BECU Senior Program Manager Deborah Donnelly describes Arnessa Belin as “an intentional disruptor for good, who sees the world through the eyes of what is possible through credit unions and communities.”
Belin, a call center supervisor at $28 billion asset BECU, Tukwila, Wash., has found that a career in cooperative financial services allows her to express herself while creating change within her workplace and community.
“I’m not against tradition, but I like thinking about doing things a little differently, especially when it comes to being a young professional in the credit union space,” Belin says. “Credit unions, traditionally, can be a bit conservative. And that’s for good meaning and for good reason, but it’s always important to consider how can we make changes to have a greater impact on our communities.”
Belin helped form BECU’s Black Alliance Cooperative Employee Resource Group (ERG), for which she serves as lead chair. She’s also a member of the credit union’s Young Professional ECG and was a CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference Crasher in 2021.
As part of her ECG work, she focuses on employees’ mental health. “Mental health is seamless when we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Belin says. “We have to think about diversity of mind and include all those who may think differently and process how they think and feel. To me it’s about allowing people to be free in how they express themselves.”
Belin also is an advocate of mindfulness and its positive effect on the workplace. She’s even part of a BECU mindfulness group that meets weekly.
“Mindfulness is the practice of allowing yourself to be fully in the present and acknowledging your feelings for what they are,” she says. “It’s a space of psychological safety, and it creates a sense of understanding and acceptance of each other.”
Those positive mental health tools have helped Belin in her job, where she faces challenges to keep staff motivated in a high-pressure, high-volume atmosphere.
“A call center job is call after call, day after day, with stats and metrics,” she explains. “It can become very routine. But if you push through the routine, you understand that you’re the face of BECU.
“That image should bring you pride and dignity,” Belin continues. “Suddenly, your five-minute call is part of a great member experience. We all serve a greater purpose.”