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Putting that POV in Perspective

Sometimes it's hard to believe, but over time society has become a much less violent. In general, murder rates have gone down. One thing that has not changed in some places is the treatment of women. Unbelievably almost, child marriages still take place and bride burnings and acid attacks are nearly as common.

The myriad stories Sheryl WuDunn chronicles in her book, Half the Sky , co-written with her husband, fellow-Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, have helped her to appreciate what she has while still fighting for more for women around the world: More freedom, more healthcare, more food, more respect. Just more.

Following her address at the Global Women's Leadership Network during the World Council of Credit Unions ' Annual Meeting, I had the privilege of sitting down with Sheryl to discuss the book, American women's career advancement issues, life and, yes, credit unions."What I really liked was that the credit union was founded on the principal of microsavings," Sheryl explained about why she was attracted to speak to the credit union group. Half the Sky is fraught will stories of women who gain access to capital and enabled to build a better life for themselves and their families, overcoming conditions unimaginable in the U.S. Take for example, Goretti Nyabenda of Burundi in Africa, who disobeyed her drunken husband to form a CARE group, which brought women together to talk about their circumstances and pool their meager funds to take turns borrowing from the pool of funds. Additionally visiting nurses provide basic healthcare and HIV testing. Goretti bought fertilizer with the money she borrowed from her CARE group to improve her potato crop, which served her very well. She was able to expand her banana beer business and to buy a pregnant goat that brought her another goat a few weeks later and milk. At night the goats come into her family's home to sleep so no one will steal them. This is Goretti's success story.

The tale from halfway around the world certainly puts things into perspective for women in developed countries like the U.S. dealing with workplace challenges. Those are still very important and working women still deserve greater progress, but the story of Goretti and others in Half the Sky helps ground us. Microfinance in developing countries is also an area where WOCCU and credit unions can have a significant impact, and already are.

What Goretti learned and built herself with was a network. Female professionals must do the same. It's time to stop taking pity on Goretti, and take a lesson from her. Sheryl WuDunn emphasized this point with me during our conversation. "You need to be a part of a network and networks only work if there's trust among the network," she emphasized. Women who achieve success also need to realize that they have to help the women below them on the corporate ladder in order to stay on top.

It's a point the Sheryl Sandberg also made in Lean In. Some of the well-established female executive built their careers during a time when it was fashionable to have a token woman among the senior ranks-but only one. That led some to keep other women down.The modern female executive must keep in mind, as Sheryl WuDunn added, "You don't get to stay on the top if you don't build support from the bottom."

She continued, "Everybody's heard of the old boys' network and that was very effective...Women just want other things that they can talk about and build camaraderie around." It's human nature that people feel more comfortable around other people like them, but female managers must be careful to expand their networks beyond other women. Sheryl advised that networks should be co-ed because we can all learn a lot from each other.

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke

Publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society

Boom: New Technology, New Reach

Mobile remittances, referred to as the "next generation" of electronic payments via the mobile channel, have various benefits. For example, many people in rural areas do not have access to traditional financial services, but do own cell phones. Therefore, the latter part is absolutely ideal for mobile-banking outreach. So, World Council of Credit Unions "provided software and technical assistance to the Le Levier Federation of credit unions to launch 'Boom'--a mobile banking product. It is the first mobile product in Haiti to connect user transactions to credit union current accounts rather than use stored cellphone value. Offered by more than 60 credit union locations nationwide, Boom offers Haitians the ability to register, deposit and transfer funds to registered and unregistered users for free and to make low-cost cash withdrawals within seconds via their cellphones," (July 2013 news release). The following is a true story about Boom, and an invaluable example of the kind of personalization and close ties that credit unions have with their members.

One day at a Haitian credit union, a staff member named *Anne received a call that the internet was down at a neighboring credit union in Port-au-Prince-and they needed to perform a payout for a customer. Anne and *John, a World Council staff member, made a detour to resolve the problem. They arrived at the credit union, and John offered his personal laptop and satellite internet connection to perform the transaction. After a few failed attempts, they were unable to process the transaction. They then inquired with the customer and learned that he had received a text message about a company called "Boom."

Anne and John asked the customer if he had called Boom's customer service line to resolve the issue. He replied that he hadn't called because his phone had just ran out of minutes. John then happily introduced himself as a Boom representative informing the customer about the company and how mobile remittances work. The customer was pleasantly surprised, appreciative, and decided to register on the very same laptop. After the first few steps, the member's phone died before he was able to finish. Once again, John gave him his own phone to complete the registration process.

