Wednesday, July 17, 2024


With a long history as a national power in commercial banking, North Carolina’s financial services industry has diversified over the last decade. Many large companies, including Credit Suisse, MetLife, TIAA and Vanguard, operate major sites in the state.

CEO | UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina


Bachmann was promoted to her post four years ago. The plan provides medical coverage to Medicare Advantage and Medicaid patients by Minnetonka, Minn.- based UnitedHealthcare, the largest U.S. health insurer. The Medical University of South Carolina graduate serves on the board of the Greensboro Chamber and chairs the local community foundation.

Pre-workday motivation: My day gets started with a very early morning run or boot camp, followed by a big cup of coffee and morning devotion.

Key to industry success: Collaboration has become more important than ever. Bringing people together with different ideas, perspectives and expertise to find innovative solutions allows organizations to solve challenges in a faster and more efficient manner. Working together builds camaraderie, which leads to a healthier and more engaged organization.

Best advice: Listen more than you speak. My dad always said there was a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. Listening intently creates meaningful relationships and opens the mind to diverse perspectives, which is critical in our learning journey.

Three people to share a meal: Jesus, Abraham Lincoln and Condoleezza Rice.

Proud family accomplishment: Raising three very fine sons who have a strong work ethic and drive, and are the most caring, compassionate men you’ll ever meet.

Favorite hobby: Quality time with my sons and husband, usually involving boating, running and fishing.

Where do you most enjoy taking an out-of-town visitor in your community: The Tanger Center, Civil Rights Museum and LeBauer Park in downtown Greensboro.

chief technology and information officer | Bank of America


Bhasin became the megabank’s top tech executive last year. He joined BofA in 2004 after working as a principal at the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm. Bhasin has master’s degrees in computer engineering and engineering management from Dartmouth College and bachelor’s degrees from Hamilton College.

chief administrative officer | Bank of America


The Northwestern University graduate succeeded Andrea Smith last year in the key administrative role. A bank staffer since 1995, he previously led community banking and consumer lending. He is vice chair of BofA’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council and on the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council.

Pre-workday motivation: My morning workout gets me focused and energized for the day ahead.

Best advice: Remain humble, intellectually curious, and willing to put in the work.

Three people to share a meal: Walt Disney, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou.

Favorite hobby: Golf. It’s funny how a game that can be so humbling can provide so much enjoyment.

CEO | Ally Financial


Brown, 49, joined the digital financial services company in 2009, became CEO in 2015 and has led significant growth as Ally posted a record $3 billion profit last year. Previously the treasurer of Bank of America, Brown is a Clemson University graduate with a Queens University MBA. He’s part of the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council.

Pre-workday motivation: A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the concept of essentialism — the disciplined pursuit of less — by Greg McKeown. Since then, I’ve worked to incorporate it into my daily routine. It helps me focus on the handful of things that really matter, say no to the things that don’t add value and make time to think about what’s next — what’s around the corner.

Key to industry success: A strong, purpose-driven culture. If you have a healthy culture, everything else follows. Put another way, if you take care of your employees, they, in turn, take care of your customers, which drives business results. It all starts and ends with culture.

Best advice: Three things. First, do what you say you are going to do and follow through on your commitments. Have your boss’ back, and keep them in the know. Finally, surround yourself with smart people. I’m tremendously lucky to have simply the best leadership team in the business.

Three people to share a meal: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Tim Cook. All have made and continue to make a massive impact on their industries, the business world and society as a whole.

Proud family accomplishment: We have a tradition to cook a family meal together every week, and I really value that. The time goes by so fast while the kids are in the house. While frequent travel is inevitable in my career, I realize how precious these moments are.

Favorite hobby: I’m a foodie — I love to cook and love to barbeque, in particular. I’m also a lover of cars and racing. I guess you could say I found the right company for my personal passions.

Where to entertain a visitor: Charlotte is an amazing community, and I’m lucky to call it home. But right now, I’ll go with an Ally-sponsored Charlotte FC match. I dare anyone to come up with a more inspiring moment than 75,000 fans singing the national anthem together as we did on March 5 during the inaugural game.

CEO | Capital Investment Companies


Heading a team of more than 170 financial planners, advisers and others, Bryant, 62, says Capital Investment can offer wealth management and services similar to large Wall Street-based companies but with the hometown touches worthy of Gastonia, where he was born. A graduate of N.C. State University, he founded the firm in 1984.

Pre-workday motivation: The unforeseen challenges and opportunities that await...and, of course, coffee!

Key to industry success: Besides top-notch service and expertise, our mantra speaks for itself: Integrity, independence, and innovation.

Best advice: From my father: “If you’re gonna start a business, start one with few employees, no receivables and no inventory.” The investment business is as close to that as I could find.

Three people to share a meal: Jack Nicholson, Stevie Wonder and Queen Elizabeth II.

