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Bay Federal Credit Union’s Carrie Birkhofer Selected as Woman of the Year

Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Longtime President and CEO for ‘Leading the Way’

The Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Carrie BirkhoferCommerce has chosen Bay Federal Credit Union President and CEO, Carrie Birkhofer, as Woman of the Year. The Chamber will present her with the award at its “Leading the Way” Recognition Gala at the Cocoanut Grove on October 25, 2018.

Each year since 1958, the Chamber has honored select businesses and leaders for their achievements and contributions to the people of Santa Cruz County.

“This year’s honorees are pillars of our community coming from the public, private, and non-profit sectors,” said Chamber CEO, Casey Beyer. “They stand above the crowd for their significant contributions to the social, economic, public policy, and philanthropic fabric that makes the Santa Cruz area our special place on the Central Coast.”

Ms. Birkhofer has long championed the credit union philosophy of People Helping People, achieving 100% community support from Bay Federal’s more than 200 employees every year since 2002. For decades, she has expertly steered the Credit Union in its mission of making a real difference in the financial lives of its members. This includes the development of a loan modification program that allowed many to keep their homes during the recession and a financial education program that does outreach with local schools, teaching personal finance to 2,500 students annually.

“I am so honored that the Santa Cruz Area Chamber chose to bestow this award on me,” said Ms. Birkhofer. “I feel so much gratitude for living in this beautiful place and being a part of this incredible community. I want to thank my family, friends, and the amazing people I have the privilege to work alongside each day. The employees at BayFed inspire me constantly. They show up with so much love and care in their hearts — not just for our members, but also the community and each other.”

Ms. Birkhofer joined Bay Federal in 1989, and she has held the title of President and CEO since 1995. Under her guidance, Bay Federal has grown from $70 million to $995 million in assets. Bay Federal now provides over $80 million in home loans to local community members, and over $100 million in auto loans, annually. Ms. Birkhofer regularly interacts with leaders around the globe, is involved with credit union advocacy at the national level, and brings what she learns back to the local level to empower Bay Federal’s leadership network. Her integrity and depth of caring is evidenced in everything she does from engaging in member issues to welcoming new team members in person.

Ms. Birkhofer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a graduate of the CUES CEO Institute, holding the Certified Credit Union Executive designation. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, which has the mission to improve the economic health and quality of life in the Monterey Bay region. She is also past President and member of Scotts Valley Rotary Club, past President of the local community Cabrillo College Foundation, and past President and current Secretary of the Fiserv/DNA Open Solutions Client Association.

 “Leading the Way” Awardees:

  • Woman of the Year: Carrie Birkhofer (President and CEO of Bay Federal Credit Union)
  • Man of the Year: Duf Fischer (Ex-Officio, Ambassador Chair Chamber Consultant and Past President)
  • Business of the Year: Santa Cruz County Bank (a community-centric bank established in 2004)
  • Organization of the Year: Downtown Streets Team (a nonprofit working to end homelessness)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Dan Haifley (Executive Director, O’Neill Sea Odyssey) and Gary Griggs (Director, UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Science)


About Bay Federal Credit Union

Bay Federal is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution that serves more than 71,000 members and 1,200 local businesses throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties. With more than $995 million in assets, Bay Federal Credit Union is the largest member-owned financial institution in Santa Cruz County, serving its members and the community since 1957. Since 2002, 100% of all employees have given their own money and volunteered for numerous local schools, nonprofit organizations, and community events.

Contact: Amy Ivey, VP Marketing and Development
Bay Federal Credit Union

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