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‘This Industry Changes Lives’: Diana Dykstra Charts New Course

After more than four decades of financial services leadership, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra announced her plans to retire this year.

“The past 40-plus years have been an incredible journey,” Dykstra said. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to guide and collaborate with remarkable individuals, united by what I consider to be one of the most meaningful motivations.”

Dykstra’s retirement date is July 1, 2024. She has served in the top post at the Leagues for 14 years. Prior to her tenure there, she served as CEO of San Francisco Fire CU, CEO of CoastHills FCU, senior vice president for Patelco CU, and senior vice president for Golden 1 CU.

“This industry changes lives,” Dykstra said. “While I will soon mark the end of my tenure as CEO, it is only the beginning of a new journey filled with gratitude, pride, and the excitement for what lies ahead for me personally and for credit unions.”

Displaying a hallmark of exceptional leaders, Dykstra has built a thriving organization and strategically positioned the Leagues for the future, as well as member credit unions across California and Nevada, according to Leagues Executive Vice President Larry Palochik.

“Throughout her 42 years in our movement, Diana has continually made a positive impact on credit unions and their members, our system partners, and the industry at large,” Palochik said. “She has demonstrated visionary leadership by advocating and championing for cooperation and collaboration among all credit unions so they can provide their members with better services and products. She has articulated a compelling vision by going above and beyond in resonating with industry stakeholders. Because of her efforts, credit unions have aligned their vision with values and a sense of purpose.”

Never one to do things as “they’ve always been done,” Dykstra’s constant challenge of the status quo earned her accolades throughout her career. Among other honors, she was one of the first inductees into the Credit Union Museum’s “Credit Union Women Making History: Herstory” exhibit in 2022, was awarded the National Credit Union Foundation’s Herb Wegner Memorial Award in 2019 in recognition for her lifetime of service and received the American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ (AACUL) Eagle Award in 2014 – the highest possible honor for League service.

“Diana’s leadership has been an inspiration to so many in the credit union industry,” said Jennifer Denoo, CEO of Great Basin FCU and Nevada Credit Union League board chair. “Her legacy embodies the values, principles, and accomplishments that will continue to guide us for years to come.”

During Dykstra’s time at Golden 1, she led the team that developed the prototype of the Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) program. Now named Origence, the program has grown to position credit unions as the nation’s largest auto lenders.

“No one can deny the indelible mark Diana has had on credit unions in California, and that impact has carried forward to many areas of the credit union industry across the country,” said Geri LaChance, CEO of SESLOC FCU and California Credit Union League board chair. “She has been a true visionary, willing to make innovative moves to enhance revenue and efficiency. These innovations have been consistently evidenced from her early days at Golden 1 forming the nucleus of what would become a major national auto lender in CUDL.”

Dykstra’s career accomplishments are only matched by her service record. She currently is the board chair of the World Council of Credit Unions. She is also the president of Western CUNA Management School (WCMS), executive managing partner of Humanidei (an LLC of O’Rourke & Associates), serves on the boards of CUNA Strategic Services, Global Women’s Leadership Network, ViClarity, and Plexcity — a cooperative business for credit unions, trade associations, and member credit union leagues. She is also past chair of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL).

“Diana has been a tireless champion of credit unions, advocating to promote growth, sustainability, and relevance for the industry,” said Bill Cheney, chief executive officer of SchoolsFirst FCU and former president and CEO of America’s Credit Unions (formerly the Credit Union National Association), as well as former president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “Diana’s commitment is not merely professional; it’s deeply personal. We are continuously grateful for the enduring mark she has imprinted on this industry.”

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