post archives

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...

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.


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...

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...

December 12, 2011

New generation of women entrepreneurs ready to grow small business into big business

Out of necessity or passion, women throughout history have been active entrepreneurs. In Canada today, it’s reported that up to 50 per cent of small businesses are women-owned. But as plentiful as women-led small businesses may be, there are challenges. A 2009 University of Ottawa survey sums it up like this: women-owned businesses are “significantly smaller, less...

December 12, 2011

There’s a classic Apple commercial from the late ‘90s (yes, the era before iPods, iPhones and iPads) that inspires me every time I see it. It’s from their Think Different campaign and it came at a critical time in the company’s life. In many ways it set the stage for Apple and its explosive growth in the decade-plus that followed. The ad features images of world thinkers, shapers, artists and...