First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

December 08, 2011 12:09 ET

First West CEO Launi Skinner Recognized as One of Canada's Most Powerful Women for 2011 and Also Named as Best Canadian Executive

Awards Celebrate Skinner's Leadership, Business Acumen and Achievements Over the Past Year

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2011) - For a second consecutive year, First West Credit Union CEO Launi Skinner was recognized as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100™ from the Women's Executive Network (WXN). This prestigious award honours the country's highest-achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Award winners were selected based on their strategic vision and leadership, commitment to their communities and the financial performance of their organizations.

Notably, Skinner was also recently recognized as the Best Canadian Executive by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, which honours exemplary women executives in Canada for their accomplishments. Since the award's inception in 2004, the Stevie has become one of the world's most coveted business awards that aims to recognize and generate public awareness of excellence in the workplace.

"I am so honoured to be named the 2011 Best Canadian Executive by the Stevie Awards and as one of WXN's Canada's Most Powerful Women for a second consecutive year," says Skinner. "Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work with and lead so many talented and engaged teams who are committed to service excellence. I hope my story serves as an encouragement and inspiration to other female business leaders."

Originally from Summerland, Skinner's early career began with Starbucks, where she worked her way up to lead as president of the company's U.S. operations. Responsible for 7,000 company-owned stores and 3,400 licensed stores, Skinner managed an extensive management team with operational responsibility for 130,000 employees. In 2007, Skinner was named as one of Fortune Magazine's "Four Women to Watch" in their annual 50 Most Powerful Women list.

Skinner became President and Chief Operating Officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in 2008 before joining First West in April 2010. As CEO, she is responsible for leading First West's executive team and is focused primarily on the organization's strategic development and future growth. Under her 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.

"We are thrilled to recognize this year's extraordinary group of Top 100 Winners, honouring leadership talent from coast to coast," says Pamela Jeffery, founder, Women's Executive Network. "Our Top 100 Winners form an amazing community of high-achieving women who are inspirations to Canada's next generation of leaders."

Since 2003, more than 580 women across Canada have received the Top 100 award. For a complete listing of the 2011 winners, please visit

Additionally, a full listing of the Stevie Award winners can be found at

About the Women's Executive Network

WXN is Canada's leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive, professional and board roles. Since 1997, the organization has created and delivered innovative networking, mentoring, professional and personal development opportunities to inspire its community of 17,000 female leaders and their organizations in the pursuit of excellence across Canada and Ireland. WXN is also a founding member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council, which is dedicated to increasing the diversity of Canada's corporate boards. For more information, visit

About the Stevie Awards

The Stevie Awards are the world's premier business awards and were created to honour the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business people worldwide. Beginning with The American Business Awards in 2002, The International Business Awards in 2003, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2004, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in 2006, its mission is to raise the profile of exemplary organizations and individuals among the press, the business community, and the general public. For more information, visit

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

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