Chief Operational Officer, Franklin First Federal Credit Union: Age 38
Sarah Erman didn’t attend college to prepare for a financial-services career. In fact, her focus as an undergraduate at MCLA was photojournalism.
“I worked with some local newspapers, and I did some freelance with the Greenfield Recorder until I got my job here at the credit union,” she recalled. “My student loans were coming due, and I needed to actually have a job that supported me for the payment of those loans. And there was an opening at Franklin First.”
Starting as a teller, Erman moved into member services and eventually became operations manager and then chief operating officer.
“This was not where I initially saw myself,” she said. “But the more time I spent at the credit union, the more I saw my future there, helping to provide new experiences for our members and staff. The philosophy of the credit union is people helping people, and that’s what really got me to stick around. Once I understood the philosophy, I really fell in love with the credit-union world.”
Erman said she wears many hats, including day-to-day operations, facility management, compliance, and security, and she acts as the institution’s Bank Secrecy Act officer.
She also earned praise from President and CEO Michelle Dwyer for bringing Franklin First up to date with modern technological standards that helped it navigate the pandemic seamlessly. “Had these operational improvements not been made,” Dwyer said, “our credit union would not have been able to continue meeting the needs of our membership.”
Active in the community in numerous ways, Erman has served on the board of directors for Root to Rise, volunteers at the credit union’s financial-education events, and helps nonprofits that reach out to Franklin First for assistance with creating new events.
Notably, she’s heavily involved with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin, serving for the past four years on the fundraising committee that enables three large events each year: the Hope and Healing Breakfast, the Race to End Child Abuse, and the Chipping Away at Child Abuse golf tournament.
“It’s unfortunate those services have to be provided, but they’re such necessary services,” she said. “I feel like I’m able to give back to these kids and the community by helping these committees raise awareness and raise funds for such an important, deserving organization. Those community events are critical to the operations they provide for kids in the community.”