Chief Operating Officer
As COO of First West Credit Union, Shelley Besse is responsible for leading regional operations across all of First West’s regional brands including Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings, and extending the organization’s commitment to being trusted advisors for its members and clients. Shelley’s a highly respected leader with extensive knowledge and experience in financial services. Creating excellence in the member experience has been a primary driver throughout her longstanding career with the credit union. In her role as chief operating officer, she remains committed to seeing things from the perspectives of First West Credit Union members, local businesses and communities.
Since joining Envision Financial in 1984, Shelley Besse has held a number of senior roles related to branch operations including branch manager; manager, financial planning; assistant vice-president, branch operations; vice-president, sales and service and vice-president, risk management and operations. She was appointed to lead First West Credit Union’s transition efforts in 2009 and successfully mapped out a three-year plan to bring together several Valley First and Envision operations under First West Credit Union and evolve the organization’s new operating model. This was followed by over a year serving as First West’s senior vice-president of operations, sales and member experience where she focused on providing staff with the best possible operations support and for developing and implementing an enterprise-wide continuous improvement strategy known as Lean. In January 2012, Shelley became president of the Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union and in January, 2016 she was appointed as chief operating officer of First West.
In 2012, Shelley received international recognition for her leadership and business acumen when she was awarded a Silver Stevie Award in the category of Female Executive of the Year – Consumer Services –11 to 2,500 Employees and a Bronze Stevie Award in the category of Female Executive of the Year in Canada.
Among her many credentials, Shelley holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, a certificate in financial planning, is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, specializing in strategy and organizational design and has received an Operational Risk Management professional designation from the International Council for Operational Risk Management. Shelley currently serves as chair for the Surrey Board of Trade.