Helen Easton brings a wealth of experience to Darlington Building Society and describes her role as “the conscience of the business”.
“It’s all about making sure the organisation has a fair and responsible approach to the way it responds to the needs of its colleagues and members,” she says.
Helen was born and raised in Ryton, on Tyneside – “a Geordie through and through” – and has lived there all her life.
She came from a humble background where her parents instilled their positive work ethic and Helen has continued to be driven by this strong work ethic.
At 16, she got a Saturday job with BHS while also working for an agency responsible for marketing Eldon Square and other shopping centres nationwide.
It was the beginning of a distinguished retail career, which saw her climb the management ladder through a variety of senior roles with major brands including BHS, EWMl, New Look, TK Maxx, and Matalan.
She went on to become a self-employed consultant, working principally with the senior executive team at the Pepco Group, both in this country and in Europe.
After the pandemic, Helen ran the North East team managing the Census, and that led to her becoming Head of People and Culture for a streaming organisation called streamGo, before she joined Age UK in North Tyneside as Group Chief Operations Officer, covering all aspects of human resources.
Now, she is enjoying a new challenge with Darlington Building Society, attracted by the culture and values of the business.
“From the outset, it felt like an organisation that genuinely cares about its staff and its members, and that’s fundamentally important for me,” she says. “The Society is an organisation that embraces change for the benefit of colleagues and members.”
Helen has a wide range of responsibilities covering human resources and facilities, as well as learning and development.
“I’ve been responsible for huge number of people and teams over the years, and my aim is to use that experience to get the best out of those working for the Society, and do the best for those served by the Society.” she says.
So what does Helen see as her priorities over the next year and what is likely to change?
“Strong Leadership is key to the success of any organisation, so focusing on the development of our future leaders will be a priority.”
“There will also focus on developing a strategy around a successful hybrid working model, so we can assess what’s right for each individual and the organisation” she says.
“Another priority will be the diversity and inclusion focus across the Society, so that representation becomes more inclusive across all areas, and in the way it has an impact on the communities it serves.”
Helen has a team of eight members of staff.
I work with a number of direct reports, including one senior direct report. To read a bit more, check out below.