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|With scenic old town Downey behind her, Barbara Lamberth takes a break from life inside the office to reminisce about Downey FCU's history. She retired in October after working at the credit union for 40 years. She was CEO from 2005-2013.|
“Stick with it, Barbara. Ride this out. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” she recalls a colleague telling her. “He inspired me to stay here.”
It was 1974 and Lamberth was 23 years old, serving as a receptionist for Downey School Employees FCU. California was at the forefront of the aerospace industry, and destiny had its sights set on Jerry Brown as the next governor of the state—his first time in office. Nearly 23,000 U.S. credit unions were serving members, with 1,800 rooted in the Golden State.
The City of Downey, similar to so many other Los Angeles County suburbs, was taking on the look and feel of one of those “all-American” cities. Even today, the world's oldest McDonald’s restaurant sells burgers and fries out of a small 1950s archway structure on Lakewood Boulevard.
If anyone can attest to this, it’s Lamberth, a local girl through-and-through. “I lived in the same house in Downey from the day I was born until the day I got married,” she said.
Lamberth retired as CEO of Downey FCU in October. For 40 years she was involved—at one time or another—in every role possible, except accounting. She was CEO since 2005.
The editors of Credit Union Digest took a deep dive into what 40 years of service taught Lamberth. Click here to read her entire story within A CEO's Thoughts on Leadership on Pages 6-7 inside the December/January edition of CU Digest!