A cooperative credit union leader on the value of cultivating skill | Credit Union Journal

Deborah Donnelly, senior program supervisor of skill and efficiency at BECU in Tukwila, Washington, is promoting the cooperative credit union motion by assisting young specialists discover their specific niche.

Deborah Donnelly, senior program supervisor of skill and efficiency at BECU in Tukwila, Washington.

Since Donnelly entered her existing function with the $30 billion-asset cooperative credit union in May 2021, she’s been challenged to assist the advancement of existing staffers while likewise sourcing future generations of specialists. The most significant challenge she deals with in her day-to-day obligations “is ensuring we have the right talent with the right skills to achieve future outcomes and goals,” Donnelly stated.

She resolved this vibrant by leading the launch of BECU’s young expert staff member resource group while likewise creating inaugural organization-wide programs for training and preparing skill management strategies — all of which saw staff member engagement enhance.

“Effective mentoring occurs when there is a mutually beneficial relationship between the mentee and the mentor … built on trust, respect and a willingness to lean into difficult topics, reflection and stretching one’s comfort zone,” Donnelly stated.

Donnelly is investing this year advancing the build-out of these programs, developing online forums for internal discussions about dealing with spaces and supporting profession objectives, reorganizing staff member efficiency metrics and supporting academic efforts for skill.

In 2022, she supervised the project to update and plainly specify the cooperative credit union’s list of crucial understanding and abilities required for each position throughout the business. In simply 3 months, she completed these organizational proficiencies, which are customized to specify each position’s obligations and describe what principles connect to day-to-day jobs.

With simply a group of 3 staffers — herself consisted of — Donnelly achieved what external companies were not able to do over the last 5 years.

“Deborah’s work continues to focus on our employees who can then focus on our members and support BECU in achieving our purpose. … I am a lucky leader because she teaches me just as much as I hope I teach her,” stated Ann Marie Summerhill, vice president of organizational efficiency at BECU.

Throughout all of Donnelly’s efforts because her start with the cooperative credit union in 2010, as a contact center expert, variety, equity and addition have actually been important to her work. Donnelly has actually rested on DEI councils within BECU and routinely meets the cooperative credit union’s workplace of equity and addition to guarantee requirements of fairness within general skill practices and information collection. 

Like-minded executives have actually done the same throughout the market within their own organizations by producing brand-new items for reaching into underserved neighborhoods and bespoke hiring practices that hire varied point of views.

DEI includes whatever from “building out new hire training and new hire mentor training in previous roles to enterprise-wide talent programs for feedback, coaching and talent planning in my current role,” she stated.

She wants to continue her upward trajectory and one day hold the title of primary individuals & culture officer. Outside of work, Donnelly is a board member of the King County’s Chapter of Credit Unions and volunteers her time mentoring university student through the Global Mentorship Initiative.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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