Chairman of Pinnacle Financial Partners and University of Tennessee graduate Martha S. “Missy” Wallen will deliver the commencement address at the University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information’s commencement ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena on May 9 at 4 p.m.
Wallen is a longtime member and former chair (2015-2017) of the CCI Board of Visitors and has been an influential leader in the Knoxville community during her more than 40 year career in the financial services industry.
In July 2014, Wallen was named chairman of Pinnacle Financial Partners, a Middle Tennessee-based bank system with operations in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. She previously served as regional president for Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) in Knoxville from 2007-13.
She started her banking career as a teller at First National Bank and steadily rose up the industry ranks, holding leadership positions at Valley Fidelity Bank and Trust Company, Bank of East Tennessee, and BankFirst, which was acquired by BB&T in 2000.
In addition to serving on the CCI Board of Visitors, Wallen is a past board member and executive committee member of the UT Knoxville Alumni Association. She also served as a member of UT Knoxville’s Chancellors Associates.
Her volunteer civic work and board service include: board member and audit chair of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee; vice chairman of The Development Corporation of Knox County; past treasurer of the Executive Women’s Association; past chairman of the American Red Cross, Knoxville Area Chapter; past chairman of The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; and member of the Great Smoky Mountain Sertoma. She was part of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2004.
Wallen has won a number of awards including: the 2017 UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors Alumni Service Award, the 2006 BB&T East Tennessee Region President’s Award, and Knoxville Catholic High School’s Volunteer Coach’s Award. In recognition of her tremendous generosity and support of CCI, The Martha S. Wallen Classroom was dedicated in her honor on March 5, 2010. In 2016, Wallen created the William H. Swain Endowed Professorship, in honor of her father, in CCI’s School of Communication Studies.
Wallen graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Theater. She later earned a degree from from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University (’88) and completed the Owen School of Management Executive Leadership Program at Vanderbilt University (’99).
Wallen is married to Joe B. Wallen Jr. They have two daughters: Hallie Elizabeth and Marianne Connolly.