The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.
Here we are speaking with Dan Wass, CEO at Buckinghamshire Building Society.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire.
I joined the Buckinghamshire Building Society as CEO in September 2022 so I am a relative newcomer to Bucks! It has been an absolute privilege to join the Society, which is based in Chalfont St Giles, and work with a team that is so clearly proud of the work that we do to serve our members and support the local community. I’m familiar with the mutual sector having worked at Nationwide Building Society beforehand, and feel very strongly about the role that building societies play in financial services and a very close alignment with the mutual values that are so strongly held across the sector. I’m a geography graduate from Leeds University, and still enjoy various outdoor activities whenever I get the chance (and can’t help trying to inspire my kids to follow my interests in the process!)
What personal achievements are you most proud of?
As a newcomer to the Society, I’m particularly proud that the Bucks was able to demonstrate its ongoing support for the local community through a range of initiatives. Last year we donated £75k to 10 deserving charities in Buckinghamshire, through our Here To Help Fund. This year, thanks to the votes of our members, the Society was also able to make a donation to the South Bucks Hospice to assist their fantastic work supporting patients with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions through the provision of specialist palliative care.
Our ability to support the local community sits at the heart of what makes our mutual business model so positively impactful and different from mainstream financial services. I’m excited to say that we have some great plans in the pipeline to further enhance our local proposition for the good of our local members and community.
What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?
In today’s world, it sometimes feels like there are challenges to face most days! I think overcoming challenges boils down to a few things: support – making sure you have the right people around you; openness – being open to suggestions, help and a range of perspectives; adapting – in order to find the right/best possible outcome; all of which will help you form clarity of thought, confidence and the drive to execute the right plan.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I’m not great at remembering too many quotes – and there have been plenty that have resonated with me over the years but one that has stuck with me is: “Be the change you want to see”. It’s easy to feel that there are things going on around you that you don’t agree with, or you feel are happening to you, but we should never underestimate the potential that everyone one of us has to effect change, lead by example and take people on the journey with you.
What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?
What strikes me about Bucks is the diversity of the county and the opportunity we have to join forces in response to the various challenges that people face – stronger together. As a mutual building society, our vision is that we aspire to be “the best small building society, endorsed by a thriving membership locally and nationally – committed to helping members achieve financial security and home ownership.” It’s a vision that is firmly rooted in our heritage and consistent with the hopes of our founders in 1906 – something that we aim to make sure endures for many years to come…
Read more of our Inspiring Buckinghamshire interviews here.