Proud family accomplishment: Through all of life’s struggles, we’re very close and making out just fine. I think!

Favorite hobby: It’s a tie: Cars and music.

Where to entertain a visitor: An N.C. State Wolfpack sporting event.

chair, Carolinas & Virginia | Pinnacle Financial Partners

High Point

Callicutt was among a half-dozen initial employees at startup Bank of North Carolina in 1991, becoming president and CEO in 2013. Since Nashville-based Pinnacle bought the bank for $1.9 billion in 2017, he’s helped lead significant growth in the three-state region that he oversees. He began his career working for Wachovia and First Union banks. He’s an alum and trustee of High Point University and board chair of the North Carolina Bankers Association. Pinnacle has been named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for five straight years.

executive vice president, head of client relationships | TIAA


The Rutgers University graduate has been with TIAA for 35 years. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association juggles more than $1 trillion in assets for some 5 million active and retired professors and others. His team manages relationships with industry leaders and advocacy organizations.

founding director, president, CEO | First Carolina Bank


Day, 56, has led one of the state’s fastest growing banks over the last decade, with offices in Rocky Mount, Raleigh, Cary and Wilmington. He led an investor group that bought the business in 2012. Last year, First Carolina converted its Virginia Beach, Va. loan office into a full-service branch and is expanding this year into Columbia, S.C. and Atlanta. Day is a 1987 UNC Chapel Hill graduate who previously worked at the Bank of Hampton Roads in Virginia and RBC Bank in Raleigh and Atlanta.

Pre-workday motivation: The opportunity to do the job I’m privileged to do with the people we have on our team.

Key to industry success: A commitment to being the best and building a team with the best people in the business.

Best advice: Make your plan.

Three people to share a meal: Jack Nicklaus, Elton John and Tom Brady.

Proud family accomplishment: The unwavering support that we provide to each other.

Favorite hobby: Golf — playing and watching professional tournaments.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Angus Barn restaurant.

chief investment officer, CEO | Verger Capital Management


The Villanova University graduate previously was chief investment officer at Wake Forest University’s endowment fund. He created Verger in 2014 and manages $2 billion in assets.

Key to industry success: Thinking differently. We believe the ability to think differently starts with understanding your why — not just what you do, but why you do it. Secondly, stay humble and hungry.

Proud family accomplishment: The work ethic of my two sons in their studies, athletics, personal and professional relationships.

Where to entertain a visitor: A Wake Forest University basketball game. My son is on the team, and I could not be prouder.

managing partner | Ridgemont Equity Partners


The avid outdoorsman, Edwards is a co-founder of Ridgemont, a private equity company that was part of Bank of America until 2010. He’s a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard University. His deals have included the 2021 investment in Chicago-based Seko Logistics. He’s also worked for McKinsey & Co. and Allied Capital.

Pre-workday motivation: The opportunity to work with talented, interesting individuals both at my firm and portfolio companies.

Favorite hobby: Golf.

Where to entertain a visitor: Carolina Panthers football game

Carolinas regional president | Fifth Third Bank


The Cincinnati-based bank is hiring more than three dozen commercial lenders in the Southeast and adding as many as 50 new branches in North Carolina in the next several years. Fite is a 15-year bank veteran who is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Wake Forest University.

president, chair, CEO | Barings


Since 2020 Freno has led the global investment firm that manages nearly $400 billion. The Wake Forest University MBA joined the company in 2005. Previously the chair of the publicly traded Barings business development company, he is on the executive leadership team of owner MassMutual Insurance.

managing partner | Carousel Capital


Carousel has backing from more than 100 current and former CEOs. Since 1996, the private equity group has invested in 45 companies. Grigg joined in 1997 after working with Orion Partners in Boston and Smith Barney in New York. He has degrees from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

president, CEO | NC Bankers Association


Gwaltney has led the bankers’ group since 2015 after having a similar post in Louisiana. “I can still hear my banking professor at Louisiana State University saying, ‘Money isn’t everything, but it is the sincerest form of appreciation."

Key to industry success: Knowing when to listen and when to speak, thinking before doing, truly caring about people, always telling the truth, going the extra mile whenever possible.

Best advice: "Remember who you are.” I heard this from my father every time I left the house as a young person.

Proud family accomplishment: We raised six children who are now adults who love and support one another.

Favorite hobby: On free weekends with pretty weather, I enjoy riding my Harley Davidson. North Carolina is a beautiful place to live and I enjoy experiencing it from the seat of a motorcycle.

president, CEO | Truliant Federal Credit Union


Truliant bought naming rights to downtown Winston-Salem’s Winston Towers, signaling its increased visibility. He joined as chief operating officer in 2012 and became CEO in 2020. Truliant has 280,000 members, more than 30 branches and $3.5 billion in assets.

