CEO Success Stories
Holding the Door Open
“When you hit a closed door and it doesn’t budge, just rear back and kick it in—but hold it open so others can follow you.”
Those words from Muriel Siebert, the first female member of the New York Stock Exchange are on the office wall of Shruti Miyashiro, the President/CEO of Orange County’s (California) Credit Union. Should you have the pleasure of meeting or working with Shruti, you will find that those words reflect her personal and professional values. She understands that those of us who are fortunate enough to be part of credit unions are at our best when we look beyond what is accomplished and focus on how accomplishments are achieved.
“I have been lucky. My whole life I have been supported by people who understand that ‘people helping people’ starts with giving our best to one another. My parents, my husband, my son, my many mentors, friends and associates have taught me over and over again that success is not individual. While I enjoy personal achievement, I learned long ago that as we rise ‘up the ladder’ we must be sure to lend a helping hand to others. Nothing is ever achieved alone.
“I started in credit unions as a part-time teller when I was an undergraduate student and became a branch manager fairly soon thereafter. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and surrounded by people who believed in me.” Shruti deflects her quick rise to leadership of a thriving $1.3B credit union in the highly competitive Southern California market. “You can’t minimize being surrounded by good people and being lucky.” She said with a laugh, “I’ve also never been afraid of rejection or failure. That’s just part of the journey and I suppose that belief has helped me along the way.”
She prefers not to talk about herself and would far prefer that this “success story” be about her associates at the credit union. “We have an extraordinary team. Their commitment, integrity, drive to serve members and our community are at the heart of who we are. The work we do touches people’s lives in the most meaningful ways. We don’t process loans or offer deposit accounts. We help people buy their first cars to get to their first job, save enough money for newlyweds to buy their first home, open investment accounts to fund college educations and dreams, and provide guidance to safely fund retirement. The work our team does and the passion with which they care about members inspires me every day.”
Words of advice for one who would be a CEO? “Why would you want to do that? Know your own definition of success. Know that success is not defined by titles or money – it is about living your values.” As for her own definition of success at work, Shruti said, “In the long history of this credit union, I will be a be footnote. When I arrived this was already a great credit union and my goal when I leave is to ensure that it has remained so. In between, I want our people – the associates, the members, and the community – to all feel proud of what Orange County’s Credit Union has brought to their lives.”
True enough for all of us. Yet, if you are lucky you will be able to spend a little time with Shruti Miyashiro, you will be in the graceful presence of a professional who holds the door open for the good of all.