Susan Byrom (Bachelor of Liberal & Business Studies, 2008) is the Executive Director, Community Investment & First West Foundation at First West Credit Union.


Alumni Feature: Meet Susan Byrom

May 09, 2022

SFU Degree(s): Bachelor of Liberal & Business Studies, 2008

I graduated from the Liberal and Business Studies Program at SFU in 2008. My career with Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, began in 2004 and has grown over the years. In 2017, I accepted the role of Executive Director, Community Investment and First West Foundation, where I lead the credit union’s community investment, employee engagement, and outreach programs across British Columbia. Working with the First West Foundation, we provide financial grants to charities serving some of the most vulnerable in our communities. As a former resident of Surrey, I’ve been very proud to volunteer in the community with many organizations including the Surrey Food Bank and Sources BC. Surrey is a vibrant and growing community and it’s exciting to build partnerships and connections that create capacity and opportunities for others.

What drew you to your area of study?

SFU’s programming offered me the chance to work full time and complete my degree. As I settled into my career with Envision Financial, I knew a post-secondary degree could help me with future opportunities. It was a perfect fit.

What is your favourite memory of your time at SFU?

My favourite memories of SFU include my classmates and faculty members. I was part of Cohort 11, and over time, we grew into a community where we supported one another through many of life’s defining moments.

My relationship with SFU extends to the present through a community partnership with SFU Surrey, the City of Surrey and the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition with the Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC) program. I’m equally fortunate to work alongside faculty member Kathleen Burke, who leads the CLIC program and who was pivotal in our degree program and with our cohort. It’s a story Kathleen and I share often to CLIC participants—the importance and value of partnerships, friendships, and creating connections that make a real difference for individuals and our community.

What advice do you have for SFU students going through their degree?

Create a schedule and be sure to include YOU in it. Think about what brings you joy, what motivates you or calms you and integrate those activities into your weekly calendar. I set aside Sunday afternoon and worked throughout the week to keep that commitment to myself and my family. And always remember, you can do hard things.

Connect with Susan on LinkedIn.

Our alumni go on to engage their community in a variety of ways. Read more alumni stories here.