Leaders & Experts
The following subject matter experts and senior leaders are available for media quotes and interviews upon request. Please contact Amy Steele, Marketing Manager, at Amy.Steele@desertfinancial.com for more information.
Jeff Meshey | President & CEO“Leadership is neither a rank nor a title. It is a choice. The choice to provide care and protection for those for whom we are responsible.” – Simon Sinek
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 $7 billion company that’s built a culture of performance and philanthropy.
Under his calm, steady leadership, membership, giving back and total assets have grown steadily. 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 cemented its commitment to sharing success. Desert Financial has consistently ranked a Best Place to Work in Phoenix, earned two consecutive wins for Angel of the Year, Business, a past winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Ethics and one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. Jeff was named a Most Admired Leader by Phoenix Business Journal in 2019.
A committed public servant, Jeff serves as a board member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and an advisory board member of the Arizona Educational Foundation. He is also a life member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee, a member of Class 29 of the Valley Leadership and a Sun Devil superfan. Uplifting the underserved, he says, is simply “the right thing to do.” Download Bio
Cathy Graham | Executive Vice President“If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.”
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 Desert Financial (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 steer a transformational rebrand that included a new Mission, Vision and Values. It has since become Desert Financial’s clarion call.
Cathy was named one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business by Az Business Magazine in 2021, Chief Marketing Officer of the Year in 2019 by Phoenix Business Journal and Credit Union Marketing Executive of the Year in 2015. She is a member of the board of directors at Free Arts for Abused Children. Cathy can speak to issues related to marketing, leadership, culture and women in finance. Download Bio
Ron Amstutz | Executive Vice PresidentRon is a 38-year credit union veteran who has been with Desert Financial since 1998, leading several 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, and under his leadership, the organization has raised more than $10 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. Download Bio
Gary Sneed | Senior Vice President and Chief Lending OfficerGary brings more than 30 years of experience with regional and national financial institutions. He joined Desert Financial in 2009, where he currently leads the consumer and commercial loan divisions for Desert Financial and serves as CEO for Define Mortgage Solutions. Most recently Gary led the credit union through the critical Payment Protection Plan (PPP) loans to help business members recover from the impact of the pandemic. During the span of his career, Gary has expertly led 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 Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central Arizona Foundation Board and is on the Executive Committee of the Board for the Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest. Former 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.