Black History Month Spotlight: Sharon Grieger and the AACUC West Coast Chapter

In recognition of Black History Month, we’d like to highlight the contributions of Sharon Grieger, chief risk officer at Vantage West Credit Union, and her work with the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) West Coast Chapter.

Sharon has been part of the credit union movement for nearly six years. After beginning her career as an auditor at PepsiAmericas, then moving on to PCTEL, Boeing and Walmart, she joined Vantage West Credit Union in 2018 as director of internal audit. She was soon promoted to chief audit executive and then chief risk officer, a position she’s held for the past three years.

When she took on the chief risk officer role, Vantage West had just launched its DEI affinity groups, giving her the idea to investigate involvement with national multicultural organizations as a way to build her network while supporting the credit union movement.

She discovered AACUC, a nonprofit committed to strengthening the global credit union community and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion. When Sharon reached out to the West Coast Chapter to ask how she could get involved, she learned that there was a vacant seat on the board — and she’s been serving in that role ever since.

“It’s been amazing,” Sharon says. “Working with absolutely brilliant people from different parts of the West Coast, and having us all be rowing in the same direction, has really inspired me.” The chapter’s activities include hosting chats and webinars and providing conference scholarships. Sharon is also on the Engagement Committee, which complements her work on Vantage West’s DEI Leadership Council. In both organizations, the goal is to support bottom-up, grassroots initiatives.

For credit union professionals who are interested in joining AACUC, the organization’s website provides information on resources and opportunities for members, including mentorship and professional development programs, DEI Leadership Academy, weekly “Commitment to Change” conversations (next up, on Feb. 29: “Amplifying and Promoting Women of Color in Leadership Roles”), and events and awards.

AACUC is active at the Governmental Affairs Conference (with initiatives such as the annual Hall of Fame induction, recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the credit union movement) and also hosts its own annual conference. “The first time I walked into the opening ceremony at the AACUC Annual Conference, there were more than 500 people, mostly African Americans. I’d never seen so many people of color involved in the credit union movement in one place before, so it was quite impressive,” Sharon recalls.

Editor’s Note: GoWest is proud to support the African American Credit Union Coalition and other CU Communities across the credit union industry. If you’d like to find your niche and get more involved, contact Carmen Vigil at [email protected] to learn more.

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