The CUInsight Experience podcast: Kathryn Davis – Showing up (#89)

“Don’t give up, put it out there and be deliberate in what you want in life.” - Kathryn Davis

Thank you for tuning in to episode 89 of The CUInsight Experience podcast with your host, Randy Smith, co-founder of This episode is brought to you by our friends at PSCU. As the nation’s premier payments CUSO, PSCU proudly supports the success of more than 1,500 credit unions.

My guest on this episode is Kathryn Davis. Kathryn is the President and CEO of Valley First Credit Union in California. We talk about Kathryn’s path to her current position as President and CEO, and I appreciated her willingness to talk about the struggles she had getting there. Kathryn shares some advice for others who are trying to move into the C-Suite and some advice for people who are doing the hiring.  

Kathryn shares the leadership lessons she has learned on her journey. She talks about changes she has seen during the pandemic, and what she believes credit unions need to do to stay relevant going forward. 

Listen as Kathryn shares why she took the position at Valley First Credit Union and how the inspiration has changed with time on the job. She speaks about how she cultivated the ability to make hard decisions, some myths about being a leader, and her mistakes on her journey to the top.

We wrap it up with rapid-fire questions and learn that Van Morrison is Kathryn’s favorite artist. She wanted to be a news anchor when she grew up before she got into credit unions, and spending time with her family is what she loves to do when she has time off. Kathryn’s final words were, “Don’t give up, put it out there and be deliberate in what you want in life.” I couldn’t have said it better, enjoy!

Find the full show notes on

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Books mentioned on The CUInsight Experience podcast: Book List 

How to find Kathryn:
Kathryn Davis, President and CEO of Valley First Credit Union
LinkedIn | Facebook

Show notes from this episode:
A big shout-out to our friends at PSCU, an amazing sponsor of The CUInsight Experience podcast. Thank you!
Check out all the outstanding work that Kathryn and her team at Valley First Credit Union are doing here.
Article mentioned: Mortgage Women’s Magazine
Shout-out: Chuck Purvis
Shout-out: Jill Nowacki
Shout-out: James Wileman
Shout-out: Lauren Culp
Album mentioned: Days Like This by Van Morrison
Book mentioned: Tools of the Titans by Tim Farriss
Book mentioned: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Previous guests mentioned in this episode: Chuck Purvis, James Wileman, Lauren Culp, Jill Nowacki (episodes 4, 18, 37, 64 & 82

In This Episode:
[02:14] – Welcome to the show, Kathryn!
[03:28] – Kathryn shares her path to the C-Suite and the challenges she faced
[05:30] – She speaks about the first job that offered her a position as CEO.
[08:10] – Kathryn discusses realizing about five years in that she wanted to get back into credit unions.
[09:32] – Kathryn shares some advice for people that are making the hiring decisions.
[12:19] – What are some changes you’ve seen during this pandemic?
[13:34] – Kathryn says that credit unions need to go back to their roots and concentrate on who they are serving to stay relevant.
[14:40] – She speaks about how she has changed as a leader during the pandemic.
[15:51] – Kathryn shares that she will be proud that they’ve had a big impact on their community a year from now
[18:04] – What was the inspiration to take the President and CEO position at Valley First Credit Union?
[19:21] – Kathryn speaks about how the inspiration has changed since taking the job.
[20:08] – “Were not saving lives around here because no one is going to die from the decisions we make here.” is what Kathryn says all the time.
[21:13] – Kathryn shares when she got good at making hard decisions.
[22:26] – Kathryn talks about the myths about being a leader.
[23:13] – Is there a mistake you made or one you see young leaders make today?
[25:03] – Kathryn says that some advice she was given that she still uses today is to keep trying and showing up.
[25:57] – Kathryn shares about the mentors she has had along the way.
[27:42] – Listen as Kathryn discusses what she does when she has a day off to recharge.
[30:12] – Kathryn speaks about how she was in high school, and although she didn’t get into trouble, she used to TP the neighbors’ houses.
[30:53] – She discusses what she wanted to be when she grew up.
[31:11] – Coffee and silence are her morning routines.
[32:14] – What is your favorite album?
[32:43] – What book do you think everyone should read?
[33:37] – Time and connection with people have become more important, and material possessions have become less important.
[34:57] – When you hear the word success, which is the first person who comes to mind?
[36:29] – Kathryn shares some final thoughts for the listeners.
[37:26] – Thank you so much for being on the show!

Randall Smith

Randall Smith

Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust. As one of the co-founders of CUInsight he looks ... Web: Details