Debbie Smith-Hands - Pennine Community Credit Union

Debbie Smith-Hands - Pennine Community Credit Union

I am the Chief Operating Officer at Pennine Community Credit Union I have worked in the sector for almost 8 years now and have been fortunate enough that my Credit Union and ABCUL have given me many development opportunities.

I was a graduate of the very first CU Futures back in 2017 where I completed my LIBF Level 3 Certificate in Credit Union Professional Conduct. In the same year I was awarded ABCUL’s Tracy Slane Award for contributions and commitment from a young person to the CU movement.

In 2019 I completed DEEU in Liverpool and later that year I was lucky to be able attend an Inclusiv conference in LA! This was a particular highlight for me as it was the first time I had experienced the scale of CUs in the US. In September this year I joined the ABCUL Board for 6 months as a Director for the North West.

Why did you first get involved in credit unions? 

I came into the Credit Union world by accident! My children had started school and I was looking for some part-time work. A friend of mine mentioned an admin job at a local Credit Union and I applied. I had never heard of a Credit Union before. My job looks very different now, almost 8 years later.

Why did you choose to be part of the YPN Steering Committee? 

I have always been passionate about retaining young talent within the sector and am already involved in a youth forum for the North West Credit Unions, when the opportunity came up to do this on a much larger scale, I had no doubts that I wanted to be involved and signed up straight away.

Why is the YPN important to you? 

The YPN provides a space for younger professional CU people to get together, share ideas, learn new skills and have a voice. I feel this is vital to our movement for succession planning and ensuring the future of our Credit Unions is in safe hands.

What have you gained from being a member of the YPN Steering Committee? 

I signed up to be on the YPN Steering Committee to help others starting out on their CU journeys but gained so much more on a personal development level. I have grown in confidence, made connections with other like-minded people and am really enjoying seeing fellow YPN’s succeed and achieve great things within the sector.

What advice would you give to people considering wanting to get involved in the YPN? 

Sign up! You will get so much out of being a YP, whether you are looking for training, to network or to just build confidence and step outside of your own CU bubble. The connections you make and the training you will receive as a YP will be so useful throughout your CU career.

If you have any doubts or concerns, please reach out to the committee, we will be happy to discuss these with you and help any way we can.