Impacting Lives at Southern First

Written by Irene Kyere, Southern First

At Southern First, our philosophy is that relationships come first, and our mission is to impact lives in the communities we serve. These guiding principles are the foundation of our strategy and decision-making. Our team cares deeply about what they do, and they are dedicated to serving others.

Building A Diverse Workforce
A part of our culture is the partnership among all associates at the company. As partners, we have respect for each individual, accept diversity of ideas, encourage innovation, display openness and trust in our relationships, and recognize quality achievements.

We recognize that a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment is essential to our success, and we prioritize hiring from a diverse candidate pool through our recruiting initiatives and collaborations within our community.

In 2022, we invested significant financial and human resources to further our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. As a result:

  • 35% of our new hires were ethnically diverse
  • 57% of our new hires were female
  • 67% of our associates received DEI training
  • Members of our Human Resources department completed over 72 hours of DEI professional development training
  • Our Chief Human Resources Officer achieved the SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential

Southern First also formed an internal Diversity and Inclusion Council in 2022. This team of diverse members serves as a voice and champion in leading opportunities for inclusion through education, outreach, and conversation internally and within our communities.

Last year, I was sponsored by Southern First to take a diversity program through the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, “Other Voices”. This well-organized 12-month program brought a lot to light which continues to make me lead with a servant heart!

Investments in the Community
To support our mission of impacting lives, we invest in the community through various means, including monetary donations and sponsorships, direct investments, community outreach, and volunteer efforts. In 2022, we executed a purpose-led initiative to provide additional resources within minority communities. We gave:

  • $509K in philanthropic and community gifts
  • $240K donations to support low to moderate income individuals
  • $104K in events and sponsorships within minority communities
Families Together

We encourage our associates to actively support our community by volunteering their time, contributing monetarily, and utilizing our banking services and financial expertise to empower our community members.

In 2022, our Board members and employees conducted 942 hours of volunteer efforts with non-profits over 2022, provided financial expertise in a Board or Advisory Committee capacity for 39 different non-profits within our markets, and taught 68 hours of financial literacy courses to educate individuals from elementary school age to adults.

Here in Greensboro, our team has enjoyed serving with Families Together and offering financial literacy classes at Florida Street House Inc.

We are grateful for the privilege to serve our community and clients who trust us to provide a banking experience focused on care and a superior level of service.