Shruti Miyashiro, President/CEO, Orange County’s Credit Union
When Shruti Miyashiro entered the credit union industry, she wasn’t looking for a lifelong career in a cooperative field. What the college senior was looking for was a part-time job that offered something different from the retail and service jobs her peers held.
Miyashiro applied and was hired for a teller position at Riverside Campus Federal Credit Union, which is now a part of $13.1 billion SchoolsFirst FCU in Santa Ana, CA. Although Miyashiro’s entry into the movement was accidental, the philosophy major quickly fell in love with the industry’s core principles.
The higher purpose appealed to me, Miyashiro says. This isn’t about just running a business, it’s about running a business that creates value for your members, team, and community.
After working as a teller for a few months, Miyashiro earned a full-time position in new accounts, with work hours that accommodated her school schedule. She was fast-tracked to a management position after approximately seven months of working full-time.
During her career at several southern California credit unions, Miyashiro has overseen branch operations, lending, collections, HR, ERM, and facilities as well as managed e-business in the late 90s when credit unions were dipping their toes into online services. She’s also earned a Master of Business Administration degree and attended CUNA Western Management School.
CU QUICK FACTS
Orange County’s Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.17
HQ: Santa Ana, CA
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 9.0%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.2%
Miyashiro is currently the president/CEO of Orange County’s Credit Union ($1.5B, Santa Ana, CA), and in her nine years at the helm she has retained 100% of her direct reports.
I’m so proud of our team, she says. I attribute a lot of our success to not only how well they work together, but also how much they challenge one other.
Here, Miyashiro shares her philosophical view of leadership, the role of mentors in her own life and her approach to recruiting and retaining the best associates for her team.
On early lessons
One of the first things I learned about credit unions was they focus on collaboration and mentoring. I was fortunate to have terrific leaders mentor me.
On important leadership traits
Humility is important. I didn’t always have functional expertise in the areas I took on, so I had to be honest about what I knew and ask questions about what I still needed to learn. Because of that, I’ve developed a bit of fearlessness.
For women who might struggle with confidence or finding their voice, look beyond yourself and at the purpose of your role.
Confidence is also vital. Not knowing everything didn’t stop me from taking the lead. In today’s world, things are changing so rapidly it’s impossible for anyone to know everything. Being willing to learn is what’s critical. For women who might struggle with confidence or finding their voice, look beyond yourself to the purpose of your role. If your purpose is to build the best credit union with the most enduring business model, then the job becomes quite clear and taking the lead is less intimidating.
Lastly, great leaders look at the bigger picture to ensure their teams are aligned with the core values of the organization. It’s easy to set numbers-based goals, but we need to take the long view and meet goals in a way that is honest and creates real value for members.
On working with different groups
Self-awareness understanding the impact of your role depending on the circumstances and adjusting accordingly is important in leadership.
In my credit union, I’m clearly the leader, so I often take a step back to create space for others’ opinions. Asking people to take on different roles during discussions, such as devil’s advocate, helps ensure a full dialogue. When I’m with other CEOs, I have the opportunity to listen and learn.
I take a quote from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to heart: It’s better to be a learn-it-all than a know-it-all. I want the best people working here, and I want them to love it so much that they don’t want to leave.
On what she’d like to see more, or less, of in the Industry
The beauty of the credit union movement lies in its collaboration and shared values; however, the ability to think strategically and independently is critical to the industry’s future success. It’s wonderful how freely we all share with one other, but leadership is more than simply replicating a successful initiative that another credit union has tried.
Credit unions must continue to share, but they also need to synthesize the information they gain from others to truly understand how it fits in their own market and with their own demographics.
Credit unions must continue to share, but they also need to synthesize the information they gain from others to truly understand how it fits in their own market and with their own demographics. We need to create business plans that are tailored to our membership, and that requires thinking strategically and independently from one another.