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Roscommon Credit Union #ChooseToChallenge

Community 2 min read

12 Mar 2021

As part of our #ChooseToChallenge campaign we’re speaking to women all over the island of Ireland and asking them about their involvement in the movement, why they think the organisation does so well in terms of gender balance, and their one piece of advice they would give to inspire other women.

Our analysis from a sample of 190 credit unions found that 45% of Credit Union CEOs reported were female. We spoke to Bernie Moran, CEO of Roscommon Credit Union for her insights.

Bernie’s first involvement with the credit union was when she opened her account.

“At age 16, after a business studies class on Credit Unions in Secondary School I opened my Credit Union account. I volunteered at age 17 in my local credit union assisting on Fridays on the counter and at seasonal holiday times.  It gave me my first responsibilities outside of our family business.”

“I began my professional career working for Bank of Ireland but after two years an opportunity arose in Roscommon Credit Union and I applied.  I had my interview the morning after my 21st birthday party and the rest is history.”

We asked Bernie what attracted her to a career in the credit union sector and explain what makes it so special?

“Everything about Credit Union!  I absolutely love the ethos, the fantastic people involved and the way it has evolved.  We have a great Staff, Board and Board Oversight here in Roscommon CU and I am proud to work among them all.  The atmosphere is great, the culture is great, and we help improve the lives of our members every day.  We are there for the big and small requests.”

“The whole picture of ‘what a credit union is’ is what makes it special.  We gather as members of a common-bond and lend the combined funds.  So many free services which we provide for the good of our members, the joy around giveaways, members draws and children’s competitions with the Art and Quizzes.  Our Credit Union brings many people together that otherwise would not be connected.”

Bernie also described how her work with the ILCU Foundation has inspired her.

“My work with ILCUF in 2019 and 2020 has definitely sparked a renewed interest for me on the world around me.  Credit Unions in Africa have such little resources and yet they are so important for their members in terms of facilitating loans for basics such as food and education.  It was amazing to be able to travel abroad as an Irish woman and be in a position to help the staff in the Credit Union which were mainly women on both credit union and life queries. I experienced a real feeling of fulfilment which I would never have enjoyed if I was not part of the Irish Credit Union network plus I could never have assisted in any other field to the people of Sierra Leone and the Gambia only through Credit Union.”

On the topic of International Women’s Day we asked Bernie, what this year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge meant to her and why she thought there is such a high level of female involvement in key positions within the movement?

“#ChooseToChallenge should be a mantra for every woman daily.  For me a challenge is only something that needs a little extra effort and the outcome will be worth it.  Choosing to take it on is only the first step and we should all be open to these occasions.”

“I think there is strong female representation within the movement as those of us who make up the 45% of female CEO’s around the country are a resilient bunch.  It takes more than education and experience to do this job, I feel the females have compassion and common sense in equal measures which is a big driver for success for any Credit Union.”

Our final question for Bernie was what was the most important message she wanted to send out?

“Don’t ever be afraid to try and don’t let barriers stop you from achieving your goals!!”

“I need to be challenged and Credit Union life has never stopped flowing fiercely around me.  This is to be looked on as a positive and is what drives my determination, creativity and growth on a daily basis!”
Interested? Why not become part of the story! Join us today as a member or volunteer, and know you’ll be part of the fabric of your local community, and a movement who celebrates gender diversity and inclusion!