From refugee to president
Dale Boyd - Feb 11, 2019 - Biz Releases

Photo: Contributed

At the age of nine his family fled turmoil in Mozambique to live in Canada, and now Paulo Araujo has risen through the ranks to become the president of the Valley First Credit Union division.

Originally starting out as a bank teller, Araujo’s success story is a testament to the ability to advance in the company.

“It feels actually pretty humbling,” Araujo said. “I’m pretty proud to work for a company that gives their employees that opportunity.”

His career with Valley First began around 20 years ago when he started a job as a casual, part-time teller at the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre branch.

On Jan. 1 Araujo began his new role as president getting promoted from vice-president of retail and business banking.

His family came to Penticton in 1976. His father was a farmer in Mozambique when civil war erupted in the country.

“Fortunately Canada was the one helping those, I would say, refugees,” Araujo said.

“We had the opportunity to come to what I think is heaven, to be honest with you. How can you go wrong with the four seasons that we have? The lakes, the orchards, the vineyards. We were lucky enough to come here, and it’s something I will always do is give back to this community. Because it gave the opportunity for my family to have a good life.”

Married with three boys aged 22, 20 and 13, Araujo is a firm believer in giving back to the community. He is heavily involved in the Pinnacles Football Club, coaching youth for 12 years. He had the opportunity to take a team on a tour of Europe and fostered two provincial championships in that time.

“I think our community is very important not only for Valley First but for everybody,” Araujo said. “To be able to support our youth, our people so they can live here and help support our seniors as well.”

As for his plans as president, he will continue to work to develop and elevate staff through coaching and leadership.

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