This Week’s ‘Women’s History Month’ Spotlight: Sue Longson

Sue Longson, Advocacy Specialist for Boulder Dam CU
Sue Longson, Advocacy Specialist for Boulder Dam CU

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are celebrating “Women’s History Month” this March by spotlighting some amazing leaders who have played vital roles in the history of American women and our movement. This week we would like to recognize Sue Longson, advocacy specialist for Boulder Dam CU in Boulder City, NV!

Longson was the Leagues’ PAC Advocate of the Year (Nevada) in 2020. Not only has she been instrumental in leading the political action committee, she has also attended multiple League-hosted fundraisers. She helps turn political candidate interviews into successful relationships, as well as into future leaders in the state legislature and Congress.

Her path to credit unions began at a very young age. Her grandfather, Lance Barden, founded hundreds of credit unions (his 1,000th credit union was the first one in Nevada — Sierra Nevada Power FCU). Her father, Steve Barden, ran credit unions, worked for the California League and even served as Western CUNA Management School board chairman. Her mother Shirley also ran credit unions.

In fact, it was at her mother’s credit union in La Puente in 1973 where Sue got her start in the industry, working as a teller and filing at age 15.

In 1977 Sue became the CEO of her first credit union — California Center Credit Union — at the age of 19, making her the youngest credit union manager in the U.S. at that time. She was to have been helper at the credit union, but when the manager took a leave of absence, Sue became the manager and remained there until 1983. She ran her own company specializing in auditing and records reconstruction until she became the CEO of Pacific Federal Credit Union and then SONEPCO Credit Union.

In 2012, Sue joined SCE Federal Credit Union as vice president of business development and community relations. She left to work as an advocacy specialist with Boulder Dam Credit Union in 2014.

During her long credit union career, Sue has been a member of the boards of the California League and Nevada League, including serving two years as chairman of the Nevada League. She also has served on the political action committees in both California and Nevada. And she was on the Shapiro Group Advisory Committee for some time.

In recent years, she’s been a strong advocate for credit unions on the political front. According to her peers, Longson:

  • Has been instrumental in orchestrating the advocacy work for Nevada’s credit unions for many years. Her leadership skills, personal communication style, and passion for integrity have endeared her to not only Nevada’s credit union leadership but also to hundreds of elected officials over the years.
  • Has had personal interviews with all Nevada candidates running for state office in order to educate them on the credit union difference. This includes identifying those who would be friendly to credit union ideals. These interviews require hours of preparation and execution but have proven invaluable to the relationships we have built with our Nevada elected officials.
  • Served for several years as a volunteer treasurer for a prominent state senator. This senator also happens to be a director for one of Nevada’s largest credit unions.
  • Always maintains a strong knowledge of issues important to credit unions today. She’s been touted as a shining example of how one individual can take the trust and respect earned over a career to continue to promote and educate the credit union difference.
  • Consistently had a strong relationship with state legislators, many of whom know her by name and are always willing to listen. The same is true in Washington, D.C. Her extensive knowledge of credit unions and credit union leaders goes back decades. She is a great source of knowledge about the industry and her insights have helped the credit union industry in Nevada survive and thrive. She is a great representative and leader for credit union advocacy, always cultivating a relationship with federal delegations. She is a passionate advocate for credit unions. She is knowledgeable and persuasive and has taken the time to cultivate personal relationships with many decisionmakers across the state.

Thank you, Sue, for all your hard work and committment to credit unions during this year's "Women’s History Month”! Credit unions would not be where they are today without leaders like YOU!

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