Behind the scenes at SAFE Credit Union are six women who account for half of SAFE’s senior executive team. They come from diverse backgrounds and hold unique superpowers, but there is one thing that stands out among them all: hard work.
Meet Senior Vice Presidents Staci Corral, Gina Olson and Allison Yee-Garcia, and Executive Vice Presidents Colleen Nerius, Alexis Fitzpatrick and Tiffani Vargas. They are a strong force behind the company’s success as a leading credit union with 247,000 members and 750 employees — 66 percent of which are female.
Founded in 1940, SAFE operates 20 branches in the Greater Sacramento area and continues to be named as Sacramento Business Journal’s best place to work.
“I found the harder I worked, the more the doors began to open for me,” says Corral, who recalls when SAFE’s CEO came to her branch in 2003 to meet her during her first week on the job. “I’ve been truly blessed to work with amazing leaders that really have elevated me and my confidence. … They placed their trust in my leadership.”
“Thirty-two years ago, I applied for a job as a teller. If you work hard and show that commitment, care and empathy for our members, you are going to get those opportunities.” Gina Olson, Senior Vice President of Member Services and Operation
While Corral is overseeing the retail experience, Olson, who started with the company in 1991, has served as a technology executive for the majority of her career. She has also raised six children, who now range from 14 to 30 years old, and found that many aspects of motherhood translate to her profession, including being a caring and empathetic manager, a highly-skilled multitasker and a strong leader, motivator and advocate.
Olson is proud to work alongside the women in the senior executive team. “None of us are afraid to roll up our sleeves and work in the trenches along with our employees,” she says. “We are all experts in our chosen fields, good at effecting change and prioritizing our employees first.”
What’s their advice for the next generation? “To women just starting out, find your champions who believe in you and your efforts,” says Corral. “Know what your values are and stick to them. Never stop learning … and pause, look back and celebrate the wins.