Sati Smith has made history as the first Black woman to be named CEO of Diversified Members Credit Union, one of the oldest financial institutions in Detroit.

According to a news release, Smith, 53, was appointed to her new role in early November. She replaced former CEO Kathie Trembath, who worked as her mentor and has retired after nearly two decades with the organization.

“This a major accomplishment not only for me and my family, but for the entire community,” Smith said in a news release statement. “It sends a strong message to women and other minorities that we can break glass ceilings. We can accomplish what we want to accomplish. My sincere hope is that this will inspire others.”

Founded in 1929, Diversified Members Credit Union had never appointed a Black woman as CEO in its 94-year history until now, per the news release.

“Sati’s promotion marks the beginning of reaching new goals and heights in her career and is also the start of a new chapter for DMCU,” Diversified Members Credit Union Board Chair David H. Brooks III said in a news release statement. “The board of directors is proud of Sati’s accomplishments. We know she’ll be an outstanding mentor and role model, and we look forward to her leadership and innovative initiatives to come.”

Recently, Smith spoke with Fox 2 Detroit about her position and how she’s come a long way after many hardships in her life.

“I was on welfare, I was a single mother,” Smith said. “You just have to continue to work hard, and utilize the passion, have that drive – and you will succeed. Don’t ever give up.”

Fox 2 reported Smith was 26 when her father secured a car loan for her. She later met Trembath, who encouraged her to accomplish more for herself. After receiving the car, she returned to school and earned the necessary credentials to advance in the company.

The 53-year-old worked her way up while raising her daughter, who is now 31 and works as a loan processor for the organization.

“You want to encourage your child to accomplish things, so you have to be an example, and that’s what I set out to do,” Smith said, per Fox 2. “I think that Kathie saw something in me. I believe that she saw something that I didn’t see at that time.”