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Jose Alvarez

Branch manager

Redwood Credit Union

500 W. Napa St., Suite 500, Sonoma

707-545-4000 ext. 81901

Redwoodcu.org

Jose Alvarez of Santa Rosa-based Redwood Credit Union is a winner of North Bay Business Journal's 2018 Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Tell us your story and that of your organization

I have been working for Redwood Credit Union for just over 5 years. I came to Redwood with over 8 years of banking experience. Redwood Credit Union’s values truly align with who I am. I love sitting down with our community members and finding ways to make their financial life better. One of our focus is financial wellness, I am very active in the community delivering financial literacy workshops. I have personally seen the positive impact those workshops are bringing to our community and I am very proud of that. I love living in the community I serve because I get to talk/meet people from my community everywhere I go. I love building relationships and finding ways to help.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

I am very proud to have received the North Bay Business Journal Forty under 40 award earlier this year.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

In my professional life, my career and what I have done over the years in my community to make positive impact is something I am truly proud of.

My biggest accomplishment is my family and being a parent of two wonderful little humans. I love seeing how their little personalities develop and love being there for them and modeling the way.

What is your biggest challenge today?

I hate saying “no”. I always want to help, be there for our members, our employees and my family. This can be challenging at times but I do my best to make it work.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle in my line of business is proving people that we are different. The perception is that all financial institutions are the same across the board. I am working hard to change that perception through financial education and investing my time to make a positive impact in the community.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

We are evolving, and technology will play a crucial role in financial services. The goal is to deliver quality service in person and to be able to deliver that same personalized experience through digital channels, as well. We need to be able to adapt to these changes so that we can provide members the best options to meet their banking needs in the ways that are most convenient and comfortable for them.

Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person:

My most important mentor is my dad. He is a very hard-working individual who at the age of 24 risked everything to come to the US to be able to provide for his family. My dad works in a vineyard in Sonoma, he has worked there for 34 years and I am proud to say that his hard work and dedication to his family has allowed me to follow my dreams. My dad is the most supportive individual I’ve ever known and always has the right words to make you feel better. My dad continues to remind me why we should never forget where we come from and we always need to find a way to help others.

Jose Alvarez

Branch manager

Redwood Credit Union

500 W. Napa St., Suite 500, Sonoma

707-545-4000 ext. 81901

Redwoodcu.org

Tell us about your community involvement:

I am very involved in the community. I work very closely with La Luz Center, El Verano Resource Center, AVANCE program, Flowery School, El Verano School, and Sonoma Valley High. I am very passionate about financial literacy. I worked very closely with these organizations and schools delivering presentations for community members who want to learn more about managing finances. My presentations are tailored based on the audience. We cover topics from basics of banking to planning for retirement.

I am also very involved with the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, I am currently assigned to an ambassadorship role with the chamber.

I am also a former board member for the Sonoma Valley Health Center. I am very proud of the work I did when I served as a board member. I was one of the board members responsible for raising capital and relocating to a new facility with a bigger space to be able to better serve the community needs.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Always have follow your dreams. Life is not easy, and many challenges will be faced but don’t lose sight of what is important to you.

Quick takes…

Words that best describe you:Caring, committed, respectful and loyal.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Steve Jobs

Current reading: “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner

Most want to meet: Bill Gates

Stress relievers: Spending Time with my kids

Favorite hobbies: I love playing soccer and coaching my son’s soccer team.