James L. This, PhD, SPHR

Susan K. Girsch

BA, Spanish, Wake Forest University

PhD, Communication, University of Southern California

Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)


Skilled and Experienced

Jim This and Sue Girsch have been providing strategic solutions for clients throughout the United States for over a quarter of a century.  They have a deep appreciation for the dedication of the Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee and Executives and strive to enhance their effectiveness. 

BA, Business Education
University of Northern Iowa


Susan specializes in executive recruitment and compensation. She is also the Institute Manager for The Volunteer Leadership Institute (presented by the Rochdale Paragon Group).

James This is a nationally recognized consultant, facilitator and trainer in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, interpersonal communication and marketing.  Jim is one of the principals of James L. This and Associates.  He is probably best known as a founding partner of The Paragon Group – one of the most respected consulting firms in the credit union industry.  Through these companies, Jim has helped credit unions for over twenty-five years.

Chief Operating Officer

Augustus Bora "Gus" Sanford

Gus Sanford is the newest team member.  Gus is a native of Alaska and specializes in client relaxation and stress management.

Jim earned his BA from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.  He holds the title of Senior Professional in Human Resources from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Jim’s career has found him in three arenas—financial services, teaching and management consulting.  During his long association with the Washington State Employees Credit Union he held key positions as Marketing Manager and Executive Vice President.  He has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, Permian Basin, St. Martin’s College, South Puget Sound Community College and The Evergreen State College.

Sue developed and managed The Paragon Group’s vendor management and enterprise risk management programs. Working with a software developer and legal team, the solution was developed to meet NCUA/FDIC guidelines for managing third-party vendors. The vendor management program is the premier solution in the industry. Asset size for clients range from $12 million to more than $10 billion.

Sue has worked with numerous credit unions and banks, small to large, facilitating workgroups as they developed, implemented and trained staff on overdraft protection programs.

As Paragon’s Training Manager, she developed and taught classes on MS Office software.  She has spent many hours designing curriculum to meet the specific needs of her clients.  In addition she has presented workshops to state agencies, credit unions and non-profits using the DISC (dominance, influence, steadiness, compliance) survey as a basis for developing improved team building within the organizations.

Prior to working at The Paragon Consulting Group, Sue worked as an instructor for South Puget Sound Community College and Kirkwood Community College.

Chief Relaxation Officer

Sue is a member of the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee of EvergreenDirect Credit Union in Olympia, WA.  She loves to travel and spend time with her family.

He is an accomplished ball chaser and a master of tug of war with stuffed animals of any kind - especially mallard ducks.  He is tireless in this pursuit and will stay at it as long as it takes.

On a personal note, Gus enjoys long walks - particularly when they include chasing bicyclists and sniffing other dogs.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.  Jim is an avid golfer and proud grandfather.