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Meet the CEO of the CICM - Women in Business Series

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Sue Chapple is the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), however she admitted that when she first started working she never imagined she would end up responsible for an organisation.

Each role provided Sue with a rich source of experiences and learning opportunities which allowed her to continuously develop. It was no doubt helped by her strong work ethic driving her to achieve what she wanted, initially juggling two paper rounds and working in the fruit and veg shop on Saturdays and a shoe shop on Sundays while she was at school.

Her first role was with TSB as a junior clerk, taking on any task given and learning any job thrown her way. Sue recalled: “On my first day I was still in the bank at 6.30pm; when the Bank Manager, Mr Coke, enquired why I was still there, I responded that I was waiting for permission to leave.” Mr Coke was one of the biggest influences in her working life, helping her to understand that being enthusiastic, interested and diligent were just as important to learning as being academic. He supported her taking banking exams and understanding the fundamentals around credit and debt, which was a valuable skill.

When Sue joined South West Water to manage the accounts centre and call centre, at the time of the Water Reform Bill, she met her second biggest influencer, Ken Hill the Finance Director. At his suggestion to be affiliated to a professional body to network with peers she joined the CICM.

Sue continued to build up valuable skills and experience within the utilities industry, heading up client services at Severn Trent Water, Senior Client Manager at Convergys and Head of Revenue Management at EDF Energy. She was also part of a joint venture (JV) with the Cabinet Office. All these roles were centred around things she enjoyed: dealing with people and helping to solve problems.”

Sue began to work for CICM in 2018 when the CEO was looking for someone to grow the institute’s strategic relationships, working with members clients and partners. Her success in the role led to Sue being asked to step in as Acting CEO before being formally appointed at the beginning of March 2020.The pandemic meant that her leadership skills were put to the test immediately, having to take a radical view on what the strategy for the professional body would be when people weren’t able to come into the office, exam centres couldn’t open, and members couldn’t meet up. The result was a total rethink on how to protect revenues and protect our reputation.

Sue’s final words of advice are those of the CICM values: Be Brave, Curious, Resilient. They are effective values for life – be brave, take that step out of your comfort zone, say yes to that event or activity; be curious – never stop asking ‘why’ and above all be resilient – the sun will come out tomorrow and the majority of things that are keeping you awake today, will not matter this time next year.

View the whole whitepaper interview here.