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Recruiter at Santa Rosa’s Redwood Credit Union wins Pride Business Leadership Awards

M.J. Salter

Talent acquisition manager

Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403; 707-576-5141; redwoodcu.org

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

M.J. Salter, talent acquisition manager in the Santa Rosa offices of Redwood Credit Union, is a 2022 winner of North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Business Leadership Awards.

About me

I was born in the South, where being part of the LGBTQ+ community wasn’t easy. I imagine, though, that those life experiences helped me appreciate the differences in people. I got my start in staffing by walking into a mom and pop staffing company and saying, “I can do this! Give me $50 bucks a week for gas and let me go find you clients.”

I was young and fresh out of college, and Jessica Brown (the owner) took a chance on me. I quickly fell in love with this profession and saw how I could help those underserved and disadvantaged by unfair hiring practices.

What I didn’t account for was the fact that being the cog in the wheel that helped someone change their life would inevitably change my life for the better. Day in and day out, I get to help people “level up” or achieve a better life for their families. It’s the most rewarding field there is.

In July 2017, I moved to the North Bay, just two months before the Tubbs Fire. And here, I saw something in the people that stuck with me. In the aftermath of the fires, members of the community showed loyalty, perseverance and determination.

I saw a group of people diverse — in color, sexual orientation, political viewpoints, religious beliefs and more — come together to share a meal, put in hard work and rebuild their community. It changed me, and I knew Sonoma County would remain my home.

Some questions…

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of your organization, your work and/or your community activities when it comes to the Pride movement?

The credit union model was built on the philosophy of “people helping people” to make sure that everyone had equal financial opportunity. I think that’s what most attracted me to RCU. I’m honored to work for an establishment that has a 72-year history of showing up for its communities and helping when needed.

RCU has given me the ability to be my authentic self at work and has asked for my assistance in designing a workplace that allows everyone we hire to do the same.

On the surface, its super simple, but I hear many horror stories from candidates about their experiences at other workplaces.

As a successful professional, what are the biggest obstacles you face and how are you working to overcome them?

To me, the biggest obstacle is representation. I believe the more we see things, people, and ideas that are new to us, the easier it is to change our views and biases. Becoming aware of what is not the norm has changed my viewpoint on many issues over time.

What steps would you like to see in the North Bay business community to prioritize diversity and inclusion?

While I can’t speak for other businesses in the North Bay, here at RCU, we will continue to explore inclusive lending opportunities that support the goals and dreams of all members of the community.

M.J. Salter

Talent acquisition manager

Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95403; 707-576-5141; redwoodcu.org

Learn more about this year’s Pride Business Leadership Awards winners.

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