Manager at Santa Rosa's Redwood Credit Union wins North Bay Latino business leadership award
Some in the Latino community were not prepared for the pandemic financial crisis, said Alma Magallon of Redwood Credit Union, a 2020 winner of the Business Journal’s North Bay Latino Business Leadership Awards.
Professional background: Began working for RCU in 2010 as an entry level position in our member service center. I have been able to move up with in our organization as our lead trainer, then supervisor and now assistant manager
Education: Santa Rosa Junior College – associates degree, administration of justice; Sacramento State University, major: criminal justice; minor: sociology
Staff: I currently have 11 representatives who report to me.
Tell us your story and that of your organization: From an early point in my life I quickly realized that I loved to volunteer and to be involved in what was going on my community. Helping others is something that is truly rewarding, and something that became a passion of mine.
At one point I felt that a career in criminal justice would allow me the opportunity to work with our underserved youth. I pursued an education in this field, only to finish my schooling in 2008 when many parts of our county sectors had either hiring freezes or were laying off their employees.
I worked for a local nonprofit working with at risk youth, however funding soon became an issue and we had to close our doors.
It was at this point that I learned about RCU and the fact that they had a call center. Having call center experience, I decided to apply, thinking that this would be my temporary job until I could get my foot in the door back in the corrections field.
Ten years have gone by since then and I’m still here, and I can’t see myself working anywhere else. RCU is certainly much more than just a financial institution and our commitment to our community is what motivates me to come to work each day.
Here at RCU we truly believe in doing the right thing and our mission statement allows us to do what a CO-OP was built to do which is people helping people, and because of our values I have been able to continuously serve my community which has been and continues to be an important part of my life.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
The achievement that I am most proud of is being able to be part of Saint Joseph’s Community Building Initiatives program and meeting with their directors to explain why their services were extremely needed in the neighborhood of South Park. I have lived in South Park for over 30 years and have seen how what little resources we at one point did have are now completely gone.
Meeting with Saint Joseph’s and then having our neighborhood be selected as their new 3-year project has been extremely rewarding as I am part of the core team and can share my own personal experiences on growing up in this neighborhood.
We are working to have that collective voice that has lacked over the years and bring our neighborhoods concerns to our city council. We are providing our neighborhood residents the opportunities to get involved and we are working to bring in resources to our community and to our children.
I am now raising my own family in this neighborhood and I refuse to let my children be labeled by our law enforcement, by our school systems, and by our society because of where we live. To be able to be part of a movement to change the stigma South Park has had over the years is something I am extremely proud of.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Not having enough time.
Working full time, having two little ones, one of which is doing distance learning, being part of the South Park CBI core team and being part of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce can at times feel overwhelming and when our community faces challenges such as the recent fires, it depends on volunteers to get through these hardships.
Not having the time to help when our community needs us, is what I see as a challenge because I want to help in any way that I can.
However, being able to prioritize my responsibilities and volunteer at events where I can bring my son with me is how I have been able to work through this challenge, and reminding myself that even the smallest act of kindness can have a huge impact on someone’s life.
What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?
I am proud to see our Latino businesses come together and give back to our community.
Our county has been impacted time and time again by fires, power outages, and even floods. I have seen firsthand how giving our Latino business owners have been and have seen how quickly they have responded to make sure that our first responders have a warm meal and that those individuals who have been evacuated can enjoy a freshly prepared lunch or dinner.