CEO | Triad Business Bank


The former NewBridge Bank executive helped start the bank just as the pandemic hit. Two years later, Triad Business Bank is nearing profitability with assets of about $375 million. It was one of the state’s first new banks since the early 2000s.

regional president, Eastern Carolinas | PNC


Hansen has been a long-term stalwart for PNC and its predecessors in North Carolina and Alabama since 2001. He’s a graduate of N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill, and has chaired the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and Raleigh Chamber.

Key to industry success: Banking is built on the financial success of our customers, and in order to effectively serve customers and add value, we must understand their industries and the unique challenges they face. In North Carolina’s wonderfully diverse business landscape, a successful banker must have an inquisitive mind and the discipline to stay abreast of market dynamics, while adapting to the ongoing digital transformation that many sectors, including banking, are experiencing.

Proud family accomplishment: My children are 16 and 12, so they are very much coming into their own. Their personalities are so different. I’m proud of the people they are becoming and the paths they are forging. It’s such a privilege to be a parent and share in that experience.

Favorite hobby: My son enjoys cars, and while he is not old enough to drive, we mess around with a 1984 CJ7 I bought, slowly tackling little repairs and changes. As a parent, your child’s passions become your hobbies, so my other is joining my daughter at her travel volleyball tournaments.

Where to entertain a family visitor: On a beautiful day, there is nothing like Dix Park with its open space and incomparable views of the Raleigh skyline. In the evenings, I am always watching the schedule of events at PNC Arena. Lastly, the NC Museum of Art is always a great place, but especially great to visit during Art in Bloom, an event PNC has sponsored since its inception.

CEO, chair | First Citizens Bancshares


First Citizens closed its $2 billion acquisition of CIT Group in January, marking a transformational deal as it reached $100 billion in assets. The graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and Penn’s Wharton School has led the largest U.S. family-controlled bank since 2008.

Pre-workday motivation: What gets me motivated is remembering why we’re here every day. For 124 years, we’ve helped people, families and businesses make smart and sensible decisions about their finances, and we don’t expect that to change. We take this responsibility seriously. While we recognize there will continue to be many ups and downs in our economy and industry, First Citizens will be here to assist those who trust us with their money.

Key to industry success: Relationships matter. Banking is not just about products and services; it’s about people and meeting their needs. Success in business and in life is tied directly to building and nurturing relationships with others. One of the most important things you can do to succeed is learn how to work together and build lasting relationships.

What is the best advice you ever received: When making farm loans, my grandfather had a favorite expression. “There is more in the man than in the land.” Understanding who you serve meant a lot back then and it still does today. The saying highlights the importance of knowing your customer, building relationships that last, solving problems for them and creating opportunities for them too.

general partner | Hatteras Venture Partners


Ingram is among the state’s top pharmaceutical executives after serving as CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, a forerunner of GlaxoSmithKline. As an investor, he has helped develop many life sciences companies and last year was awarded the Charles A. Sanders Award by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.

CEO | Dogwood State Bank


The state-chartered bank has grown from 65 to 135 employees since recapitalizing and moving from Morehead City to Raleigh in 2019. Assets now total about $850 million. Jones is an East Carolina University alumnus who previously had senior posts at Yadkin Financial and RBC.

vice chair, head of corporate and commercial banking | U.S. Bancorp


Kelligrew, 56, joined the Minneapolis- based bank in 2009 and was named to his current post in 2016. The 1987 University of Michigan graduate is on the company’s 14-member management committee and leads 3,000 bankers across the U.S.

Pre-workday motivation: A good cup of coffee and exercise while watching CNBC.

Key to industry success: Remain positive, keep focused on clients and treat your people well.

Best advice: Always take advantage of an opportunity outside of work to connect and build relationships with prospective mentors or senior executives.

Three people to share a meal: Muhammad Ali, Isaac Asimov and Ronald Reagan

Proud family accomplishment: I am very fortunate to have a strong, close knit extended family, and a tremendous support network. They are compassionate and committed to giving back to the community.

Favorite hobby: Reading, especially science fiction. I also love coaching my daughter’s soccer team.

Where to entertain a visitor: Carolina Panthers game.

founder, chair, CEO | Lending -Tree


Lebda got frustrated arranging a mortgage for his first house, so he launched his own company in 1996. It now has a market cap of $1.6 billion with more than 1,300 employees. He is a graduate of Bucknell University and the University of Virginia.

CEO, consumer and small business banking | Wells Fargo

Fort Mill, S.C.

The senior executive vice president heads Wells Fargo’s Consumer and Small Business Banking, leading about 65,000 employees. Fortune magazine has named her one of the nation’s most powerful women in business six times. She joined a Wells Fargo predecessor in 1984 after graduating from Davidson College.

