Leaders & Experts

The following subject matter experts and senior leaders are available for media quotes and interviews upon request. Please contact Diane Meehl, Public Relations Program Manager, at for more information.

Jeff Meshey | President & CEO

Jeff joined Desert Financial in 1994 and became CEO in 2017. He is a certified public accountant and launched his career with Ernst & Young, specializing in audits of financial institutions. His tenured career at commercial banks, savings banks and credit unions was solid preparation... to lead a $6 billion company known for both its philanthropy and its culture of performance.

Under his calm, steady leadership, total assets at Desert Financial have grown more than tenfold. The credit union first converted to a community charter, expanding its reach to a more diverse membership, and later continued to expand its branch network significantly with a statewide charter. In recent years, Jeff led the credit union through a transformational rebranding and further defined its commitment to sharing success. Desert Financial is frequently voted one of the Best Places to Work in Phoenix and is a past winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Ethics.

Jeff and his wife Debbie make their home in Chandler, enjoying time spent with their six children and three grandchildren. A passionate public servant, he serves as a Board member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and Advisory Board member of the Arizona Educational Foundation. Jeff is a Life member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee, a member of Class 29 of Valley Leadership, and a Sun Devil superfan! Uplifting the underserved, he says, is simply “the right thing to do.” Jeff was named a Most Admired Leader by Phoenix Business Journal in 2019 and is known for his warmth and approachability around the hallways at Desert Financial’s corporate offices in Phoenix.
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Cathy Graham | Executive Vice President

Cathy Graham brings a unique blend of creativity and strategy to marketing and brand loyalty. Her tenured expertise in the credit union movement grew from a passion for the not-for-profit mission that drives community engagement. Cathy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Pennsylvania State University... and studied at the CEO Institute at the Cornell, Wharton and Darden Schools of Business.

A seasoned credit union executive, Cathy served at Citadel Credit Union in Pennsylvania, mastering the art and science of brand communications, public relations, analytics, direct marketing and research and development. She joined then Desert Schools Federal Credit Union in 2006 and climbed the ranks by leading the organization through several high-profile projects. Most recently, Cathy marshaled talent across the company to steer a transformational rebrand that included a new mission, vision and values. It has since become Desert Financial’s clarion call.

Cathy was named Credit Union Marketing Executive of the Year in 2015, and Phoenix Business Journal named her Chief Marketing Officer of the Year in 2019. She is President of the Board at Free Arts for Abused Children. Cathy can speak to issues related to marketing, leadership, culture and women in finance.
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Ron Amstutz | Executive Vice President

Ron is a 38-year credit union veteran who has been with Desert Financial since 1998, providing executive leadership for many lines of business during his tenure. Ron was directly responsible for the development and implementation of online banking and bill payment services for the credit union... — as well as a revitalization of the organization’s brand image in 2001. He also led the organization through two core processing conversions, in 2009 and 2015.

Prior to arriving in Phoenix, Ron worked at four other credit unions in Indiana and South Carolina, leading technology, operations and finance teams. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Bethel University in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Ron is a “Champion” for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and a member of the national Credit Union for Kids Advisory Board. He has led the charge at Desert Financial, raising over $6 million to fully fund the One Darn Cool School at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Ron has also represented the credit union industry on multiple other advisory boards and steering committees, including CULedger, Sovrin Foundation and Corelation Inc.
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Gary Sneed | Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer

Gary has over 30 years of banking experience with regional and national banks. He has been with Desert Financial since 2009, where he currently leads the consumer loan and commercial loan functions for Desert Financial, and serves as CEO for Define Mortgage Solutions... His career has covered responsibilities in many areas, including enterprise risk management, branch sales, and service.

Gary is a graduate of Lake Erie College with a degree in business management focused on finance and accounting. He is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and The Darden University Leadership Development program at the University of Virginia.

Gary currently serves as Chairman of the BBB of Central Arizona Foundation Board and is on the Executive Committee of the Board for the Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest. Past roles include: Chairman of the Board for the Better Business Bureau of Greater Arizona, and member of the Fannie Mae Credit Union Advisory Council, Experian Credit Union Advisory Council and Transunion Credit Union Advisory Council.
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Sulie Richardson | Community Education Program Manager

Sulie has worked in the financial industry for over 35 years, holding a wide variety of positions during her tenure. For more than a decade, she has worked in Community Development teaching financial wellness workshops in the Valley and beyond... , in collaboration with local partner organizations. Sulie has served on the board of Wildfire (formerly Arizona Community Action Association) and as part of the Advisory Council of Duet: Partners in Health and Aging. Download Bio