In the CEO Spotlight: Meet Tanya Hobson!
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist

Tanya Hobson grew up as a self-described “military brat” who lived most of her childhood outside of the United States. She was born at Holloman AFB in New Mexico where her father was stationed, but grew up overseas, in Europe. She even graduated from high school at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International High School in Belgium.

Credit unions were a part of life for her family; her father had always been a credit union man, having opened an account with Tinker FCU when he first joined the Air Force. (To this day, he still holds an account there.) When Tanya was getting ready to purchase her first car, her father made certain she understood why she should look first to her local credit union for financing.   

“My father is my biggest fan and mentor,” said Tanya. “From a very early age, he ensured that I understood what true work ethic was, and why it was important. He also raised me to believe I could be anything I wanted. There were a lot of years when I was growing up that I was sure I was going to put my soccer skills to work and be the first female kicker on an NFL team,” she recalled.

After graduating from high school, Tanya attended the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. Then, she began working for Bank of America, where she soon developed an even greater appreciation for credit unions. “As a young credit union member, I was used to the great service I received, however, I still didn’t fully understand the difference between credit unions and banks until I started working for Bank of America,” she stated. “Immediately the difference became clear. I was continuously reprimanded for placing my customers into the accounts that had been specifically marketed for them (student accounts and senior accounts) instead of BOA’s ‘Prima Account.’ This did not feel right to me – and anyone who knows me will chuckle when I say I spent a lot of time sharing my opinions about that with the powers that be,” she explained.

At about the same time that she was realizing that working at a profit-driven bank was not for her, her family had an opportunity to relocate. She began a short-term job with Warren FCU in Wyoming, where she discovered her “credit union calling.” She then settled in Colorado, where she worked as a Branch Manager for the Colorado Credit Union League, overseeing one of their brick and mortar shared branching facilities. “This is where I was really able to see how credit unions live and breathe the cooperative spirit,” she stated.

However, as it turned out, Colorado was not all they imagined, and so the family relocated back to Wyoming, where she once again picked up her career at Warren FCU as their Business Development Officer. “Working at Warren is where I really drank the CU Koolaid. The experience I had there was life changing; it was with them that I realized I truly had credit unions in my blood. One of the best things about working in the credit union industry is becoming friends with all the wonderful individuals you meet from other credit unions that share your passion and become extended family,” she continued.

Another move brought Tanya to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she worked at Sioux Empire for ten years – first as a Marketing Specialist, then as VP of Operations. In 2013, she accepted the position of Chief Operations Officer at WyHy FCU in Wyoming, and then was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer. While these jobs added to her credit union experience and knowledge, they were not the ones that “filled her cup,” according to Hobson.

When she learned of a job opportunity at East River Federal Credit Union in Madison, South Dakota, she was immediately intrigued. She was familiar with East River FCU from the time she had lived in the state previously, and she felt intuitively that this was a credit union where she could truly make a difference.

Hobson was hired as VP of Operations in December of 2018, and this past May, she accepted the role as President/CEO when previous CEO Mechelle Johnson announced her retirement. Now, Tanya is overseeing 9 employees, more than 3,400 members, and over $31M in assets at their one location in Madison.

“For me, it isn’t so much about the milestones I have reached, but more about the number of members and employees I have been able to help or mentor,” says Hobson about her career achievements. “When people ask what kind of legacy I want to leave, my immediate answer is, I want to ensure that after I am gone, there are people coming up through the ranks that still feel the credit union philosophy in their soul. It is up to us to shape the future of this industry, and we have a very real responsibility to ensure we do that, so credit unions are available for members in the years to come,” she concluded.

For now, Tanya is concentrating on completing the transition of leadership at East River FCU and reacquainting herself with the state of South Dakota before diving in to more areas of community involvement. However, she has a history of volunteer work with many organizations, including serving on the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board; the Sioux Falls Relay for Life committee, a Director on the Sioux Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross Board, and as a Volunteer for the Make A Wish South Dakota Foundation, just to name a few. One accomplishment she is particularly proud of was being nominated for Wyoming Women of Influence in the mentor category by a previous employee. 

In her personal life, Tanya has one son, Cody, who is a graduate of Dakota State University, a member of the Wyoming Air National Guard, and a State of Wyoming Fire Fighter. She shares her home with Dewey, a Black Lab, and Kitty, a Russian Blue cat. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking with Dewey, attending concerts, relaxing on the lake, taking in a little rodeo, cheering for the Minnesota Wild Hockey Team – and shopping for shoes. Last but not least, Tanya is quite comfortable and can hold her own with a small arsenal – including a 38, 9mm and a shotgun, thanks to her dad!



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