Best advice: Remain centered and find a work-life balance that works for you. While I’m a banker 24/7, I’m also a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend 24/7. And if my family needs me, that takes priority over anything else. Everybody has a story, and everyone faces personal challenges. Those experiences are part of who I am and have helped me develop perspective, resiliency and authenticity. Be clear on your values and what is important to you — both can shape a healthy work-life balance and ensure you’re fully aligned. Be where you’re supposed to be. If you’re at work, make sure your mind and attention are there. If you’re with family and friends, give them all of yourself. And don’t be apologetic about making time for yourself. It’s one of the most important gifts you can give yourself and everyone around you.

Proud family accomplishment: I am proud my husband, Barry, and I raised our three daughters to be independent, caring and nurturing young women, each focused on pursuing service-oriented careers. Our third daughter is a neuro-ICU nurse who has been caring for COVID patients in Charlotte and is now moving into a pediatric clinic serving underserved patients. Our middle daughter is a 4th-grade public school teacher, committed to kids who need role models. Our first daughter passed away in 2014 at the age of 23, and at that time, was about to embark on a career in helping women who were victims of abuse. She was an amazing woman and passionate about rescue animals, especially dogs. In honor of her, we built a 12-acre dog park in Fort Mill, S.C., where we raised our family. We also established a scholarship program in her name at her alma mater, Clemson University. My family is what centers me, gives me my strength and is the most important thing in my life by a long shot. Their love, guidance and support have enabled everything for me.

founder, chair, CEO | Live Oak Bancshares


The former Wachovia Bank manager and financial technology pioneer started Live Oak Bank in 2008, focusing on Small Business Administration lending. The digital-oriented company was valued at $2.4 billion in early April. He’s a graduate of Washington & Lee University, and also a co-founder of software vendor nCino and the Canapi Ventures investment firm. Earlier this year, he was appointed to the UNC Wilmington Board of Trustees.

Pre-workday motivation: Work out at our Fitpark, and then walk the dog and listen to a Tim Keller sermon.

Key to industry success: We believe the future of community banking delivers an elegant digital experience enhanced by really good people. Banks must deliver services on next-generation platforms to stay relevant. Those who will be successful will embrace the change.

Best advice: Put all your eggs in one basket and watch the basket.

Three people to share a meal: My wife, my son and my daughter.

Proud family accomplishment: Their love of Christ and each other.

Favorite hobby: Anything outdoors, especially if it involves good people, a beautiful view and a cooler full of quail or trout.

Where to entertain a visitor: Straight to the Live Oak Bank campus. We have built a really special place here in Wilmington and it never fails to surprise people when they see the place our folks call home.

CEO | Parsec Financial


The Western Michigan University graduate joined the wealth manager in 1996. He is on the boards of the Buncombe County Schools Foundation and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy .

Pre-workday motivation: I like to wake up early and read.

Key to industry success: Be humble and never stop learning.

Best advice: The harder you work the luckier you get.

Three people to share a meal: Ron Chernow, Tim Cook and Benjamin Franklin.

Proud family accomplishment: We encourage and support one another.

Favorite hobby: A casual round of golf.

Where to entertain a visitor: Into the woods and along beautiful mountain streams.

head of global human resources | Dimensional Fund Advisors


The Brown University graduate heads the East Coast headquarters office for Austin, Texas-based Dimensional, which had $680 billion under management on Dec. 31. Its Charlotte site opened three years ago. He joined in 2008 after working at Goldman Sachs.

president | First Bancorp CEO | First Bank

Southern Pines

The Clemson University graduate has led the state’s biggest community bank since 2014. He also spent more than 20 years at Bank of America. First Bank has grown to more than $10 billion in assets with about 120 Carolinas branches.

Pre-workday motivation: Learning something new.

Key to industry success: Culture. It’s the baseline for our company.

Best advice: Don’t be afraid to fail.

Three people to share a meal: The Apostle Paul, Stephen A. Smith and Annika Sorenstam.

Proud family accomplishment: My children. They balance their faith with their work ethic and care about others.

Favorite hobby: Golf and walking on the beach.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Village of Pinehurst. It’s iconic, historic and timeless.

principal, global head, Investment Management Group Operational Risk | Vanguard Group


McCarthy, 50, has worked for the money manager for 22 years, holding his current post since 2020. He previously led personal investor services, and earlier, retail investor trading at the company, which has $8 trillion under management and 18,000 employees. He has degrees from Saint Joseph’s University, Boston College and Duke University.

Pre-workday motivation: Five minutes, fresh air and coffee. I start each day with a few minutes of meditation, which has been incredibly helpful as a stress stabilizer and in getting focused on the day ahead. Next up is a walk or run outside. I tend to run a little faster coming back to a fresh cup of morning coffee.

Best advice: My dad, Timothy McCarthy, gave me sound advice early in my career: “Don’t spend all your time trying to make the right decision, invest in making the decision right.” In other words, there isn’t always a perfect answer, but once you decide, commit to it 100%.

