Why did you first get involved in credit unions?
I had been involved in a local New Deal for Communities 10 year regeneration project and was looking to support its legacy. I had experience in finance and the credit union was one of the organisations the New Deal had funded. My credit union was going through a difficult transformation and I had tried three times to volunteer over 12 months but got no response. Out of the blue I received a letter from the President inviting me to the AGM and to stand for the board. It made sense that role was best use of my skills, so I submitted my forms and turned up only to discover my “personal invite” had been a mailshot to all members. In any case I was elected in a competitive ballot!
Why did you choose to stand for election to the ABCUL Board?
A place became available in my region at the start of CUEP. I felt my understanding of the banking software market could help ABCUL avoid the traps and pitfalls I had seen on major projects in the past.
What have you gained from being a member of the ABCUL Board?
I have had the opportunity to meet regularly and discuss credit unions with the top practitioners. I have developed a sector-level overview of the movement.
What have you been able to contribute to the ABCUL Board?
I always contribute an opinion to board discussions. I cannot say there is anything I could point to and say “that was my idea” but I look at the board as a single entity that takes in the thoughts of each of its members and then synthesises something better as a consensus. I have always championed putting members at the centre of ABCUL, focus on member education, stronger forums, better communications and more diversity on the board and those things are higher on the priority list now.
What advice would you give to people considering standing for the ABCUL Board?
If you can commit to the time then the personal growth makes it worth it. One rule I have is that we should never work on the basis that what is best for ABCUL is good for our members but live by what is good for our members will be good for ABCUL.