Skip to main content

Veteran Human Resources Professional Joins Community First Credit Union

By: Maria Coppola, APR, CPRC

Posted on 9/21/2021 1:40:40 PM

Senior VP of HR to guide workforce as financial institutions
pivot and evolve to pandemic influences

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 21, 2021Community First Credit Union, one of Florida’s largest credit unions, announces it has appointed Lori Smith, PHR to be its senior vice president of human resources and training. As the credit union’s top HR executive, she will lead the credit union’s workforce innovations in a post-pandemic economy including growth plans, employee development and retention, workforce training and diversity/equity/inclusion commitment.

“Community First is proud to welcome Lori to our team,” said John Hirabayashi, CEO and president of Community First Credit Union. “Retaining our great employees, growing our team and diversifying our workforce across Northeast Florida is critical to continued growth of our credit union. Lori will lead our efforts to expand and grow and meet the challenges of a post-pandemic workforce.”

Smith is a certified professional in human resources with more than two decades of experience in HR. Most recently she served as VP of human resources and organizational development at United Way of Northeast Florida. Prior to her work at United Way, she was regional human resources manager for State Farm Insurance managing HR in 11 states. She has held various other positions in HR since 1999 including talent acquisition/succession, employee relations, HR management and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“I’m proud to join Community First to help cultivate our skilled financial services team,” said Smith. “Strong employees are the key to our member-focused culture and our future.”

Community First, Downtown Jacksonville’s longest-continually operating financial institution, is headquartered in LaVilla and has expanded its Downtown headquarters and its branch network. In 2020 Community First expanded an additional headquarters location at 701 W. Adams Street.

In 2002, Community First had a total of 188 employees which has grown by 80% to the current 350. Since 2002 its assets have grown more than 380% from $605 million to $2.3 Billion in August 2021. The growth along with efficiency gains have provided higher quality, higher wage jobs and returned more value to the credit union’s membership.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned the PHR designation from the HR Certification institute and is also a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the CPCU Society, Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2017 and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Named “Credit Union of the Year” (2020, large asset category) by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions Community First Credit Union of Florida is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving more than 155,000 members and with assets of $2.3 billion. Community First has 19 locations and 340 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages and investments for consumers and businesses across the First Coast.