Proud family accomplishment: My wife, Lisa, and I have three children – Braeden, Mia and Paige. With two in college and one in high school, we appreciate that they have such a strong supportive relationship and connect with each other on a regular basis.

Favorite hobby: Early morning runs near our home and watching my three children play lacrosse. If I can’t make it to a game, I stream it later.

managing partner | Falfurrias Capital Partners


McMahan co-founded the private equity company with Hugh McColl Jr. and Marc Oken in 2006 and has been managing partner for four years. It pumps capital into growing, middle-market businesses. It’s raised nearly $2 billion so far through five funds. Among its more well-known investments are Duke’s Mayonnaise owner Sauer Brands and Industry Dive newsletters. McMahan, 47, has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Northwestern University. Before creating Falfurrias, McMahan previously worked for Chicago Growth Partners and Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., a former Charlotte investment bank.

Pre-workday motivation: My kids.

Key to industry success: No different than other industries: equal parts great team and great strategy.

Best advice: “Decide what to be and go be it.” Strategy is as much about being clear about what you are not as being committed to what you are.

Three people to share a meal: Jesus Christ, Jerry Garcia and Elon Musk.

Proud family accomplishment: [My wife] Anna and I have really enjoyed watching our kids develop diverse interests as they have grown.

Favorite hobby: Golf and guitar.

Where to entertain a visitor: North Carolina mountains.

co-founder, CEO | Captrust


Miller, 61, co-founded the investment management business in 1997 and has helped shepherd its growth to rank among the largest U.S. financial advisers, with more than $600 billion under advisement. Chicago-based GTCR bought at 25% a share in 2020. Miller previously was a senior vice president and investment adviser with Wachovia Bank’s Interstate/Johnson Lane brokerage business. He is a trustee at his alma mater, East Carolina University.

Key to industry success: While the wealth management and investment industry has for decades been dominated by the Wall Street banks and brokerage firms, Captrust decided to forge a different path. It was formed as a Registered Investment Advisor, in which we serve as fiduciaries for our clients. We are contractually bound to always put our client’s interests ahead of our own. This seems obvious, but the brokerage industry is held to a substantially lower standard. Today, our emerging cottage industry of firms has surpassed some major Wall Street firms in total client assets, which is an astounding development. The lesson is clear: Take care of clients and they will take care of you.

Best advice: Regarding business, “leadership starts with knowing thyself.” (From leadership consultant, Gerry Bell.) Regarding personal advice, “When mama ain’t happy, daddy doesn’t play golf." (From my daughters, Cameron and Lauren Miller.)

Favorite hobby: Three-way tie: golf, reading and snow skiing.

CEO | First Bancorp

Southern Pines

The former state treasurer and head of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety has led rapid growth at the state’s biggest community bank since joining in 2012. He has degrees from Wake Forest University and the London School of Economics.

Pre-workday motivation: I have always had tremendous motivation the minute I wake up. It is my favorite time of the day and I am eager to get out and see what the world has in store that day.

Key to industry success: Any success I have achieved can be tied to hard work, what I call “professional curiosity.” Lifelong learning is so important. If you enjoy being curious and inquisitive, digging in and finding out how things work and why it is easier to figure out where you need to go.

Best advice: From my parents, always treat everyone the way you’d like to be treated.

executive vice president, division executive for commercial banking | Wells Fargo


Her first job was as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant at age 15. Now she oversees commercial banking for businesses with $2 billion or more in annual revenue. A UNC Chapel Hill finance graduate, Morrison, 50, has been in that role since 2019. She joined a unit of its predecessor, Wachovia Securities, in 2003.

Pre-workday motivation: I am motivated every day by being with our team and our clients. I love what we are able to do at Wells Fargo in working across the commercial bank, solving problems, delivering for clients, and helping our team grow in their careers. My two dogs and my husband’s great coffee help too.

Key to industry success: Knowing our clients is the key to our being able to support their success, and thus ours. When we understand what an owner and executive team want to accomplish strategically, we can bring new ideas and be exceptional advisors.

Best advice: Spend more time actively listening than talking. In any setting, work, community or family, and in good times or times of stress, this orientation has served me well and has helped me learn and assess quickly, and build lifelong relationships.

Three people to share a meal: Condelezza Rice, Galileo Galilei and Jacques Cousteau.

Proud family accomplishment: I am proud of my grandparents and great-grandparents coming to our country and building their families and businesses from nothing. I am also very proud of the many accomplishments of our two daughters and the strong, smart and kind people they have become, not to mention both are award-winning Lincoln-Douglas debaters.

Favorite hobby: I enjoy the outdoors in every way from the coast to the mountains. I love learning too and have been personally immersing myself in the evolution of blockchain, fintech and payments.

Where to entertain a visitor: The U.S. National Whitewater Center, lakes, or one of our many trailways are my favorite spots to take guests. We always look for new restaurants, too.

president | Franklin Street Partners


Newell, 63, joined the wealth management firm in 2009 after 27 years with Wachovia. He is a graduate of N.C. State University.

