Cynthia Negri

Executive vice president and chief operating officer, Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave., Ste. 100, Santa Rosa 95403; 800-479-7928; redwoodcu.org

Age: 51

Residence: Santa Rosa

Professional background: I have been at Redwood Credit Union for the last 18 years. I have served in many capacities with several titles, overseeing a wide variety of areas in our organization, including the Branch Network and Call Center, Lending, Debit and Credit Card Services, Financial Assistance, and Project Management, to name a few. Prior to joining RCU, I worked in management at UPS, in sales, pricing analytics and customer service.

Education: B.S., accounting, B.S., finance, San Francisco State University.

Staff at the company: 429

Tell us about yourself and your company: I love Sonoma County, where my family has lived for three generations. Both of my brothers and their families, and mother and father still reside in Santa Rosa. I have a fun 10 year old son, a great husband, and 5 nieces and nephews.

Redwood Credit Union is a $2.5 billion full-service financial institution serving the North Bay with 17 branch locations and an auto services location. We’ve been a trusted partner to our Members for 65 years, and were recently awarded Best Credit Union, Best to do Business With, and Best Places to Work.

Words that best describe you: My co-workers have used these words to describe me: approachable, grounded, honest, direct, fair, committed, practical and integrity.

What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: Becoming the Chief Operating Officer at RCU less than a year ago has been very rewarding because I’ve been so passionate about RCU’s mission throughout my career with them. We’ve grown and evolved as an organization so much over the past 18 years. In this role, I get to help further envision, strategize and innovate where we are headed, how we can continue to improve service and have a positive impact on our Members and communities.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?: I have been fulfilled in many ways during my career so far. I have been able to effect change and growth with many teams in our organization from instituting our sales and service standards, implementing major new systems including a fleet of new ATMs, creating new products, to building our newest “branch of the future” which is currently underway in Rohnert Park and will be rolled out to our other branches in the future. I have built strong relationships, I love change and our culture, and am proud of RCU and all the great people I work with.

What is your biggest challenge today?: I always enjoy a challenge! Evolving and fine-tuning my leadership to support my teammates and help keep our organization a high-performing, nationally ranked organization, is my constant goal. I strive to be the best I can be in every endeavor.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: There will be many more nontraditional ways of conducting financial transactions. It will require more focus than ever on the value, service and differentiation we bring to our Members as a trusted partner, to help them to financially succeed. The quality, experience and ease of use of our services will be paramount. It will be an exciting time.

As a successful female professional, what have been the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: I don’t really see things as obstacles, but as a professional female, the cliché of “work-life balance” is very real and I’m still figuring it out. I’ve found that it’s less about time and more about being present in each moment, at work, at home and at play. Really embracing the art of that is not limited to being female or a professional.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Regardless of the profession or industry; stay true to yourself, trust your instincts, inspire and appreciate others, work really hard, and have lots of fun along the way.

Current reading: Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner, Different; Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Stress-relievers: Spending time with family and friends, playing with my dogs, enjoying great Sonoma County wine! Favorite hobbies: Cooking, watching my son play baseball.