I saw the project as a three-legged stool, to develop a thoughtful strategy and messaging that spoke to our customers, investors and team members. Everything we developed was very intentional, from our logo to our tagline of “Let’s Talk Growth.”

In 2014, we developed an employee engagement survey. The final question asked team members to give us one word that described how they wanted a Triumph customer to feel. We got a fantastic response and used the words to create our “Experience Wall,” which we have in many locations and will be installed as we update other branches. You’ll see the words beside our logo as you walk in, and it reminds our team this is what we are here for – to make our clients and each other feel valued.

“My Triumph” is a series of videos featuring our customers, allowing them to share stories of how they achieved their dreams and goals. Helping our customers have their own triumph is sincerely the reason we open our doors every day, and I loved putting the spotlight on them rather than us.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

In 2017, we formed our Community Development Foundation. I have the honor of serving on the Board and get to meet non-profit organizations doing great work in Memphis and Nashville. Being able to add community engagement to my role has meant so much to me.

Part of our culture is to have fun activities after work. It’s important for team members to get to know each other in a fun, relaxed way. Another way we get to know each other is the way we serve. Through the Foundation, I’m able to create meaningful volunteer opportunities for our team. It’s rewarding to see how we can help others, and how the volunteer work transforms us.

Can you give us an example of what you mean?

We spend the majority of our time with Binghampton Christian Academy. It serves about 120 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and has the only residential program in Memphis. We planned to serve dinner one night, and a co-worker was unsure about coming because she was a single mom with two young children and didn’t have childcare in the evenings. I’d brought my own two boys to serve dinner, so I told her to bring her kids. Well, they loved it! They immediately jumped in with the kids that lived at Binghampton, making best friends. My co-worker told me her son said it was the best two hours of his life.

We’ve also made a big investment for the past four years to sponsor a class at the academy. We provide textbooks and supplies, and we get to host class parties and field trips. We also provide tutoring. Every single time I walk on that campus, I am surrounded by big hugs and love. My favorite thing to do is bring team members for the first time and see them fall in love with it, too.

Traci Strickland of Triumph Bank sitting in patterned chair

Traci and the Triumph team frequent Binghampton Christian Academy as part of the company’s Community Development Foundation. “Every single time I walk on that campus, I am surrounded by big hugs and love. My favorite thing to do is bring team members for the first time and see them fall in love with it, too,” Traci says.

What do you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

I take both of my boys to school. Carter is a sophomore, so I only have about another month before he’ll start driving. Andrew is in the fifth grade. I love that time with them.

After I drop the boys off, I visit my mom. She’s 92 and recently moved here from Jackson, MS. I give her hugs and love, help her get her coffee and talk with her for a few minutes before I head to work. It is such a treasured time. I spend some of my lunchtimes with her, too.

When you have visitors to Memphis, where do you like to take them?

I like to do a little tour. I have to take them to my alma mater, so we go by Rhodes. I love to brag about Memphis, so we go to Crosstown, and I tell the story of how it was developed. We go to Overton Square then head downtown to see the river and Beale Street. For dinner, I’ll choose one of the fantastic restaurants, and we might close the night with a drink in the Peabody lobby or on the roof of the Hu. Hotel. There’s a lot to show off!

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What’s your best piece of advice?

I always loved getting business advice from my dad. He told me to do my best and work to become indispensable. That has stuck with me. The advice I give to others is to be kind to everyone and build lasting relationships. I once heard, treat everyone like they have an imaginary sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.” I try to do that, and it’s my best advice for others.

Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

Music, coffee and all my pictures on Google photos so I can keep my memories with me.

Thank you for chatting with us, Traci. And thank you to Erin Mosher Studios for the beautiful photos.

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