Key to industry success: Talent retention is the single biggest controllable.

Best advice: Do a good job with the task you have and the rest will take care of itself.

Three people to share a meal: George W. Bush, Gayle King and Jim Valvano.

Proud family accomplishment: We love each other unconditionally.

Favorite hobby: Fishing and then golf.

co-founder, managing partner | Plexus Capital


Painter’s firm oversees middle-market investments of more than $1.4 billion with most companies having less than $150 million in annual revenue. Plexus, with offices in Charlotte and Raleigh, has more than 130 investments that are managed by a staff of 32. He previously worked at RBC Centura.

founder, managing general partner | Pappas Capital


Pappas worked at GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott Laboratories before starting his firm in 1994. He’s invested more than $750 million in 85 companies. He’s on the board at N.C. Biotechnology Center. He has degrees from Ohio State and Xavier universities.

executive vice president, head of global technology and operations | MetLife


He joined the big insurer in 2019 after serving as head of operations for Bank of America’s consumer, small business, wealth management and private banking units. He also worked at General Electric Capital Services. He has a bachelor’s and MBA from Bentley University.

Pre-workday motivation: I’ve completed seven marathons and 25 half marathons. You can always catch me early in the morning running. I follow up with a cup of espresso.

Key to industry success: Embracing change and coupling it with a willingness to reimagine what’s possible. The wants and needs of the customer are constantly changing. We must go beyond being customer-centric to become truly customer-obsessed so that we can deliver the remarkable experiences they expect.

Best advice: Three mentors that helped define my career are powerful women in financial services: Cathy Bessant, Barbara Desoer and Margaret Keane. The best advice they gave me is that the only person who defines you is you. The strength you need is inside of you. You set your own limits.

Three people to share a meal: Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and computer programmer Grace Hopper.

Proud family accomplishment: My four daughters — and all the credit goes to my wife. She and I taught them to follow their dreams. I see them confidently forging their own paths using the life lessons we taught them. It’s the greatest reward.

Favorite hobby: Travel. Visiting my native country of Greece is always at the top of the list.

Where to entertain a visitor: Charlotte’s Opera Carolina.

co-founder, general partner | Truebridge Capital Partners

Chapel Hill

The UNC Chapel Hill alum and partner Mel Williams have been raising money since 2007. They now have $5 billion of assets under management. Poston previously worked in private equity at the Rockefeller Foundation. Dallas-based P10 Holdings acquired TrueBridge in 2020.

president, CEO | Coastal Federal Credit Union


Purvis, 64, is a UNC Greensboro graduate, along with degrees from Cornell and the University of Virginia business school. Coastal Federal has since 1967 grown into one of the state’s largest credit unions, with about two-dozen branches, mostly in central North Carolina, and $3 billion in deposits.

Pre-workday motivation: Making a positive difference in the financial lives and dreams of our 300,000 members.

Key to industry success: Compassion, innovation and collaboration.

Best advice: Hire people who are smarter than you are.

Three people to share a meal: Elon Musk, MacKenzie Scott and Mike Pence.

Proud family accomplishment: Married for 35 years. Two sons who are married, college graduates, homeowners and employed in their field of choice. Two grandsons and a third on the way.

Favorite hobby: Golf and sports cars.

Where to entertain a visitor: Carolina Hurricanes hockey game.

president | Salem Investment Counselors


The Wake Forest University law graduate and Indiana University MBA joined Salem in 1984. Now with $2.5 billion under management after nearly 40 years in business, Rea’s firm has been ranked first or second in CNBC’s Financial Advisor 100 for three consecutive years.

Triangle regional president | TowneBank


TowneBank started in 1999 in Virginia and expanded with the 2017 purchase of Raleigh-based Paragon Commercial Bank, which Reid joined in 2001. Reid gained his current post in 2018. He previously worked at First Citizens. He has degrees from Case Western Reserve and Ohio State universities.

managing partner | SharpVue Capital


A Duke University graduate with a Georgetown University law degree, Roberts is a former state budget director and is a current member of the UNC Board of Governors. Since 2016 he has led the money manager that has real estate, credit and equity funds. It has spun off from original sponsor Raleigh-based insurer Curi, which remains a partner.

Key to industry success: Luck plays a much bigger role than most people want to admit.

Best advice: “Marry that girl” (from my mother).

Where to entertain a visitor: At the risk of alienating my Chapel Hill friends, I enjoy showing off Duke’s campus. It never fails to impress.

president, CEO | Truist Financial


Last fall, Kelly King called his successor “perfectly equipped to take the company forward.” He has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Georgia State University. He joined SunTrust Banks in 1980 and became CEO in 2011. He helped arrange the merger with BB&T to create Truist. He’s a member of the Emory University board and Charlotte Executive Leadership Council.

state president | United Community Bank


From his first job as a warehouse janitor, Rose entered banking with First Union. He later became regional president of Yadkin Bank, now owned by FNB. The Wake Forest University graduate joined Greenville, S.C.-based United Community as N.C. president in 2017 and oversees about three dozen offices.

