ABCUL Board Profile - Director for Scotland

Carol McHarg - Director for Scotland (Joined ABCUL Board 2011)


Carol is the Chief Executive of 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union.  She first became aware of credit unions in 1989 when she was invited to a community meeting aimed at establishing a credit union. 
As a Community Education Worker she has worked within youth development, adult and lifelong learning and community development/engagement and assisted community groups and social enterprises to grow, access contracts and funding.

Why did you first get involved in credit unions?
I was asked to undertake a review of 1st Alliance management/ operational impacts.  I have never been able to escape lol.  I quickly was asked to take the manager’s job on a part-time basis to grow the business using a community development approach.   


Why did you choose to stand for election to the ABCUL Board?
I was asked to consider it by two existing directors, to be honest I wasn’t sure about it however I decided to give it a go.

What have you gained from being a member of the ABCUL Board? 
I have gained in confidence, communication, wider knowledge of other credit unions at home and internationally.  I have been involved in meetings and projects that were challenging and out of my comfort zone.  I certainly feel that I have grown and learnt which is beneficial both personally and professional.

What have you been able to contribute to the ABCUL Board?
I believe I challenge some of the thinking, provide clarification sometimes, understand things from an operational as well as a strategic mindset.  I believe I offer support to my peers and I have committed time to the Board and its vision.

What advice would you give to people considering standing for the ABCUL Board? 
Take the step.  It can be daunting at first however like any new role you need time to settle in, so don’t pressure yourself to needing to understand it all at once.   If you ned childcare, carer costs just speak to the staff at DWP.  It can be challenging, tiring and also enjoyable however the rewards of increased knowledge, confidence and self-belief makes it worthwhile.