The member's withdrawal was finally completed. To finish the process, Anne and John took a screen shot of the member's receipt, saved it to a thumb drive, and transferred the data to the customer's account to print later for his own records. Before leaving, the customer turned to both of them and said, "Wait...it's as if you came just for me, right? I have been waiting here for 2 hours waiting for the internet to work to get my money, and then you show up from Boom!" Anne thanked him for his patience and made sure he felt settled with everything. He then went on to say, "I'm so excited to try this new service." The man was also happy to hear that he was now a member of the credit union. He explained that he had always thought about joining a credit union, but was hesitant and unsure. Now, he felt eager, comfortable, and excited to take advantage of the opportunity given to him through Boom. This was a genuine highlight for John to witness how the customer felt Boom made a personal visit, just for him.

So how does this short story relate to Global Women's Leadership Network? First, this is an undeniable example of a committed member-first attitude from a credit union leader. Moreover, take a look at what John wrote about how the General Manager inspired him as well as others:

"The General Manager, *Mary, of this credit union was and is an incredible natural female leader. In addition to being the General Manger, she sells Mary Kay and welcomes many of her members with a smile and a hug. It is truly ‘relationship banking' as we so often hear in the U.S. You immediately sense that certain intangible kindness and warmth in her when you meet her.

The reason all of this matters is because Mary is always the first to try new technological things and does so out of implicit trust in her credit union league because they have a long-standing relationship which has established that trust. It isn't about pricing negotiations, blaming others when things go wrong, or making sure she's in control--as some male leaders are prone to do--it's about trying new things and taking risks because she wants to improve her members' lives. There are bigger, more sophisticated credit unions in the federation--but if you want to try something new you go first to this credit union and talk with Mary." 

Sarah Timmins

Social Media Intern

World Council of Credit Unions

 

*=Names of people and institutions have been changed to maintain privacy.

Sources:

"Haiti: World Council to Explore Mobile Utility Payment Solutions for Sustainable Electricity Program." World Council of Credit Unions. World Council, 11 July 2013. View for the full news release.

Wolf, Saul. Manager of Remittance Services, World Council of Credit Unions.

Tags
Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Member Service

Join our Linkedin group!

The Network is happy to announce that we now have a group profile on LinkedIn. You can search for us under "Global Women's Leadership Network (World Council of Credit Unions)" or click here to see our page. Please join the group and feel free to start discussions on our wall. We also invite you to share the group with other women leaders in the credit union industry. Non-members are welcome!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Discussions, Member Service, Networking, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Thoughts on the Mobile Revolution

In the article, Designing for Women: The Mobile Challenge (http://blog.usaid.gov/2012/09/building-a-better-user-experience-the-mobile-chapter/#.UGYAg65SAvg.email), Christopher Burns, economic growth and agricultural development advisor of USAID, said  “Mobile phones are a real game changer when it comes to tackling global challenges around the world but if the design does not change, hundreds of millions of women risk being left out in this next mobile revolution. That is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

Burns conducted research in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, that shows on average resource-poor women are 22% less likely to want a mobile phone because they don’t know how to use it.

Do your credit union members know how to access their financial information through their mobile phones? How can we, as credit unions, make sure no one is left behind in the mobile revolution?

Maybe we can use this research and work with members and offer a basic tutorial on how to access their accounts and other key phone functions. Perhaps tellers could help members on a case-by-case basis or classes could be offered on occasion?

As financial cooperatives we have the ability to shine while helping our members understand new technologies. Has anyone done outreach on how to make members more comfortable with technology? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Marketing, Member Discussions, Member Service, Networking, Technology

Olivia Wilde Talks about Microfinance

I had the chance to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently, and the episode featured an interview with actress Olivia Wilde.  Although she was there to promote her new movie, she also talked about her recent trip to Kenya, which was inspired by the book Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  While in Kenya she saw the work of microfinance organizations and women's groups that are fostering self-sustainability. You may recall that our Network Chair, Sue Mitchell, has referenced and recommended the book to us a few times over the last year or so.  The book does intrigue me, and I thought you might want to check out the video clip of her interview as well.  Here you go... http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-26-2012/olivia-wilde.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions, Networking

Making Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

The term glass ceiling was coined in the 1980s to illustrate women’s struggle to be seen as equals in senior executive positions. While that metaphor holds true today, fissures are appearing where they hadn’t been before. I’m confident that will continue as women climb the corporate ladder and expand their numbers in the marketplace. A 2007 study in the Journal of Organizational Structure, Communications and Conflict found that it certainly exists. The survey was conducted in 2003 and found three women sitting in the corner offices at Fortune 100 companies. This was up proportionally from just two in the Fortune 500 in 1996. Women comprise more than half of the population yet we occupy a meager 3% of the top spots and the most successful companies. Similarly, non-CEO female executives at the Fortune 100 accounted for 5.8% of executives in 2003, up from 2.6% of female officers at the Fortune 500 companies in 1997.However, an area where women (and the men, generally, who hire them) have made remarkable strides is compensation. Several studies have found, particularly at the upper echelons of the pay scale, the differences are nonexistent when it comes to compensation packages. For 2001-2003, according to the Journal article, female non-CEO execs earned a bit more in the median than their male counterparts with the mean reversing slightly. With a sample size of only three female CEOs, a statistical conclusion could not be reached for that set.The study concluded that the glass ceiling is certainly not shattered but a dramatic shift will occur over the next several years as women earn college degrees at twice the rate of men, and because the economy is no longer manufacturing based, which favored men.The glass ceiling is certainly still there but the more of us who chisel away at it the more quickly it will shatter completely. Or should I use a more appropriately feminine term than shatter? No, we need to annihilate it. Obliterate it!To be fair, until recent history, women have made other choices in life that conflicted with or interrupted their careers, such as education level, stereotypical gender roles and family. Even as you look up the corporate ladder, you’ll see most women are in stereotypical female roles, such as HR or marketing. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs; they’re great! But they tend not to lead to CEO positions, and that’s fine too. Do what you love and you’ll get what you define as your top spot every time.