Pre-workday motivation: My daughter provides a lot of energy for our family as she gets ready for school.

Key to industry success: Relationship building. It may sound cliche, but it really is that simple. With an ever-increasing emphasis on technology, our personal approach to banking makes a dramatic difference.

Best advice: Build routines for the most important things. Communicate and then communicate again.

Proud family accomplishment: They are all encouragers. We see a lot of joy in the world but also see the suffering. My family seeks to encourage those who need it.

Favorite hobby: Classic cars.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Angus Barn.

CEO | Curi


Curi, formerly called Medical Mutual of North Carolina, serves its member-owners with increasingly diverse services. Sandner is a Towson University graduate who joined the company 11 years ago. He’s a Rex Healthcare board member, active in the Raleigh Chamber and a baseball coach at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.

Pre-workday motivation: Reading. I start my days reading in areas such as general business, investment markets, health care and politics.

Key to industry success: Recruiting and retaining the best people. Even with advancements in technology, data, AI and the like, ours remains a people business. What we have to sell are trust, advice and service.

Best advice: Keep your eye on the ball. It remains critical as I attempt to distinguish signal from noise on a daily basis.

Favorite hobby: I love watching my sons play all sports, and I particularly enjoy coaching baseball and playing golf.

president, CEO | M&F Bancorp


His father was a politician in Delaware and he tried his hand at state government there but decided he could have a greater impact in banking. The Morehouse College graduate has headed Mechanics & Farmers since 2014.

Pre-workday motivation: I like to tune into CNBC to see what’s happening in the financial markets.

Key to industry success: Tenacity and leadership skills to motivate employees to exceed customer expectations on a daily basis.

Best advice: Success is a journey. It’s important to be yourself.

Three people to share a meal: Barack Obama, Warren Buffett and Serena Williams.

Proud family accomplishment: My wife and I have raised three dynamic young women who are successful and centered. They know success is not achieved as an individual but as a total community.

Favorite hobby: Tennis and reading.

Where to entertain a visitor: Downtown Durham and Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

president, CEO | Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina


He grew up in a middle-class family in Nigeria and had polio as an infant. He earned a degree from the University of Ibadan College of Medicine there and added an MBA from the University of Memphis. He managed Medicaid services for Anthem Health before joining N.C. Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurer, in June 2020.

Pre-workday motivation: With everything going on around us, self-care is critical. I like to start my day with a morning jog. Followed by a cup of coffee and catching up on ever-evolving foreign, domestic and health care news with my family. I am privileged to lead and serve more than 5,000 employees, 4.5 million members and all 100 North Carolina counties. I am motivated to improve the health and well-being of all I serve.

Key to industry success: Alignment on your mission, vision and values, because health care is a complex industry. I believe leaders need to demonstrate a relentless focus on two things: making health care more affordable and making health care better for all. We are not going to truly succeed until we bring costs down and eliminate health disparities.

Best advice: My mother said, “You never give up. No matter how hard or difficult things may get, if it’s the right thing to do —never give up.” I’ve always tried to stay true to that advice and keep it in the back of my mind when I find myself in challenging situations.

Three people to share a meal: Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama.

Proud family accomplishment: We are a family of service. My wife and I have instilled a sense of mission-driven purpose in our children. We give back together through community service and volunteerism.

Favorite hobby: Spending time with my family. We enjoy movie nights, going to basketball games, volunteering and community service. Our favorite family activity is taking vacations together.

Where to entertain a visitor: Downtown Durham. The friendly people, fantastic food and the beautiful ballpark create a fantastic atmosphere.

president, CEO | Brighthouse Financial


The Drew University graduate has held his post at the annuity and insurance provider since 2017. He previously had held leadership positions in retail, retirement, business and other sectors at predecessor company MetLife for 18 years. Brighthouse has more than $250 billion in assets.

chair, CEO | HomeTrust Bancshares


The second-largest community bank headquartered in North Carolina, HomeTrust has assets of $3.5 billion, with offices in South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, too. He’s a graduate of West Virginia’s West Liberty State College and joined Clyde Savings Bank in 1989. (The name changed in 2003.)

chair, CEO | New Republic Partners


The veteran N.C. banker has headed the lending and investment management company since its startup in 2020. He is vice chair of the Golden LEAF Foundation and chair of its investment committee, which oversees $1.3 billion in assets. The UNC Chapel Hill history and law graduate has had senior positions at several N.C. community banks during his 40-year career.

Pre-workday motivation: I exercise early and am motivated daily about our firm’s opportunities.

Key to industry success: Finding a niche and bringing talented colleagues into the plan to exploit the myriad opportunities.

