This Week in ‘Women’s History Month’: Patsy Van Ouwerkerk

Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, former CEO of Travis CU
Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, former CEO of Travis 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 Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, former CEO of Travis CU in Vacaville, CA!

During her distinguished credit union career, Van Ouwerkerk helped shape the movement and impacted the lives of many credit union leaders, staff, and members. She served as CEO of three credit unions and as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees within the industry and the communities where she has lived.

In August 2014, Van Ouwerkerk retired from Travis CU, where she had served as CEO for more than 12 years. Under her leadership Travis CU grew from $1.1 billion to $2.2 billion in assets, added 14 branches, and successfully negotiated two mergers. Through her efforts the credit union was positioned as a strong community partner, committed to adding member value and to financial educational initiatives geared to youth and members of modest means.

Prior to being hired to lead Travis, Van Ouwerkerk helmed Alliance CU. She worked closely with state regulators to facilitate the conversion of the credit union from a federal charter to a multi-state community charter. She also served as CEO of Columbia Community CU in Washington for four years.

She began her career in 1975 at Coast FCU in Northern California. In 1978 she was hired by Golden 1 CU, starting in an entry-level position and then moving up the ladder over the next 15 years to becoming a senior vice president responsible for statewide expansion, marketing, branch operations, human resources and strategic planning. She left in 1993 to become CEO at Columbia Community.

Van Ouwerkerk’s long list of credit union involvement includes serving on the boards of Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) as vice chairman, CO-OP Financial Services, Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, and Filene Research Institute. She’s also a founder of the World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Leadership Network and has chaired fundraising activities for Children’s Miracle Network. She served on the California Credit Union League Board of Directors, including a year as chairman. She also served on the WCMS board for 25 years, as well as a project reader at the school.

She has received a number of prestigious awards, including the highest award presented by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: the Leo H. Shapiro Award Lifetime Achievement Award. When she received that honor, she said: “I am pleased and honored to receive this award. Throughout my career I have stressed the importance of continuous learning, training, and development. I am very proud of the many organizations I’ve been associated with and of the programs we’ve implemented to support credit unions of all sizes, to provide personal and professional growth opportunities and to advance the awareness of credit unions.”

She’s also received the Leagues’ Distinguished Service Award, was inducted into the CUES Hall of Fame in 1997, and both the Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) Charlie Clark Award and James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award in 2016, given to honor the WCMS alumni for significant achievements in the credit union field since graduation.

She has been heavily involved in the community, being an active Rotarian and Chair for the Solano EDC, on the advisory board for the Vacaville Boys and Girls Club, past chairman of the Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee, and past chairman for the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

After retiring she joined Mitchell Stankovic and Associates and now consults with credit unions on effective board governance, strategic and succession planning, and policy development.  She currently supports the credit union industry through her fundraising efforts and involvement with the World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Leadership Network and as a member of the UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s CMN Business Council.   

Patsy attended Campbell University where she majored in English and journalism.  She graduated from Western CUNA Management School in 1982 and attended CUES CEO Institutes leading to a Certified Credit Union Executive designation. She believes in lifelong learning and after retiring, attended the Credit Union Development Educator (DE) training in Madison, WI. She became a DE in May, 2016. 

Thank you, Patsy, 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!

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