Hudson River Community Credit Union (HRCCU) is devoted to its members and the integrity of their financial investments. As part of its overall structure (and a deep desire to remain member centric), a supervisory committee was set in place to always keep members’ best interests a top priority. The HRCCU’s Supervisory Committee's core purpose is to strengthen all the products and programs within the credit union. The group regularly advises, assists, supports and advocates for credit union members, and it has no legislative, administrative or programmatic authority. It is advisory only in nature, but it is priceless to the satisfaction of HRCCU’s community!
The volunteers on the committee each have a long history with HRCCU as members. Each also brings unique knowledge and skills to the committee, augmenting the expertise of the formal board of directors - all in an effort to guide the organization. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with our supervisory committee members and talk about volunteerism and their perspectives on being an integral part of HRCCU as members, as well as serving in a valuable oversight capacity.
Part one: Spotlight on Denise Williams
HRCCU: How long have you been an HRCCU member, and why did you choose HRCCU for your financial needs?
DW: I have had an account (at HRCCU) since I was a young child. My dad opened my account, as he was employed by IP (International Paper), and he would deposit weekly in my savings (as well as my brothers) when he cashed his check on Wednesdays. The only time HRCCU was not my financial institution of choice was when I was in college in Florida. At that time I opened an account with Jacksonville Navy Federal CU (now VYSTAR), based on accessibility.
HRCCU: How did you become a member of the HRCCU Supervisory Committee, and why was this volunteer position appealing to you?
DW: I responded to a mailing looking for volunteers. I grew up locally, both of my grandfathers, my father, and many of my uncles worked at International Paper Company. I also worked there two summers (my last was the final summer that IP hired summer help before they began cutting jobs in anticipation of closing). With HRCCU’s lengthy history with IP, as well as its community involvement, I could see the value of putting my time into the position.
HRCCU: What duties and responsibilities are required of HRCCU Supervisory Committee members?
DW: We are responsible for ensuring that HRCCU Management meets required financial reporting objectives and establishes practices and procedures to safeguard members’ assets. The Supervisory Committee meets for up to two hours, approximately every other month. Our meetings include the review of Credit Union audit reports, internal testing reports and management’s responses to open audit items and open discussions on any issues or questions. We also periodically attend board meetings, and an annual planning session.
HRCCU: What is your professional background (aka…your day job)?
DW: My current title is Vice President of Operations for the Girl Scouts of Northeastern NY. I oversee the facilities of our three offices and five camps, as well as our summer camp program. We recently completed a site and facilities master plan that we are now beginning to put into process. It will modernize the properties with flush toilets, more “hard” buildings for safety, as well as add programming space and programming elements, such as high and low rope courses. In my previous position with Harmony Group, I was CFO and acting COO. During my tenure, we completed the second and third phases of The Harmony Mills Lofts and converted Albany International into Albany Lofts. I also managed 90 State St as the commercial landlord.
HRCCU: What skills and talents do you bring to the committee position, and what additional skills would compliment others on the committee?
DW: I think my background in finance and construction enables me to look at things from a different perspective than the others on the committee. My husband is a Systems Engineer. So, I have some IT knowledge, which helps with the reports, as well as complementing current committee expertise in this area.
HRCCU: What do you want people in the community to know about the importance of being a part of the Supervisory Committee and specifically serving on behalf of HRCCU?
DW: To me, I think it’s important to know the inner workings of where you entrust your money. It’s a great opportunity to become involved in the community that you work and live in, and to give back to your neighbors. It’s a chance to be part of a team and build your community at the same time. Participation on the committee could also serve as resume builder for someone just starting his/her career. It’s a great learning experience. I learn something new each meeting about the workings of HRCCU, what it does for its members, and even day-to-day news events. For example, when the Target card breach happened, I learned how events like that occur and what protections HRCCU takes to ensure its members’ security. I get to collaborate with some really wonderful people. I want to encourage others to be on the HRCCU Supervisory Committee, because we all value different points of view, and I feel everyone has something important to bring to the table.
HRCCU: What do you most admire about HRCCU and its impact in the community?
DW: HRCCU always has its members and community as the main priority/focus. HRCCU has been part of the local community for many years, and as it has grown it has also expanded its community involvement. HRCCU participates in
events every month - from school programs and the Double H Hole in the Woods volunteer day, to adult education classes (first time home buyers), to name a few. However, I would have to say what I admire the most is HRCCU’s participation in kids’ programs in the communities.
HRCCU: What would you say to encourage others to become a member of HRCCU?
DW: I prefer to entrust my money to HRCCU and to members of my community who have a stake in the company they are working for, rather than to big corporate banks. In addition, the benefits of the credit union far outweigh any other type of financial institution.
For more information about involvement with HRCCU’s community outreaches or for details about our banking services, please come see us in person at one of our branches (Cohoes, Corinth, Glens Falls, Hudson Falls and Troy), or enjoy a helpful chat by phone at: 518-654-9028 or 1-800-824-0700. If you prefer to see what we’re all about online, please go to http://www.hrccu.org/. To become a volunteer with HRCCU, please go to https://www.hrccu.org/become-an-hrccu-volunteer/.
Part two (coming soon): Spotlight on Alvey Harrison.Part three (coming soon): Spotlight on Annie McMahon.