For Cynthia Negri, California runs in her veins.
Through her work as the chief operating officer at $7 billion asset Redwood Credit Union in Santa Rosa, Calif., the third-generation Sonoma County resident helps members and people in her community live their best lives in her home state.
“I love the beauty of the area and the plethora of things to do, from hiking, biking, wine tasting, music venues, to visiting our coast,” Negri says. “Sonoma County has such a hometown feel compared to its size.”
Each day, Negri carries out responsibilities centered around direct member-facing and member-impacting areas. She also serves as board president of the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, the credit union’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Helming the fund allows her to see one of her favorite aspects of Sonoma County in action.
“It’s a community that I have seen come together to support those in need in amazing ways in the face of devastating disasters,” she says.
The credit union’s field of membership has been heavily impacted by wildfires.
In 2015, Redwood opened a disaster relief fund through its nonprofit to aid those who had been affected by fires in Lake County, an effort that raised more than $2 million. When the North Bay fires broke out in 2017, they were closer to home and the nonprofit raised more than $32 million.
The credit union has continued to raise money for those affected by wildfires, at one point even turning its corporate office into a shelter for employees.
“Throughout it all, we remained open, ensuring our members had access to their accounts and the financial support they needed, especially when they needed us most,” Negri says.
While away from Redwood, Negri spends time with her husband of 19 years and 17-year-old son, raising three puppies, and cooking Italian dishes. She says cooking relaxes her because she loves to feed people—so it turns out she enjoys taking care of people both at home and at the credit union.
“We are so used to the term ‘people helping people’ that I think we take for granted how deeply impactful that is for the individuals and communities we serve,” Negri says. “I am always proud and rejuvenated when new people to the industry are in awe and say things like, ‘It is really true, it’s not just words—you really do care.’”