If a big office is what you crave, it’s nice to know that with confident negotiation your contributions could be valued every bit as much as a man’s.

Sarah Snell Cook, Editor & Chief, Credit Union Times 

By Sarah Snell Cooke

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Diversity

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) lacks diversity among its employees. In an article by Credit Union Times journalist Heather Anderson, NCUA’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion points out that minorities only represent a small percentage of credit union employees; a percentage that is even smaller when it comes to high-er  level positions. Although women make up 46% of their employees, only one fourth of NCUA’s senior pay level positions are held by women.  Within the U.S. credit union industry, women comprise almost half of senior positions but minorities make up only 11%. To face this challenge, NCUA recommends (among other suggestions) that credit unions include diversity goals in their strategic plans.

What strategies do you suggest to promote the inclusion of minorities and women?

To read full article please click here
To read the report released by the NCUA’s Office of Minorities and Women Inclusion please click here

Don’t forget to take a look at our new Spring Newsletter!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society

Credit Unions' Access to Mobile Technology

Dear ladies,

 

Today, we all know that efficient telecommunications, even more mobile phones, are an absolute must to carry out our businesses. But did you know that women throughout the world have an unequal access to mobile phones?

In a very informative article, Cammie Erickson, from the non-profit organization “Business of a Better World” (BSR), talks about a “significant gender gap”. Using data from the “GSMA mWomen Programme” (attached as a PDF document in the article), she points out four policy recommendations to address this gap. More than providing better access, what Cammie Erickson considers as crucial is improving women’s literacy in technology. A few innovations and partnerships already exist to empower women through mobile technology.

 

To read the article, please click on:

https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/empowering-women-through-mobile-technology#.T1KRwuP-4Kc.email

 

What about you? Do you and/or your members have good access to this kind of technology? 

 

And if you’d like to have further details about the role and value of Mobile Technology in our Credit Union world, please read WOCCU’s President & CEO, Brian Branch’s post in CUInsight:

http://www.cuinsight.com/media/community/what_is_mobile_technologyandrsquos_worth_to_credit_unions.html

 

-Global Women’s Leadership Network

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Internal Operations, Member Service, Technology

Keys to Sucessful Succession Planning

Heads up!

Sarah Snell Cooke, Credit Union Times' Editor-in-Chief and current member of the Global Women's Network, gives the well-qualified women executives some tips about getting into leadership positions in the credit unions world. In a very interesting column, she explains the pool of opportunities longtime leaders' retirement represents for women leaders. Among the concerned people, Crystal Long, President & CEO of GECU replacing our Network Member Harriet May; Carla Altepeter, also one of our members, who succeeded Dennis Cutter as President & CEO of Numerica Credit Union. She also introduces a new CUTimes' program called "Women To Watch", a great tool to shine a spotlight on exceptional female executives in the credit union industry.

To read the full article, please click on:

http://www.cutimes.com/2012/01/16/editors-column-women-executives-key-to-the-success

We hope to see many of you at the GAC breakfast next month!

-Global Women's Leadership Network

 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society

Learn the ins and outs of credit union regulation!

No one has a crystal ball — but we can foresee what credit union regulations might be coming down the pipeline. To better prepare ourselves I’d like to invite you to an exclusive World Council of Credit Unions webinar designed to keep you at the forefront of global regulatory compliance issues. The Basel III Capital Accord and CU Regulation Webinar will be offered on Feb. 1, 2012, from 9 to 11 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) in English and on Feb. 2, 2012, from 9 to 11 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) in Spanish. The cost is • US$100 for World Council members with developed CU movements (Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland, USA) • US$50 for World Council members with developing CU movements • US$200 for non-members You’ll hear from regulatory expert Glenn Westley and learn about the most influential regulatory guidelines in the world — the Basel III Capital Accord. Find out what changes may be coming and how they could directly or indirectly affect your credit union. Plus, you will have the opportunity to ask your most pressing questions. To sign up visit www.woccu.org/webinars.
Tags
CU Boards / Volunteers, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Member Discussions, Regulatory Issues
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