First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

January 30, 2012 12:14 ET

First West CEO Launi Skinner named one of Business in Vancouver's Most Influential Women in Business for 2012

Award Celebrates Skinner's Visionary Leadership, Innovation and Success in Reinventing the Traditional Credit Union Model in Canada

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2012) - First West Credit Union CEO Launi Skinner was recently announced as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by Business in Vancouver. For the past 13 years, this prestigious award has honoured some of British Columbia's most accomplished and talented female business leaders.

"I am truly honored to be a recipient of the 2012 Influential Women in Business award from Business in Vancouver," says Skinner. "It's a privilege to be recognized alongside five other exceptional women leaders from our business community who have all demonstrated tremendous perseverance, agility and business acumen throughout their careers. I really hope their accomplishments serve as a source of inspiration to business leaders everywhere."

Originally from Summerland, Skinner grew her career with Starbucks, where she eventually became the president of the company's U.S. operations. Skinner then became president and chief operating officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in 2008 before joining First West in April 2010. The calibre of Skinner's leadership has been recognized with several awards including being named: one of Fortune Magazine's "Four Women to Watch" in their annual 50 Most Powerful Women list, the Best Canadian Executive by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2011 and one of Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100™ from the Women's Executive Network for past two consecutive years.

As CEO, Skinner is responsible for leading First West's strategic development and growth as it aims to reinvent the traditional credit union model in Canada. First West Credit Union formed in 2010 when Penticton-based Valley First joined with Langley-based Envision Financial. Unlike most newly-merged credit unions, First West chose to continue operating its two distinct Envision Financial and Valley First brands in their autonomous regions, giving them the economic advantages of collaboration, better diversification of risk and improved efficiency, while still being able to act local.

Notably, under Skinner's guidance, First West achieved impressive financial results with 2010's performance far exceeding the organization's initial business plan expectations. In addition to her work commitments, Skinner is an active member in her community, serving as the past-chair for the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in 2010 and 2011. She is also currently a community leader for the Minerva Foundation for BC Women and serves on the Board of Governors for Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Since 2000, over 70 influential female business leaders from across British Columbia have received the Influential Women in Business award. For a complete listing of the 2012 winners, please visit www.bivinteractive.com.

About the Influential Women in Business Awards

The Influential Women in Business Awards were created to draw attention to exceptional business women in British Columbia. They have risen through the ranks in public and private companies to become senior executives or entrepreneurs. Through corporate board placements they help influence and shape policy at some of Canada's largest companies. Honorees are influential leaders in their industry, the business community at large, committing time and resources to mentor other women in business and contribute their expertise on corporate and not for profit boards. For more information, visit www.biv.com/iwib.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit www.firstwestcu.ca.

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