Morgan is first woman ever to lead BB&T in Albemarle
By William F. West
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Annalisa Morgan, the first woman ever to serve as a regional executive for BB&T in the Albemarle, doesn’t shy away from the moniker “pioneer.”
"I feel empowered, definitely," Morgan said of being the bank’s first female top executive in the region. "It feels good — and I hope that other women will take my lead one day and do the same, I really do."
As regional executive, Morgan oversees BB&T’s operations in Elizabeth City, Edenton, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk. The bank, which is headquartered in Winston-Salem, operates 1,900 financial centers in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and manages nearly $223 billion in assets.
Morgan, 52, joined BB&T in 2017 as a small-business banker before being promoted to her current job in August. She’s been working in banking in the region, however, since graduating from East Carolina in 1988 with a degree in business management and finance.
Morgan says it was at ECU that she first realized she wanted a career in banking. It was also during her college years that she had interesting experience one summer that she believes helped teach her the customer relations skills needed in the industry.
In the summer of her junior year, Morgan was working in Philadelphia in the marketing department for the company then known as Weyerhaeuser. Her father, Jesse Carawan, then worked at the timber giant as a computer analyst in Plymouth, where Morgan grew up.
As part of her job for Weyerhaeuser’s fine paper division, Morgan met face to face with customers, asking about their needs. In her role, she twice visited New York, which she described as “culture shock but also fun.”
Not only did the pace of life move faster in New York, the customers “deal fast, too," Morgan recalled. "I mean, they know what they want. They want you to come in and get on out," she said.
After graduating from ECU, Morgan started her banking career working for what was then Wachovia. She worked in Elizabeth City and Dare County for Wachovia, which is now part of Wells Fargo, for about 18 years. She then worked five years for Gateway Bank, which is now part of Xenith Bank, before BB&T approached her about a commercial banker’s job.
"They approached me and said, 'Would you be interested?'" she said. "And I said, 'Absolutely. I'll take a look at it.'"
Morgan said she particularly enjoys working with businesses and business owners.
"Since I'm from eastern North Carolina, I understand their issues that they have in just trying to grow their business in a small town," she said.
Morgan also enjoys working for BB&T, whose roots date back to 1872.
"I like that it's a large bank with a community bank feel to it," she said. "We also have so many more avenues that I can pull from that I didn't have in a smaller bank."
Morgan also likes the fact BB&T is involved in its communities and encourages employees to get involved as well. For example, she volunteered three days in Morehead City in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in September, providing food, water and other supplies to storm victims.
"That was a very humbling experience," she said.
Here at home, Morgan serves on the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
"That's where I get a lot of my information and a lot of push to help," she said.
She's also a member of the Elizabeth City Area Networking Executives, which she said is comprised of small-business owners and operators who meet monthly at College of The Albemarle.
Morgan likes the fact the Elizabeth City business community works closely together.
"We help one another,” she said. “I feel like that there is a major focus right now, especially in the downtown area, to enhance our small businesses — and to see them prosper."
Asked what her goals are for BB&T in the Albemarle, she said her approach likely will be "if it works, don't fix it."
"And it is working," she said of the bank's operations in the region.
Morgan is married and has three children, two of whom are in college and the other in high school.