President & CEO
Numerica Credit Union
Number of employees you oversee: 660
Brief background about the business:
Numerica Credit Union understands life and money are in constant motion. We help protect and advance more than 170,000 members’ financial health by offering better rates, lower fees, no-stress services and outstanding support. Numerica gives back to support the communities where our members live, work and play. The credit union partners with hundreds of organizations that focus on uplifting youth and families. Numerica does this through philanthropy, volunteerism and corporate sponsorships.
How did you land your current role? How long have you been in it?
Credit unions have been a part of my life since I was a teenager. My first job was with a small credit union in my hometown of Los Angeles. At a young age, I was told that women don’t become CEOs of large credit unions. I became determined to be a CEO by the age of 35. At 32, I moved my family from LA to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to become the president and CEO of CitizensFirst (now Verve) Credit Union.
When the CEO position at Numerica Credit Union became available in 2011, I was contacted by a recruiter to apply. I interviewed with the board and it was a match. I can proudly say that every day with Numerica’s team has been a gift. Under my leadership, the organization has grown from 13 branches to 21, doubled the amount of team members and increased assets by more than $2.5 billion.
How has the credit union industry evolved since you first started working in it?
The credit union industry has, I would say, grown up since I started working in it. When I started, credit unions only offered basic consumer products, that is savings, checking, certificates of deposit, auto loans and perhaps home equity loans. Today, like Numerica, most credit unions offer a full range of consumer products including the basic ones, first mortgages, recreational vehicles, boats, etc. In addition, many offer, as Numerica does, a suite of business deposit products, commercial loans and wealth management services.
Can you talk about Numerica’s presence and growth in the Tri-Cities, and why this is an important market for you?
Across the Tri-Cities, Numerica’s membership has grown 78% in the past five years. This past decade, we expanded from three branches to six. Our Tri-Cities presence started with only five departments. It consisted of areas like retail, home loans and business services teams. Currently, we have 15 departments that include a digital member service center, operations and training teams, accounts control and more. In the digital service center, there are a dozen team members, many of whom are bilingual, to serve members right where they live.
Throughout the Tri-Cities, I wanted more people to experience the Numerica difference. By expanding our team and reach, the community is able to receive more than great products and services from our amazing team. We’re also able to partner with nonprofit organizations and make a difference for youth and families across Central Washington.
If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry?
I would make sure everyone understood the value of credit unions. Many people still believe banks are their only options. Credit unions are not-for-profit, financial cooperative which is member owned. We are a great choice for consumers and businesses.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Hire talented people, empower them and then get out of their way to let them shine. They will delight you with their creativity and performance every single day.
Who are your role models or mentors?
First, I have to say my parents. They had a really strong work ethic and taught us by example. Then, early in my career, I had two people who mentored me, one of them was my boss and the other was a friend and colleague. They taught me what skills were important for being an effective leader and supported me as I traveled that journey.
For the last 11 years, it has been the Numerica team. Numerica has a culture that supports each other and promotes being brave in our conversations. We follow “Fierce Conversations” practices. The freedom to have fierce conversations holds each of us, including me, to a higher standard. I am a better leader when my teams give me honest feedback, whether that feedback is bad or good.
How do you keep your employees motivated?
Creating an organization where team members love to come to work, feel valued, cared for, challenged, invested in and have a shared sense of working for something bigger than themselves was my personal commitment when I became CEO. I set goals for employee and member wellness, financial strength and growing Numerica’s footprint across the Inland Northwest.
Since then, Numerica has been recognized as a top credit union with the Raddon Crystal Performance Award. This is a nationwide evaluation that looks at growth, financial ratios and efficiency. Numerica ranked among the top 11 for organizations larger than $1 billion in assets.
Numerica established Washington state’s first cannabis-banking program to make sure these all-cash businesses had a safe place for their cash and putting us on the map as an industry pioneer. We’ve volunteered more than 140,000 hours in the past decade and contributed more than $13 million in our communities. Above all else, our commitment to each other and to fulfilling our core purpose of enhancing lives, fulfilling dreams and building communities is at the forefront of everything we do.
What do you consider your leadership style to be?
Participative, transparent, communicative and compassionate.
How do you balance work and family life?
At Numerica, we believe in developing and supporting the whole person and therefore put family first. Most people work to have a happy life. We support our team members so they can have better work-life balance (flexibility, supportive benefits) and care for their families while doing good work for Numerica.
For me, I take time for myself and for my family, including my husband, kids and grandkids. Each morning I start with quiet time, meditating, catching up on emails and current events, then I exercise. It’s important to take care of oneself so there is enough left to give to others. When I had small children, commuted in the LA traffic and went to school to earn my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, I made sure my two young daughters were well taken care of at all times. This allowed me to focus on work and on school. During those really stressful times, I just took a deep breath realizing all is temporary, this too will pass.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
Spend time with my family, sail, bike ride, hike with my husband and dogs, cross country ski.
What’s your best time management strategy?
Don’t put things off, get them done when you have the time.
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