Shelley Besse

Chief Operating Officer

As First West Credit Union’s chief operating officer, Shelley Besse is responsible for leading regional operations for all of First West’s regional brands – Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings.

Shelley is a highly-respected leader with extensive knowledge and experience in the financial services industry. Creating excellent member experiences has been a driver throughout Shelley’s long career with First West and its predecessor credit unions. In her role as COO, she brings a member-first perspective to how First West serves its members, local businesses and communities.

Since joining Envision Financial in 1984, Shelley has held a number of increasingly senior in-branch and leadership roles including branch manager; vice-president, branch operations; vice-president, sales and service and vice-president, risk management and operations. She was appointed to lead First West’s merger transition plan in 2009 and successfully delivered against a three-year strategy to create a high—performing operations team within First West’s new operating model.

Following this role, Shelley was appointed senior vice-president of operations, sales and member experience where she focused on providing employees with operations support and for developing and implementing an enterprise-wide continuous improvement strategy known as Lean. In January 2012, Shelley became president of the Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union and in January 2016 she was appointed as chief operating officer of First West.

Shelley received international recognition for her leadership and business acumen when she was awarded a Silver Stevie Award in the category of Female Executive of the Year – Consumer Services –11 to 2,500 Employees and a Bronze Stevie Award in the category of Female Executive of the Year in Canada.

Among her many credentials, Shelley holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, a certificate in financial planning, is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, specializing in strategy and organizational design and has received an Operational Risk Management professional designation from the International Council for Operational Risk Management. Shelley is the past chair for the Surrey Board of Trade.

Featured Posts

October 6, 2016
This past summer, First West Credit Union’s Chief Operating Officer, Shelley Besse travelled to Mexico where she traded in a good book and her beach umbrella for a hammer and nails, and her sandals for work boots, all in an effort to make a meaningful difference for one deserving family by building them a new home.
Shelley shares her experiences, and a valuable takeaway, below: 
Instead of a...
June 26, 2014

Why we're moving away from the traditional branch

In late June, Envision Financial’s newest location, Garrison Village, joined the 40-plus First West branch network. But unlike its predecessors, Garrison Village marks a new generation of brick-and-mortar banking and is the cornerstone of our new store concept.


April 8, 2014

Four actions we took to dramatically grow our membership

With First West’s 2013 performance now in the books, we’re reflecting on another year of growth in our membership: four per cent net membership growth this year, with an average growth of five per cent since 2011—or 19,000 net new members.  For many years prior, we...

April 2, 2013

In case you missed it, here’s another opportunity to grab your copy of First West’s 86 ideas for attracting new members.

A proud production of our employees, this e-book is chockablock full of insightful ways your credit union can start using to drive membership growth today.

Download now, grab a cup of...

January 9, 2013

4 ways leaders can help people embrace change

So here we are—it’s 2013, the world didn’t end with the last stroke on the Mayan calendar and U.S. legislators continue to wrestle their economy off the brink of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ Whether it’s preparing for the end of the world or looking ahead to what 2013 holds for the global economy, it seems that change is what’s on the menu.

For those working on personal...

October 29, 2012

Leadership, failure and the importance of trying

I love road trips. The good thing is that my husband does too, so whenever we can we like to take to the highways and byways across B.C. and the United States. It’s great going stateside, enjoying the beauty of the places we visit and the people we encounter. With each trip we seem to take away something special that makes our lives all the richer. And on a recent trip to the U.S., it was a bit of politics and...