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Hilo Grad Launched Credit Union Career As Student Intern

When Ashley Yamamoto graduated from UH Hilo's College of Business and Economics with a BBA in 2012, she was already serving at HFS Credit Union as an intern.  Six years later, she was in photos with Hawai‘i Island Mayor Harry Kim on Twitter.  Ashley was happy to share some of her experiences at UH Hilo and as a member of the Hawai‘i Island community.

What are you doing now in your career?

I’ve been with HFS Federal Credit Union for the past seven years, beginning as an intern while a senior at UH Hilo, then as Marketing Specialist, and now as Marketing Coordinator. I work with an awesome team including a fellow CoBE alumni, Jesica Pacheco (’13), and our intern, Melanie Ebreo, a current CoBE senior. Together we cover the advertising, specials, social media, community outreach, and financial education efforts for our credit union, island wide.

We’re working on our 2nd Annual Reality Fair event, open to high-school juniors and seniors. It’s a simulation to give them a hands-on experience with what it’s like to manage a household budget and their money as an adult. This is probably one of my favorite events that we plan.

Why were you at Mayor Harry Kim’s proclamation signing

This year I became the representative from my credit union to the Hawaii Credit Union League’s Big Island Chapter Young Professionals Committee. Each of our nine Big Island credit unions was asked to appoint a promising, up-and-coming employee, under 40 years of age, committed to making a difference and advancing our industry.

Our committee met with Mayor Kim in early October as he signed the International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) Proclamation. Every third Thursday of October, credit unions throughout the world celebrate ICU Day as a reminder of our philosophy, “people helping people.”

What did you learn or experience at CoBE or UH Hilo that has helped in your career?

My internship from CoBE has been priceless. I have my entire career because of the internship, and highly encourage any student to take advantage of this opportunity. Even if you don’t find your career, you’ll have gained real work experience relevant to your field, which can be used when applying for other jobs.

Anything else you would like to share about what you're doing these days?

I just finished my term with the UH Hilo Vulcan Booster Board this summer. I got to see first-hand how students, coaches, staff and my fellow board members put in so much work and dedication into Vulcan athletics, and it really was an awesome experience. As a student I didn’t attend many games, but I highly recommend our alumni to come out and support the school, or find other opportunities to give back or stay in touch with our school however they can.

University of Hawai‘i Alumni