Surfing, Women Leaders, And Credit Unions



Surfing, Women Leaders, And Credit Unions

July 2018

My high school years were spent surfing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Not exactly Hawaii’s North Shore, but those east coast beaches inspired me nonetheless. Since then, when time and budget allowed, I headed down to Central America for surf camp (check out Witch’s Rock in Tamarindo, Costa Rica). Alas, my prospects for a professional career in the oceanic arts never materialized.

These days, reading about surfing is as close as I get to chasing waves. A great read is Pulitzer Prize winner “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” by William Finnegan. This autobiography takes you on a joy ride around the world as the author compulsively searches for perfection. Captivating, even for land lovers.

One of my all-time favorites is “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” by Yvon Chouinard. This memoir is by the founder of Patagonia, the iconic outdoor gear and lifestyle company. I’ve probably read this book a dozen times, but only recently did I derive new meaning in it. Chouinard describes the circumstances that led Patagonia to develop near gender equality among its employees. By design, many of its CEOs have been women. Its revenue of $600 million per year doesn’t place it on the Fortune 500, but it does sit on Fortune’s list of the 50 Best Workplaces for Parents.

Which led me to ask, what is the gender gap within large corporations and can we make any comparisons to our unique credit union industry?

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Liz Santos, Chief of Staff, Executive Benefits

For more than 20 years, Liz has consulted with credit unions, trade associations, nonprofits, financial services organizations, and more to develop their “a-ha! moments.” At Gallagher, she supports the teams that design and service executive benefit programs, as well as marketing and business development. Liz earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. When she is not serving her clients, Liz is a long-distance runner more than half way in achieving her goal of running a marathon in every state. She is based in Washington, DC.