Redwood Credit Union virtual services exec wins North Bay Women in Business award
Deirdre Thompson, senior vice president for virtual service delivery at Redwood Credit Union in Santa Rosa, is a winner of North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Women in Business Awards.
Professional background: 20+ years of strategic and operations leadership with a passion for service. Equipped with a unique blend of multi-generational and multi-channel skills.
Ability to deliver measurably happier and more loyal members, customers, and team members, along with sustainable growth.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, English, University of California, Berkeley. Western CUNA Management School, Pomona
Tell us about yourself and your company: Redwood Credit Union is a trusted local community credit union founded in 1950, and as a financial cooperative is focused on people – not profits. RCU’s values fit with my own of growth, service, and thriving communities.
I’m late to the credit union movement, having been a part of it for only ten years—after spending a lot of time in corporate banking—but this role offers me the connection between heart and mind that’s so important.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
One major accomplishment was the way our team members responded to the pandemic and were there for our members in ways we didn’t expect.
We’re passionate about service, so that part isn’t surprising, but what was surprising was the way our team members showed adaptability and selflessness. They were really there for our members, even as they dealt with their own personal challenges.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Being there for our members with real solutions in the most challenging times.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Building on what we’ve created in ways that elevate and strengthen our culture and fulfill our mission, vision, and values. The world has fundamentally changed, and not operating differently is not an option.
Words that best describe you: Curious, optimistic, determined, and resilient.
Personally, which of the adjustments you’ve had to make in your home life and career have been most challenging?
Maintaining clear boundaries and being okay with not being okay, and then doing something about it. Being intentional is effort in and of itself, so I practice.
How about the women you work with, or know outside the work place? What adjustments have they had to make?
Basically, reserving some of the grace they willingly extend to others for themselves when their plans (large and small) go awry, and celebrating the wins.
Lastly on COVID, which changes in routine or approach to your job you’ve made as the result of the pandemic will remain in place, either at work or in your outlook on your home life?
I’ve changed the way I connect with people virtually and have been more thoughtful about phone calls and meetings. Every discussion doesn’t require a meeting, and creating virtual fun is an important skill we need to maintain.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacles were preconceptions about my character and capabilities. Overcoming them with a strong support system, network, and simply getting it done while staying true to myself.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
Humanized and curated technology will become more and more seamlessly integrated into our lives. I expect it to be inclusive, multi-lingual, and enabling. In short, it should feel good.
Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person.
There were a few: Hilda Costa, Marti Levada, and Ed Hawthorne. All of them were fearless, creative, and curious problem solvers who got things done by empowering their teams and engaging diverse groups in a common goal.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?
Know your worth, evolve, learn, and build a strong support system.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Stacy Abrams
Typical day at the office: Meetings, collaboration, data review for patterns/what is new/has changed, strategic work, prep for the next day.
Best place to work outside of your office: My backyard
Current reading: “Breath, the New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor, and the 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
Most want to meet: Mary Ellen Pleasant
Social media you most use: Twitter – I have a short attention span.
Stress relievers: The outdoors, deep breathing, and quality time with the people I love.
Favorite hobbies: Reading, traveling, dancing
What would parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?
My parents would say that they are proud of the person I have become, and my husband would say that I love with my whole heart.