Carlos Ruiz’s role at Google lends expertise to position as board member at $1 billion asset Seattle Credit Union—not by tapping into Google’s technology culture but by integrating his role in working with Black and Hispanic populations. Ruiz is grateful that the credit union movement provides him with an opportunity use the power of cooperation to improve the community he lives and works in.
Ruiz: was introduced to Seattle Credit Union’s (SCU) President and CEO Richard Romero. He was looking to diversify the board and I immediately connected with his vision for the credit union, focus on development within low-income communities, and the credit union model overall.
A: I work for Google, where I lead the team charged with creating opportunities for underrepresented and historically marginalized students at historically Black colleges and universities, and colleges and universities recognized as Hispanic-serving institutions. This fits perfectly with the work I do as a board member for SCU, where we focus on creating opportunities for members of these communities. Both the Black and Hispanic communities need support in many areas.
A: I am very active in community outreach and I feel incredibly fortunate any time there is an opportunity to serve and support low-impact development (LID) communities. I love serving within the community and learning directly about the help they need, then communicating that to Richard because I know he and his team also find this work rewarding. Meeting our members and their communities where they are is something that is part of the DNA of everyone at SCU.
A: Our overall strategy can be broken down into two main areas: Providing a great experience for our members, and serving underbanked and underresourced communities. We are fortunate that there are many opportunities to address both simultaneously. Many of our members have listed SCU’s dedication, commitment, and intentionality to serve as a reason for joining SCU.
A: SCU’s great challenge will always be the availability of resources and services we can provide in a timely manner to our members and LID communities. We are extremely fortunate that we currently find ourselves in a position to provide financial resources and education to our members and LID communities that many others can’t provide because of the state of our country’s financial climate.
A: At SCU you will form a relationship much deeper than your accounts. We are committed to your growth and prosperity, but also to the growth and prosperity of the communities around us. We are committed to meaningful and long-lasting impact, especially in historically under-banked communities such as LID areas. We know that our typical members come to us for more than our great products and service; they come to SCU for an opportunity to be an integral part our mission.
A: You first have to be passionate about the credit union movement, philosophy, and spirit. This is not like serving on the board of a bank or other for-profit institution. You must approach the role with the spirit of a servant-leader. In my experience, the closer you personally identify with the credit union movement, the more successful you are as a board member.