Teresa Freeborn

Teresa Freeborn
Teresa Freeborn
Author & Speaker

Credit union leader, long-time advocate for women, and now author and international fashion brand founder and chair, Teresa Freeborn is an outspoken and sought-after speaker and media commentator who delivers important truths with warmth, compassion and humor.

A champion for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), she was an inaugural member in WOCCU’s Global Women’s Leadership Network and is currently serving as its chair. 

Most recently, Teresa served as President of Kinecta Federal Credit Union, the 35th largest credit union in the nation with approximately $6 billion in assets and 300,000 members. She assumed that role after orchestrating the merger of Kinecta with Xceed Financial Credit Union which she had served as President and Chief Executive since 2006. Having accomplished the goals she set for herself as Kinecta’s president, Teresa decided to step down in late 2021 to write a book that draws insights from her career and aims a penetrating and revelatory light on how and why men are holding women back from reaching corporate C-suites and Board rooms; importantly, she coaches men on what they need to do to become effective allies for women in the workplace. She has also taken on a more active role in helping to grow Smash+Tess, a clothing company she Chairs and co-founded in 2014 with daughter and Smash+Tess CEO Ashley Freeborn.

This new, diverse and intriguing portfolio is classic Teresa Freeborn who has, throughout her four-decade career, advocated for numerous causes about which she is passionate and helped shape the credit union industry in key areas, including diversity and inclusion, as well as technological innovation and genuine collaboration among credit unions.

In support of those goals, Teresa served on the Board of Directors for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and chaired that organization’s CU Awareness LLC, an industrywide program that aims to attract more consumers to the credit union category, since its’ inception. She has also served on the Research Council for the Filene Research Institute and chaired both the California Credit Union League’s Board of Directors and the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES) Board of Directors. A mother and grandmother who truly embraces credit unions’ “people helping people” ethos, Teresa has chaired the Credit Union for Kids Advisory Board – Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and continues to be an active participant in their major fundraising activities. A big believer in the power of education to transform lives, she has also been a trustee of the Western CUNA Management School and served on the Board of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation which focuses on financial education, particularly for youth.

Teresa has received countless awards and honors for both her achievements and contributions to the credit union community, including the California Credit Union League’s Distinguished Service Award and the CUES Hall of Fame award. In 2020, she was a recipient of the industry’s most prestigious award, the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, which is bestowed by the National Credit Union Foundation.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Freeborn holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University and resides in Redondo Beach, California.