Celebrating Women’s History Month: Q & A with Tonja Wheatley

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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 Tonja Wheatley, Vice President of Credit Union Solutions and Membership, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

How long have you been in the credit union industry?
15 years. The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is my first job in the industry. My neighbor who worked for the Leagues raved about the people and culture. She thought it would be a great fit for me and she was certainly right!

Who are some female role models or mentors who have inspired you either personally or professionally?
First, my mother, who always kept a positive outlook and sense of humor. I’ve been fortunate to have strong women leaders in my career. Another was my manager in the medical industry who gave me the tools to thrive in a male-dominated industry. Last, but certainly not least, Diana Dykstra. The passion and energy that she puts into her job every day motivates me to follow her example.

What is an exciting project going on at the Leagues today?
There is never a dull moment at the Leagues! Most exciting is looking at the future and really thinking “out of the box” as far as what support and solutions will best serve our members. Looking to the future role of data and AI is both exciting and challenging.

What do you hope your legacy will be for the Leagues or the movement as a whole?
Something I am most proud of as a leader are the different teams I’ve had the opportunity to build and contribute to. My hope is that I have had some influence in preparing and building future leaders in this industry. This also includes organizations such as African American Credit Union Coalition, which I had the honor of serving on the West Coast Chapter Board.

What advice would you give to future female credit union leaders?
Mentors and strong female leaders have been important to my career. I advise women to seek that support and as you progress in your career, be that person for another young women. This industry has taught me firsthand that if you focus on your service to others, the success will come.

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