This Week’s ‘Women’s History Month’ Spotlight: Marla Shepard

Marla Shepard, former CEO of California Coast CU
Marla Shepard, former CEO of California Coast 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 Marla Shepard, former CEO of California Coast CU in San Diego, CA!

Shepard started as a teller at the then-Santel CU in 1972 when the credit union had $14 million in assets. In just 10 years, she rose through the ranks to become CEO. Her background from teller to CEO took her through many positions and through every department in the credit union — from front office to accounting; from new accounts to strategic planning; and from budget to marketing. She knew each area of the credit union.

Santel CU’s growth in size and membership can be credited to Shepard and her vision for the credit union. When credit unions were allowed to add employer groups, she used this tool to grow Santel. Additionally she engineered six mergers during her tenure of CEO.

In 2008, she put together one of the largest mergers “of equals,” merging two large financially sound credit unions: First Future CU with California Coast CU. This resulted in Shepard overseeing a merged entity of $1.85 billion in assets at the time, of which she was the CEO with 20 branches in the greater San Diego region.

Shepard has always understood the importance of credit unions being involved locally. She created and chaired the first regional Political Action Committee for credit unions in California, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and served as the bellwether model for credit unions in other regions to emulate.

She retired in 2015 at the helm of California Coast CU. In 2016, for her achievements and contributions to the movement, she received the Leagues’ highest honor, the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognized Shepard for her more than 40 years of service, including being such a strong advocate of the credit union movement.

In accepting her award, Shepard said at the time: “I think that credit unions really do make a difference today just like they did years and years ago. I’ve been very proud to be a part of this credit union movement. I’m honored to be recognized by the League to receive this award.”

Shepard also has board experience with Jack Henry & Associates (publicly traded for-profit financial technology company), Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation.

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

Pin It