post archives

February 28, 2012

It’s hard explaining the role of a CEO to a nine-year-old. But that was the task put to First West CEO Launi Skinner by her daughter one rainy Vancouver weekend while the two were mixing up some cupcake batter in their kitchen.

Launi smiles as she reflects on her response. “Well, I paused for a moment and gave a straight honest answer: I listen a lot so I can help others a lot. That’s what I do. Sure, maybe I was simplifying it a bit, but in essence, that’s...

 
Lean
February 27, 2012

Lean lessons for credit unions from Canadian Tire 

For many business leaders, Lean practices are often consigned to the manufacturing sector. Increasingly, though, service-oriented organizations are recognizing the benefits Lean philosophy and approaches can have on their business operations and bottom-line. I came across this insightful...

 
Lean
February 15, 2012

4 must-read Lean books for every credit union leader

For years, the name Toyota has been synonymous with words like value, quality, productivity and profitability. Much of Toyota’s success is attributed to its management philosophy and practices, widely and simply referred to as “Lean.”

Over the past two years, First West has adopted Lean thinking in its business efforts—and the results are paying off.  For us, lean thinking is all...

 
People
January 24, 2012

As an eight-year-old, Shawn Neumann remembers going down to the local Clearbrook Credit Union branch to open a savings account.

“My grandfather was one of the founders of Clearbrook Credit Union,” says Shawn. His grandfather was account #4 at the credit union, which would grow into First Heritage Savings and Envision credit unions, eventually becoming First West Credit Union. Shawn deposited his first few dollars in 1980 and he’s been a member ever since.

With...

December 15, 2011

When Kristi Miller talks about First West Capital’s successful first year, she does so in metaphors about running. The co-founder, vice-president and long-distance runner, who has logged four marathons and is training for her fifth, knows that growing a business is not a sprint, but rather "an endurance sport.” While the market has responded enthusiastically to First West Capital’s investment philosophy and style, the best is still yet to come, and  Kristi...

 
People
December 14, 2011

When Paulette Rennie, President of Valley First, took her first banking job as DDA clerk 35 years ago, she was fresh out of grade 12 and thought it was a short term gig. Paulette intended to pursue nursing, but when she discovered she had a knack for numbers and an inspirational mentor as manager, she stuck with the financial industry.

“When you’re a kid and you’re excelling at something you really enjoy, why not make a career of it? I absolutely loved working at the...