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Member Spotlight: Roberta Smith

Member Spotlight: Roberta Smith

Roberta SmithRoberta Smith is senior vice president of Missoula Federal Credit Union in Missoula, Montana. A Montana native, Roberta graduated from the University of Montana and worked as a middle school teacher before moving on to train adults in the business sector. She joined the credit union industry 33 years ago and is presently serving as senior vice president and oversees the HR, training, facilities, and financial planning departments. In 2012 she was named Montana SHRM Human Resources Leader of the Year.

Biggest challenges

Maintaining a healthy balance between deposit and loan growth; maintaining a high concentration of investments in order to increase net income; dealing with the increased regulatory environment.

Best advice

Do the best you can with what you have for the time given. Don't sweat the small stuff. Attitude is everything!

Best part of my job

Working with the best team of people I could ever hope to work with and a credit union that truly believes in providing a culture of learning and development, along with a willingness to expand and try new ideas to improve.

Hardest part of my job

Providing feedback to people that they don't want to hear.

Success story

We began developing our succession plan almost eight years ago (before it was the "thing" to do) in preparation for some known (and possibly unknown) changes that would occur within our senior management team. That plan has been tweaked and revised in 2007 and in 2010 and worked wonderfully when a senior vice president left for a CEO position in 2009 (resulting in four internal promotions) and has now again put us in the position to be ready when three of the six current senior management team employees (including the CEO) will retire over the next several years.

Biggest misconception people have about your job

That HR doesn't add to the bottom line and that it is a "support" function that doesn't need a seat at the table or offer anything strategic to help the credit union grow into the future. Thank goodness my credit union doesn't feel that way and values what HR has to offer strategically to our organization.

Hobbies and interests

Genealogy family, reading, playing bridge, golf, movies, animals, being outdoors.

Recent book

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Franck.

Life goal not yet accomplished

Travel to South Africa to visit relatives and then go on safari to see all the animals while I am there.

Favorite quote

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest" (Benjamin Franklin).

How I would explain the credit union difference to a potential new member

I would speak to the volumes of thank-you letters and notes we receive each month from members that thank us for how we make them feel when they do business with us, and not always about how fast or accurate we are (even though we try to do that too). They always speak about how much we care, that we make them feel good, that we treat them like a friend, etc. That, to me, is what separates us from banks—the employees we hire who believe in the credit union way of doing business with our owners.


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