|Winner: Business Non-profit
Ashlee Micale, CFO of San Diego County Credit Union, is the winner of the CFO of the Year Award in the Business Nonprofit category. Her highly effective leadership and strategic abilities have greatly contributed to the success of SDCCU over the past eight years. Her oversight of the credit union’s investment strategy has driven a strong return for SDCCU. She has also transformed the organization’s finance team and reporting capabilities so the organization and leadership team can make more informed decisions. Micale has directly contributed to SDCCU’s growth rate since joining the credit union in 2012. That growth rate has been four times more than the national average, maintaining SDCCU’s position as a top credit union in the nation. SDCCU is San Diego’s largest locally owned financial institution serving San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award especially among so many dynamic leaders,” Micale said. “I’d like to thank my phenomenal team at SDCCU and the San Diego Business Journal. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.” Her professional achievements for 2019 may be best described by numbers: Total membership at the credit union increased by 4.5% to 421,986. Total assets were $8.5 billion. SDCCU achieved a strong 1.12% return on its assets. Under Micale’s leadership, her team — which is comprised of accounting, finance, business intelligence, forecasting, strategic planning and treasury functions — focused on three areas in 2019, which greatly contributed to the credit union’s success. They are business intelligence, preparation for growth, and profitability and earnings.
SDCCU business intelligence progressed with the streamlining of data using software-producing interactive data visualization for many departments within the organization to help improve processes, efficiencies and service levels. Micale and her team continued planning and strategizing in an effort to prepare for continued growth as SDCCU approaches the $10 billion milestone. This included strategic, proactive portfolio management along with building SDCCU’s collateral and liquidity positions to help mitigate risks and offset losses. Analyzing Processes
Micale led SDCCU’s efforts towards mindful and deliberate growth by focusing on targeted areas such as profitable lending and enhanced product pricing. Her team implemented a new centralized cash-forecasting tool, which reduced cash on hand by nearly 15%. Micale also implemented a new accounts payable solution for SDCCU, which reduced average turn time by 20% despite volume increasing 24% during the same period. She and her team analyzed processes that were costly to the credit union and worked to cut back or automate where possible in those areas in preparation for an anticipated more challenging financial environment in 2020 and beyond. As CFO, Micale encourages a supportive approach to functions of her team, helping to provide intelligent and actionable data to departments across the organization to enhance with a critical eye. Instilling that culture and mindset within her team has produced small changes that add up to big results and impact on the bottom line. Positive Turnover
Micale aims to hire the best people and empowers them to leverage their own skills, backgrounds and experience to execute projects and make decisions to support organizational needs and objectives. She is dedicated to achieving success and developing leaders along the way, recognizing and promoting talent when necessary. Under Micale’s leadership, she has seen positive turnover within her department as her direct reports are promoted to executive positions within SDCCU or accept executive roles such as CFO and controller at other organizations.