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Volunteer Spotlight - Heidi Miller

Heidi Milller (Manager of Procedures & Privacy Officer at Interior Savings Credit Union) has been a mentor and host to five women credit union managers from Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines on the Women’s Mentorship program since 2012. Heidi also was a coach in Ghana in 2011 and 2014 and Malawi in 2012 where she provided hands on coaching advice on credit union day to day operations with her Ghanaian and Malawian counterparts.  

Heidi MillerIn Canada, Heidi was also nominated in her home town for a Volunteer Spotlight article for all her volunteering with several organizations (Kelowna Sunrise Rotary, Canadian Mental Health Association, CCA, Interior Savings’ Across the Lake Swim Society, and United Way breakfast) which was featured on 2 radio stations and Volinspire website.  

We recently asked Heidi some questions about her volunteering experience with CCA.

Why have you been involved in the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP)?

We discovered working with these ladies that we had many similarities – the most important one being that credit unions care about their community and whether that be in Africa or Canada we all want to make a difference in the communities in which we serve and the lives of our members. The Women’s Mentorship Program empowers women to become agents of change and I am so proud of them when they return home and put all their new skills and knowledge to work making a real difference in their communities.

What did your credit union and its staff gain from hosting an overseas woman? 

Interior Savings has worked with CCA in the past by providing managerial resources to the Coaching Program in Africa and it was a remarkable experience (both Gene Creelman and I have travelled to Africa three times with CCA).  We recognize the value and learning opportunity these programs can provide in the lives of others. However, not everyone can volunteer in Africa so the WMP allows our staff to experience the same feelings Gene and I had of gratitude and honour in being able to give back and help make a difference in the lives of others.  

Our staff have gained several new friendships, an understanding of other cultures, a renewed appreciation for what we have, a feeling of contribution and helping others, and it is fulfilling the 6th and 7th co-operative principles of co-operation among co-operatives and concern for community. I would highly recommend people to participate in the program - this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real difference in the life of another person. It just doesn’t get much better than that! 

What was your most memorable moment while volunteering?

When I was in Ghana with CCA, I had the opportunity to revisit a credit union I had worked with on a previous visit. They had only one request – for us to help them realize their goal of providing a water hole for their community. Two years later, I had the chance to return and they had built their water hole! They also went one step further and made it sustainable by selling the water for profit to a commercial company while providing it free for personal use to locals and credit union members. I have never been more proud to know that I was a small part of a project that changed a whole community.