Meet Máire Doyle
Chairperson, Naomh Breandan Credit Union
As a recent World Council's Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship winner, Máire Doyle, chairperson of Naomh Breandan Credit Union (NBCU) in Loughrea, Ireland, has proven to be a strong credit union advocate leading NBCU forward on several key initiatives.
Doyle has been a board director at NBCU since 2005 and was named chairperson in 2010 when she was 32 years old. She has been a strong supporter of NBCU's youth advisory council, which has launched several community-wide initiatives that have earned national recognition in Ireland, including a talent competition called CU Factor. Doyle has also led efforts to help the community and NBCU members by contacting a national television show to film a weekend program in their locality to gain greater visibility for area businesses and members.
Doyle holds a bachelor's degree in information technology and telecommunications and has used that knowledge to help NBCU improve its online presence. Doyle also holds an advanced certification in credit union practice; postgraduate diplomas in both executive coaching and leadership; and recently completed her thesis to achieve a master's in business from the Irish Management Institute in Dublin, Ireland.
We asked Doyle for insights into her success and how NBCU is tackling difficult challenges.
What are your roles and responsibilities at your organization?
In my role as chairperson of Naomh Breandan, I voluntarily lead a team of people, both volunteers and staff, to achieve our vision. I do so in an efficient manner with the members' best interest always central to our decision making.
I must prepare for and chair board meetings to make the best use of our time together and ensure good governance is adhered to and in line with the standard rules. The respect shown to all team members and their contribution is important to me. I strive for continuous improvement in a developing movement.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your organization?
The biggest challenges facing our credit union currently are the economic situation together with increasing regulation. The economy is making good quality loans difficult to source, together with increasing pressure on bad debts and provisioning.
The regulator of Irish credit unions wants to introduce several reforms in the credit union sector, so together with the regulator, a commission was established to outline the best options around this proposal. The process has progressed in 2012 with the establishment of a restructuring board; mergers, acquisitions and shared services are all in the mix. It is a challenge to lead our organization into the best possible scenario for our membership, to sustain quality of service and increase service offerings.
How are you trying to overcome these obstacles?
- Working on a reviewed three-to-five-year strategy, in line with our vision
- Sharing information with other credit unions of various sizes to evaluate options
- Corresponding with the regulator and the Irish League of Credit Unions
- Networking with other credit unions to educate our board
- Liaising with international credit unions who have been through a similar process
- Working on succession planning and schemes to encourage more volunteers
Who has been your greatest role model?
My parents have been my greatest role models. My dad overcame a serious accident and lost a limb when his family ranged in age from five months to seven years. He built a successful business with the support of my mother and raised four children, encouraging and supporting each of us on our chosen career path and continuing to do so in our adult years. Both of my parents were involved in a high level of voluntary work throughout their lives.
Where do you find inspiration?
Having studied for a postgraduate diploma in leadership, I was introduced to many successful leaders and leadership styles. I get inspiration from those gone before me, who have blazed a trail in leadership success stories. I also get inspiration through social media, following great leaders and people who have overcome great challenges in life and in turn shared their insights and wisdom. I meditate regularly, freeing up time and energy to focus within for solutions to challenges I face, and I practice Reiki for stress reduction, relaxation and the promotion of healing.
What advice would you give to other young credit union professionals?
I would suggest that young credit union professionals believe in the power of one. Each and every one of us makes a difference. Let your difference be positive. Try to act as opposed to react. Always give time and space to listen to those around you without judgment.
As Stephen Hawking said at the Paralympics opening ceremony in August, "However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at." Believe in yourself.
How has winning a WYCUP scholarship enabled you to achieve your personal and professional goals?
Winning the WYCUP scholarship has supported my personal goal of successfully leading our organization through these times of significant change in Ireland. It has widened the possibilities, the choices and the experience I can offer to our board. It has provided worldwide networking of like-minded and highly focused people. It is a stepping stone to greater involvement in the success story that is the credit union movement worldwide.
To learn more about the WYCUP program and how you can apply or nominate someone, visit http://www.woccu.org/involved/wycup.