The CUInsight Experience podcast: Debbie Painter – Stay intentional (#98)

“Love what you do, and if you don’t love it, find that love.” - Debbie Painter

Thank you for tuning in to episode 98 of The CUInsight Experience podcast with your host, Randy Smith, co-founder of This episode is brought to you by Trellance transforming data into actionable insight for credit unions from coast to coast.

My guest on today’s show is Debbie Painter, the President and CEO of the Kentucky Credit Union League. Debbie and I talk about leadership and the communication skills it takes to be a good leader in this digital world that we are all living in. We talk about growing up in credit unions and how that swayed Debbie’s career path, and her view of looking at each position as a longer, bigger career instead of just a job. Debbie also shares some hacks for internal candidates looking for a CEO position plus much more on this episode of The CUInsight Experience.

Debbie believes that investing in membership, community, and employees are ways credit unions will stay relevant in the future. She shares some counsel on how her team stays connected during the pandemic and how her leadership has evolved with a ‘family-first approach. This has helped the KYCUL team maintain a healthy and positive atmosphere. She also shares her concerns for credit unions in this tough financial environment.

Listen as Debbie shares what inspired her to take the position at the league and how that inspiration has grown over the last two years. Debbie says that her faith enables her to make hard decisions, and seeing your position as a job and nor a career is a mistake most people make today. If she hadn’t started as a teller and worked her way up, she says she wouldn’t be where she is today.

During the rapid-fire questions, we learn that Debbie thought she would be a secretary when she grew up and the best album of all time is anything by the Bee Gees. When she hears the word success, she thinks of herself because she loves what she does and believes that if you don’t love it, you should keep looking until you find what makes you happy.

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Books mentioned on The CUInsight Experience podcast: Book List 

How to find Debbie:
Debbie Painter, President and CEO of the Kentucky Credit Union League
LinkedIn | Twitter


Show notes from this episode:
A big shout-out to our friends at Trellance, an amazing sponsor of The CUInsight Experience podcast. Thank you!
Check out all the outstanding work that Debbie and her team at Kentucky Credit Union League are doing here.
Shout out: Wendell W. Lyons (former President and CEO of Kentucky Credit Union League)
Shout out: Debbie’s mom
Shout out: John Pembroke
Shout out: Samantha Paxson
Shout out: Jill Nowacki
Shout out: KYCUL
Album mentioned: The Bee Gees Greatest Hits by The Bee Gees
Book mentioned: The Case Against Socialism by Paul Rand
Previous guests mentioned in this episode: Samantha Paxson, John Pembroke, Jill Nowacki (episodes 4, 18, 37, 64 & 82

In This Episode:
[01:51] – Welcome to the show, Debbie!
[02:31] – Debbie shares some hacks on staying connected to everyone during this pandemic.
[04:36] – Over the last year, how have you grown as a leader?
[06:14] – Debbie speaks about her concerns for credit unions over the next few years in this tough financial environment.
[08:33] – Debbie thinks credit unions need to invest in membership, community, and their employees to stay relevant going forward.
[10:13] – Debbie thinks the focus on education needs to be expanded, and engagement needs to be amped up.
[11:03] – What will you be proud that your team has accomplished a year from now?
[12:31] – Debbie discusses what inspired her to take the position as league president and CEO.
[13:50] – Debbie shares that the inspiration hasn’t changed over the last two years, but it has grown.
[15:13] – Showing them you are the person for the job is a hack that Debbie believes will help you leap CEO.
[17:42] – Is there something your team has heard you say so often they can finish your sentence?
[19:20] – Debbie says that her faith has a lot to do with making the hard decisions.
[20:00] – Your small so that must be easier is a myth she wants to debunk.
[20:41] – Not seeing your job as a career is a mistake she believes people make today.
[22:00] – Debbie shares that her mom’s work ethic is something she had taken with throughout the years.
[22:57] – How have mentors been important to your career?
[24:38] – Be yourself, be a sponge and watch and learn is something Debbie believes you should do if you want to advance into a position you don’t think you are qualified for.
[25:29] – Debbie runs to recharge when she has a day off.
[26:31] – Debbie says she was so unmemorable in high school, she lived in the shadow of her older brother.
[27:22] – Debbie thought she would be a secretary when she grew up.
[28:00] – Do you have any routines that, if you don’t do, your day feels off?
[28:32] – What is the best album of all time?
[29:06] – Do you have a book you think everyone should read?
[29:57] – Faith and Family have become more important, and the race to prove herself is less important.
[30:40] – When you hear the word success which is the first person who comes to mind?
[31:36] – Love what you do, and if you don’t love it, find what you do love are words Debbie would like to leave the listeners with.
[32:23] – Thank you so much for being on the show!

Randall Smith

Randall Smith

Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust. As one of the co-founders of he ... Web: Details

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