Valley First

Valley First’s Tara Vanden Pol selected for young leaders award

Penticton’s Vanden Pol named among the country’s best and brightest

May 5, 2016

Penticton, B.C.—Penticton’s Tara Vanden Pol has been named among the country’s best and brightest young credit union leaders at the industry’s national conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Vanden Pol, , who works as a lending expert with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, was named by the Canadian Credit Union Association as one of five finalists for the National Credit Union Young Leaders Award. This award recognizes leaders 35 or younger and showcases their accomplishments in hopes of inspiring others in the industry.

“In a time where credit unions are challenged to differentiate themselves from their industry peers, Tara has consistently contributed new ideas and processes that put our members first and deliver exceptional business value to our organization,” says First West Credit Union’s CEO Launi Skinner. “At First West, we place extraordinary value on high performance leaders who can achieve results, inspire teams and build lasting connections with colleagues and communities. Tara certainly strives to deliver on these values every day in her role in our Valley First region.”

Recognized for her contributions toward simplifying commercial lending processes and new systems for her business banking colleagues, Vanden Pol was lauded for her ability to find better ways of doing business. As a result of her fresh thinking, Vanden Pol created significant time savings for branch teams at Valley First, enabling them to spend more time with members where and when it is most convenient for them.

For Vanden Pol, the nomination came as a welcome surprise: “I was so honoured to find out that leaders across First West thought I was deserving of this nomination,” says Vanden Pol. “This is a great example of how our organization is dedicated to growing and supporting young, emerging leaders in the credit union system, and I’m so proud to represent First West as one of this year’s nominees.”

“I feel so lucky to work for an organization that allows me to live in Penticton, yet provides for opportunities to grow as a leader,” adds Vanden Pol. “First West’s reach from the Island to the Okanagan enables me to collaborate beyond the borders of a smaller town in the Interior and make a meaningful difference across a larger organization and even be recognized nationally by our industry association. It really doesn’t get better than that.”

Notably, Vanden Pol joins a long list of First West employees who have been recognized in the past in this award category. Canadian Credit Union Association’s National Credit Union Young Leaders Award recognizes young leaders in Canada’s credit union system. The award helps identify the best and brightest young employees and their notable accomplishments in advancing the system. Further information about the award can be found here.

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

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