Celebrating Women’s History Month: Q & A with Marci Francisco

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Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate women’s contributions across American history, society, and culture. The credit union movement is fortunate to have many female leaders and professionals serving members every day. The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues invite some of these women to reflect on their own careers and how we can better support future women in the credit union industry. 

A Q & A with Marci Francisco, SVP, Chief Experience Officer at Premier America CU

How long have you been in the credit union industry? At your credit union?
Back in 1999, I got a one-day temp job as a helpdesk technician for an auto buying service that worked with credit unions. That one day spent installing motherboards for Y2K turned into 13 years spent at that organization, then six years with CU Direct, and finally another three wonderful years spent working here as the Chief Experience Officer at Premier America Credit Union. I was fortunate to have great mentors in this movement who gave me the opportunity to learn and grow. It was never supposed to last as long as it has, but I am so thankful to have built a career based on that singular day so long ago.

Who are some female role models or mentors who have inspired you either personally or professionally? 
In college, I became fascinated with the U.S. Supreme Court, and particularly Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She did it all...a powerhouse in a small package. She pursued her education while caring for her family as her husband battled cancer, and was a fierce advocate of gender equality and women’s rights. I think what was so inspiring was that she was brilliant, an excellent jurist and strategist who remained focused on tacking discrimination in all forms, regardless of any obstacles in her way. Sometimes the path forward isn’t straight. She neither bent nor bowed under the weight of her responsibilities, and advocated throughout her life for equality and equity.

My other inspiration was my grandmother. She was lost two husbands to the war and to illness and was a single mother living in a small farm town South Dakota and a nurse. She started a string of elder care homes in local small towns, and was an absolute ‘take no prisoners’ type of firebrand. No one messed with Gramma, and she was simply awesome.

What is an exciting project going on at the credit union today?
Last year, we launched a new BankOn Certified digital spending account to serve our diverse communities. This year, we’re working on some exciting partnerships that will help further that goal. We can’t say much yet but look forward to soon.

What do you hope your legacy will be for your credit union or the movement as a whole?
My personal mission is to make the world a better place, one life at a time. That starts with empathy, representation, visibility, giving back, and fostering an environment where people of all backgrounds have an opportunity to succeed. I hope, at the end of my time in the credit union movement, I’ll be remembered for helping to build great leaders, as someone who gave back more than she cared to receive, and who made the movement a better place for people of diverse backgrounds and communities.  

What advice would you give to future female credit union leaders?
Speak up, speak loudly, and make sure your voice is heard. Throughout my career, there were many times when I was the only woman – and particularly the only woman of color – sitting at the table. We need more brilliant female leaders. So, don’t wait. Now is your time. You may not have the background or experience (I have a theatre degree), but you are smart, hungry to learn, and you work hard. Find a mentor, then an advocate, and jump in. Your seat at the table is waiting for you.

 

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