President and CEO, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
CEO and President of the largest and fastest growing credit union in Canada based on membership—504,000 members; 1,650 staff
Appointed to the federal government’s Status of Women Advisory Council for Promoting Women on Boards
The company is a “Best Managed Companies Award” winner
Kathy McGarrigle, COO, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
From Kathy McGarrigle
As told to Hailey Eisen
Tracy was raised to believe that a woman could have a successful career and raise a family—as long as she was prepared to get an education, work hard, and remain very organized. Her paternal grandmother led the way, working three jobs in England in the 1930s and 1940s in order to send her son, Tracy’s dad, to a prestigious private school.
Committed to taking “the road less traveled” in life and business, Tracy continues to challenge the status quo. In 1979 she earned a degree from the University of Victoria with a double major in economics and Asian studies. She became fluent in Japanese and spent the early part of the 1980s living in Tokyo. She returned to Canada in 1984 amidst one of the country’s worst economic periods.
Unable to find employment in her field, Tracy found herself in the hospitality industry where she held a variety of positions, from housekeeper to concierge, before securing a managerial role. Upon leaving hospitality, she returned to university to earn her MSc in Business Administration in International Trade and Finance.
This led to a job with HSBC Canada where she became one of the first female commercial account managers in a highly male-dominated environment. The fact that she was female was an issue for some of the bank’s clients, one of whom actually refused to meet with her. Tracy insisted that they meet and was not only successful in keeping him as a client, but also transforming him into a close personal friend, one who has supported her throughout her career.
With three daughters and a son, Tracy has always made family a priority. Along with her husband George, Tracy has raised all of her children to be exceptional human beings—well rounded, talented, and worldly.
Tracy is an excellent strategist and big-picture thinker who, despite her seniority, can relate to any employee at any level. She never loses sight of the individual employee.
Take Lisa Skakun, for example. Tracy created a general counsel position on the executive team to help move the credit union ahead strategically. She hired Lisa and gave her full-reign in establishing her team—which has now grown to include six people. Tracy provided encouragement, training, and opportunity to expand Lisa’s career beyond the traditional legal role. Tracy is a strong advocate of people, she works diligently to foster a better environment for women—and all employees—to excel.