Shannon Truax’s journey from high school English teacher to social media SVP at M&T Bank

Sprinklr Team

December 29, 20236 min read

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M&T Bank’s SVP of Social Media Shannon Truax was teaching Advanced Placement (AP) English at a high school in Washington State when a job at Microsoft caught her eye. She made the decision to transfer her writing and education skills into tech and then spent eight years working in the Windows organization, MSN, Bing and Microsoft Store. During this time, Shannon watched MSN Spaces, Friendster, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook shape the marketplace, and she knew that social media was not only her calling but was here to stay. She launched a blog, pitched a position, and began what has now been a 10+ year career in social media.

Shannon has helped build over 30 brands across client, agency, and publisher-side, including Microsoft, Land Rover, LG, GoDaddy, Thrillist, and most recently, M&T Bank. She has been a delegate at Cannes Lions, and her work has been recognized as a Digiday award winner for Best Use of Live Streaming and a finalist in Digiday’s Social Media Team of the Year Award.

We recently caught up with her to learn more about her unique path to her current role at M&T Bank, her move to the Big Apple, and a bucket list trip to Sapri, Italy.

Table of Contents

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Port Orchard, WA and attended undergrad and grad school at the University of Washington in Seattle. One of the things that I loved most about college was my position as a resident advisor, an important role in my life that had a profound impact on the professional career path that I would take. Daily, I fostered an environment that promoted safety, acceptance, collaboration, social activities and education.

With family in New Jersey, I often traveled east during my summers. During these visits, my Uncle Craig would take me into New York City, and I immediately fell in love with the buzz, how big everything was and the overall opportunities the city provides. At the time, I never imagined that I would one day be a New Yorker, but these visits laid the groundwork for the boldest move I’ve ever made.

Tell us about your path to your current role as SVP of Social Media at M&T Bank.

In 2012, I took a leap of faith and did something that I always wanted to do: I moved to New York City, where I have lived for the last 10+ years.  

I spent my first ten months adjusting to the massive change, networking for my next job and building a new community of friends. Many New Yorkers showed up to help and support me on my journey, and soon, I landed a fantastic position at Wunderman, leading the Land Rover social media business. And while I always said I would never drive in NYC, I was driving Range Rovers all over the city and tri-state area, creating content for our Tumblr blog. Fun fact: we made the Tumblr Theme Index, and David Karp, Tumblr’s founder, sent me a framed, signed copy of the issue with a card. 

Next, I led the social media practice at Hearst’s agency, iCrossing. I built a team, supported my first Super Bowl commercial, covered CES, grew a new revenue stream and even shook hands with Malcolm Gladwell on a yacht in Cannes. I then went publisher-side to design new ad products at Thrillist. After five years, I went back in-house as Global VP of Brand Social at GoDaddy to refresh the brand. One highlight (there are many!) that I’m most proud of is School of Hustle, a video series I wrote, hosted and produced that drove millions of views.  

While at GoDaddy, I never felt I was selling a domain or a website; instead, we were selling the idea of independent achievement. Entrepreneurship. Launching a side hustle or making your side hustle your main hustle. The most natural next stop for me? A financial institution! 

During the height of COVID, I applied for my current position at M&T Bank. This was a unique position because this was the first time M&T Bank was hiring for a social media director. Seeing a team so focused on their people and their communities was also rare and wonderful. 

What do you love most about your job?

I love many things about working at M&T — our unwavering commitment to the communities we serve, the collaboration across the team, and a set of core values that genuinely speak to me. Over the last three years, I have tremendously enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity and freedom to build a social media program that I’m proud of. First, I designed a strategy, innovated our creative presence, and launched Instagram — tripling engagement. Next, I grew my team by hiring an exceptional executive communications professional to help me launch employee advocacy and effectively position our leaders across LinkedIn. After that, we launched robust social listening dashboards to provide real-time insight into the banking conversation, globally and regionally.

What’s one career accomplishment you are most proud of?

I’m so proud that M&T Bank hired me at the height of COVID to lead this incredible program. The opportunity here has been the highlight of my professional career, and I’m very proud and thankful that they believed in me.

How do you and your team use the Sprinklr platform?

We use Sprinklr to publish content, report our data, drive employee advocacy, provide customer service, and draw intelligence from our global and regional banking listening dashboards.

You’ve used Sprinklr at a few different companies. Tell us about your journey with Sprinklr.

I’m a huge Sprinklr fan. The platform is highly diverse and best-in-class, for sure. But for me, what sets Sprinklr apart is that outstanding customer service is at the core of Sprinklr’s DNA. They love their customers and work really hard to help their customers succeed. I’ve attended client summits where I’ve presented my program, exchanged ideas with peers and got a selfie with [Sprinklr CEO] Ragy Thomas. My customer success team is prompt, accurate and a true partner whenever I reach out. My partners at Sprinklr truly feel like they're an extension of my team.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done with Sprinklr’s platform?

Check out the case study we just did to learn more about the interesting things we’re doing with Sprinklr! 

What’s your Sprinklr pro-tip?

Learn how to use the platform, and don’t be afraid to be hands-on. While you can certainly email your Sprinklr Success team to make adjustments to your dashboards and content lists, I’ve found that knowing how to tool the backend myself helps me to be more efficient in my role. Your Sprinklr Success team will teach you how to use the platform.

What’s next on your personal bucket list?

I’m very close with my partner’s father, Mario, who is a highly inspirational 95-year-old man who immigrated from Italy to the U.S. in 1955. Mario hasn’t been to Italy in many years, and I’d like for us to fly him out to see his family in Sapri and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation together. And maybe elope while we’re there

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