Executive Management Team
Executive Management Bios
Julie A. Kirsch
President and Chief Executive Officer
With over 25 years of technical/banking experience, Ms. Kirsch brings depth to the CEO role. In her tenure with Meriwest she has successfully led the credit union through numerous transitions and innovations. Through her strong market analysis and expansion skills Ms. Kirsch navigated the credit union from a single sponsor to community based; this move also included a name change and branding efforts. Ms. Kirsch also spearheaded the development of the Credit Union's innovative financial centers, which feature a design unique to financial services and a variety of self-service, high-tech amenities. Ms. Kirsch possesses a solid background in finance and business operations and as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, managed a significant part of the credit union's operations.
Prior to joining Meriwest, Ms. Kirsch focused her career in product, pricing and market research both on the client and agency side.
Ms. Kirsch served on the MBNA/BofA Advisory Board and is a former member of the Board of Trustees for The Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek. She is currently serving on the California Credit Union League Regulatory Advocacy Committee and is Director and Secretary for Meriwest Mortgage, The Credit Union CUSO. Ms. Kirsch is also a member of the Diablo (Greater Bay) Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO).
Ms. Kirsch received a bachelor's degree in Marketing and a master's in business administration from California State University in San Bernardino. She has also completed the Executive Development Program at Stanford University School of Business and the Leadership Institute at Harvard Business School.
Chief Financial Officer
Brian Hennessey serves Meriwest Credit Union as their Chief Financial Officer. In this position he manages the Finance, Accounting, and IT functions. Mr. Hennessey has over 30 years of experience in financial management. He joined Meriwest after spending more than three years as the Chief Financial Officer of People’s Credit Union in Rhode Island.
After graduating from the University of Bridgeport and progressing to Price Waterhouse, Mr. Hennessey became a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Hennessey later became the youngest Vice President at Gateway Financial Corporation. He has also worked with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as community banks and health systems in Connecticut and Rhode Island where he lived for many years.
Mr. Hennessey has been closely involved with his community in the past. He was heavily involved with the Newtown Forest Association, the oldest land trust in Connecticut. He enjoys the outdoors and is an avid runner and bicyclist. He has competed in several New York and Boston Marathons and currently trains as a triathlete.
Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer
Mark Antonioli joined Meriwest Credit Union in 2003 as Vice President, Lending and Collections. In 2012 he was named Senior VP and Chief Credit Officer. Mr. Antonioli is responsible for all aspects of credit and credit management at Meriwest including: first mortgage loans, member business loans, home equity lines of credit, and automobile loans. He is also responsible for collections and risk management oversight associated with the loan portfolios.
Prior to joining Meriwest, Mr. Antonioli managed the Consumer Lending Business Unit for Fremont Bank, primarily responsible for their home equity line of credit business.
Mr. Antonioli began his career in public accounting with the audit department of KPMG in San Francisco. His banking career began at Wells Fargo Bank, as Vice President-Group Controller. While there, he also served as Vice President-Consumer Lending where he managed staff throughout California. He was responsible for consumer loan underwriting, collections, loan servicing and the company’s student loan business unit. Mr. Antonioli later directed the company’s Specialized Services Division - primarily responsible for providing credit services to automobile dealers throughout the western United States.
Mr. Antonioli has also held various senior positions at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, including the position of Managing Director for Shared Services. Mr. Antonioli currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Meriwest Mortgage,
a Credit Union CUSO.
Mr. Antonioli graduated from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor's degree in Accounting. He is also a member of the CUNA Leading Council.
Senior Vice President, Chief Experience Officer
Tony joined Meriwest Credit Union in 2005 as Vice President, Marketing. Tony is responsible for curating and maintaining a holistic user, business, and technology appropriate experience across the organization. He is responsible for understanding the users of both business and technology, determining how a product and service should grow to support intended experiences, and maintaining an evolving plan of action to support and produce this output. He is responsible for leading the company efforts to differentiate itself based on the quality of the consumer experience through enterprise-wide efforts. His role is positioned as the strategic design resource of the organization with a thorough and evolving understanding of the needs of the business, and responsibilities of each role in the organization.
Tony manages and directs Meriwest’s Retail Sales and Service Delivery units (Branches/Contact Center), Credit Card portfolio, Wealth Management CUSO, Marketing, Communication, Sales Strategy, and Growth, Branding, Market Analysis and data evaluation, New Product and service development, management and implementation of all Interactive Banking channels including ATM, Mobile and Website/e-commerce, as well as intra-department systems integration.
Previous experience includes roles as a retail VP of Marketing and Sales, Creative Director of ad agency, management of retail sales, marketing and product development, acquisitions and mergers, and strategic planning in a variety of retail and consumer and e-business areas.
Senior Vice President, Chief HR & Operations Officer
Ms. Pesta has over 25 years of human resources experience. She has been with Meriwest Credit Union directing the human resources, training and facilities functions since 2000. In 2013 she was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief HR and Operations Officer and added the operations and compliance functions. Previously, she was employed by COVAD Communications as an HR Business Partner, Leasing Solutions as the Vice President of Human Resources and at the Law Firm Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher employed in their business department.
Currently, Ms. Pesta is the Chairperson of the board of CUSIG (Credit Union Self Insurance Group). Ms. Pesta is also the Chairperson of the Board for CUHB (Credit Union Health Benefits, a cooperative) and is the Past President of the Board of Directors for the Human Resources Directors’ network.