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Participants at the event

Leagues’ Sacramento Valley Network Spotlights CEO Panel

More than 150 professionals across the California Credit Union Leagues’ Sacramento Valley Network recently gathered to hear from some of the industry’s top leaders regarding forward-looking plans, special initiatives, financial capabilities, education and assistance for members, and the future of credit unions.

A special panel of credit union leaders — the “CEO Forum” — conversed on a stage at Hilton Sacramento Arden West hotel, sharing their views on professional development for new leaders in the audience, positive takeaways coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic era, diversity-equity-inclusion characteristics, and their organizations’ focal points for the near future. (You can view an entertaining six-minute video recap here!)

They touched on how their individual credit unions were uniquely positioned to help members going into 2023, how they plan to meet member needs as the economy potentially heads into a recession, what their favorite aspect of the credit union movement entails, and what “light is at the end of the tunnel” for credit unions this year. The importance of prioritizing member service, staying ahead of technological advances, and remaining committed to the credit union philosophy were in focus.

Attendees were eager to ask questions and listen-in to the combined decades-long experience of five credit union veterans who have helped grow the industry — from grassroots advocacy to financial wellbeing in local communities, to new and innovative ideas that have pushed the ball forward for the entire movement.

“We were thrilled to bring together such an esteemed group of CEOs to discuss important topics that affect our industry,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

Panelists included Diana Dykstra (the Leagues); Bill Cheney, CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU (Tustin, CA); Erin Mendez, CEO of Patelco CU (Dublin, CA); Kevin Miller, CEO of Travis CU (Vacaville, CA); and Faye Nabhani, CEO of SAFE CU (Sacramento, CA). Altogether, the four credit union CEOs represent more than 2 million members across California and nearly $40 billion in assets, with the Leagues representing more than 260 credit unions statewide that serve 13.2 million members and manage $240 billion in assets.

Adding to the lively networking and discussions throughout the event were Donna Bland, CEO of Golden 1 CU (Sacramento, CA); Jenna Lampson, CEO of Pacific Service CU (Concord, CA), and Caroline Redmann, CEO of Members 1st CU (Redding, CA).

Reporters from regional news media outlets were on hand to interview some CEOs about credit unions, consumer outreach, the industry’s member-owner model, and other hot topics as local households navigate economic uncertainty, ongoing inflation, and rising interest rates in 2023. Comstock’s Magazine spotlighted the event online and will also be including photos in its upcoming March print edition.

“Regional industry grassroots events such as the Leagues’ Sacramento Valley Network provide opportunities for those serving the credit union movement to come together and learn from one another,” said Dalia Velazquez, branch manager for SchoolsFirst FCU and chair of the Sacramento Valley Network. “I encourage all industry staff, vendors and advocates to participate in these groups to maximize the cumulative expertise and brain power for optimal success.”

The gathering was the largest meeting of Sacramento-area credit union professionals in over five years, as well as the first-ever League Network meeting since the former chapter system was redesigned. The Leagues officially announced League Networks last week. This new program focuses on the professional development, networking, and collaboration of credit union professionals within a designated geographical area.

“We were honored to bring together so many leaders and veterans of our industry in one place for our inaugural first-ever official League Networks gathering,” said Elise Schexnayder, solutions and membership manager for the Leagues. “We are excited to kick off this new era for both young and experienced credit union professionals across California and Nevada, and we look forward to the innovative discussions, aspirations, and initiatives that this new program will elicit from credit unions — for credit unions.”

Your staff’s participation in League Networks is a win for your entire credit union! Please email Elise Schexnayder and let the Leagues know the right individual(s) at your credit union who we should keep informed regarding Network updates for your local region. Having representation from your credit union will reveal opportunities that you may otherwise be missing out on.

The Sacramento Valley Network and the Leagues would like to thank Alliance Reverse Mortgage for being the platinum sponsor of this inaugural League Networks event!

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