Best advice: Don’t ever make a decision when it’s dark.

Three people to share a meal: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan.

Proud family accomplishment: We have a small family and are extremely close.

Favorite hobby: Travel, history and golf.

Where to entertain a visitor: Reimagined and revitalized communities in our city.

managing director | Credit Suisse


Walker has held his post since 2018 at the Swiss banking giant, which has 48,000 global employees, including those at its major tech and operations center in Research Triangle Park. He previously worked at Salomon Brothers and Citigroup. He has degrees from Caldwell and Fairleigh universities in New Jersey.

Pre-workday motivation: Exercising in the morning prior to work usually gets me ready for the workday.

Key to industry success: Using technology as an enabler to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions to the bank and our clients that are optimized and highly efficient. Technology is such a key component of the bank’s success.

Best advice: My father always encouraged me to give it my best in whatever I do. Whether playing sports or in the workplace, he said no matter what you do or what job you have, make sure you give it your all and to always have pride in what you do.

Three people to share a meal: Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton.

Proud family accomplishment: My family has a strong sense of togetherness and closeness. I’ve always looked forward to Sunday meals with my family growing up and today.

Favorite hobby: I enjoy hiking and doing nearly anything outdoors. I also enjoy playing sports and going to sporting events and concerts.

Where to entertain a visitor: Raleigh has a great brewery scene. I enjoy taking the visitors to local breweries and experiencing the food trucks.

North Carolina commercial banking manager | Regions Bank


The UNC Chapel Hill graduate entered banking with First Citizens in Charlotte. A Rowan County native, he earned a law degree from Charlotte School of Law and joined Regions in 2014. He took his current post in 2020.

executive vice president, Triangle and eastern N.C. market executive | Wells Fargo


Ward joined predecessor First Union in 1988, after graduating from East Carolina University. While moving up through the ranks for 33 years, he has chaired the Wake County Economic Development Board and ECU Business Advisory Council.

Pre-workday motivation: I am an early riser, and my goal is to work out every morning before I go to work. I try to mix it up with a combo of running, hitting the gym and visiting some workout sites with my F3 friends.

Key to industry success: Success in commercial and middle-market banking requires strong analytical and communication skills, the ability to build deep and lasting relationships with both customers and team members, and an entrepreneurial spirit that drives you to want to be a lifelong learner.

Best advice: My dad lived an incredible life with experiences that included growing up in a small town, working on the water, serving his country in the Korean War, and being wounded, going to college on the GI Bill, losing his wife unexpectedly with two small children as a young man and having to regroup and pick up the pieces, and then going on to have a successful career in corporate America. He lived a life dedicated to his family and faith. His advice was to enjoy each day and build lasting relationships and work through challenges as a part of life. Your dedication to faith, family, and friends will keep you grounded and position you for success and a rich life.

Three people to share a meal: Ronald Reagan, Louis Zamperini and Jackson Browne.

Proud family accomplishment: I was fortunate to be raised in a wonderful family with terrific parents grounded in family, faith and friends. I am proud that my wife and two grown daughters live this each day.

Favorite hobby: Golf, fishing, boating and just about anything outdoors. We are fortunate to have many great coastal areas in Eastern N.C.

Where to entertain a visitor: Our great college campuses; the Capital Area Greenway; the state art, history and natural sciences museums; and a Carolina Hurricanes game.

chief commercial community banking officer | Truist


The 32-year employee of Truist and predecessor BB&T is responsible for all commercial banking, including business, middle-market banking and commercial real estate. He is a member of the bank’s executive leadership team, having assumed his current role in 2019. The UNC Chapel Hill MBA is a board member of the Lineberger Cancer Center in Chapel Hill.

Key to industry success: Effectively build meaningful and mutually supportive, long-lasting relationships with your clients and teammates.

Best advice: One of my first mentors told me to find a company that is aligned closely with your personal purpose and values. This will ultimately lead to a more rewarding career as you will enjoy better teamwork, increased productivity, greater success and happiness.

Favorite hobby: Fishing and being on the water with my family and friends. When I can enjoy this hobby with my family, it brings it all together.

president, CEO | Fidelity Bank


The East Carolina University graduate signed on as a teller at age 17 in 1987 at the bank controlled by Raleigh’s Holding family. She became an accounting officer and later, chief financial officer. In 2010, she became CEO. Assets now top $2.6 billion.

chief retail and small business banking officer | Truist


Named Digital Banker of the Year in 2021 by American Banker, he started with BB&T as a UNC Charlotte student in 1995. He took his current post in February after serving as chief digital and experience officer since 2018.

founder, CEO | Morgan Creek Capital Management

Chapel Hill

The graduate of Notre Dame University and the University of Chicago came south to head the UNC Chapel Hill endowment office in 1998. In 2004 he formed his company, which has about $1.9 billion under management. He was an early advocate of bitcoin investments.