By: Shelby Deering
The first time Kelley Porter and her husband took their children—ages 4 and 5—on a hike, everyone was happy and excited. That is, until they realized they were on a trail that wasn’t “beginner level” and resulted in carrying two exhausted kids.
For many, this less-than-perfect hike might discourage future treks. For Porter, it was a “hilarious” experience, and she notes they’ve gone on to enjoy hiking and the outdoors together.
Porter is all about experiences, even when they’re challenging. That’s what makes her an ideal vice president of member experience at $1.3 billion asset Alabama Credit Union (ACU) in Tuscaloosa. Although “every day is different,” she says, her focus centers around identifying pain points that impact members, team members, or both.
“My goal is to work with departments and vendors to find solutions,” Porter says, adding that she often implements data, technology, and communication to identify issues, provide support, and educate members on how to make their lives easier.
After graduating high school, Porter took her first credit union job as a teller. After she graduated from college, she began working for ACU while completing a master’s degree in marketing.
It’s her tenacity that keeps her going throughout her career and inspires her to lift other people’s loads, all while fueled by “lots of caffeine,” she says. It’s a go-getter attitude that has translated into her work for the Secret Meals for Hungry Children program, an initiative through the credit union that’s close to Porter’s heart and serves all communities where ACU has branches.
“We now serve over 2,500 children each Friday that school is in session with a Secret Meals food pack,” she says.
To support this program, Porter says she has planned “every crazy fundraiser you can think of,” from wine tastings to triathlons to auctions. Her perseverance also has led her to credit union governmental affairs conferences, where she lobbies on behalf of credit union issues.
When asked about what she loves most about the credit union industry, Porter’s answer is in line with her life’s priorities: “The people,” she says. “I love that credit union people are passionate. They aren’t here for a job, they are here for the movement and with a real desire to help our members and communities.”