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Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Kudos to the credit union community is more gender diverse than many industries. Filene Research Institute released a study, Women in Leadership: Obstacles and Opportunities, earlier this year, which states that two-thirds of CEOs at credit union with less than $50 million in assets are women. However, in the $100 million to $500 million range, the figure is only 20%, and at more than $500 million, the stat is just one in eight credit union CEOs are women. Globally, male CEOs dominate credit unions of all sizes. Then there’s this directly from the April report: Women comprised only 41% of credit union senior staff in 2012 despite making up 70% of the credit union workforce in the U.S.

The reasons for this vary. Certainly many women make legitimate decisions on the home front that they feel they can’t or don’t want to balance with a career. Filene’s April 2014 study noted that fewer women aspire to senior management. But it also found that employers nudge men and women in stereotypical directions that lead women to areas of the business that are not considered senior management track departments. For example, the head of HR is typically considered an “appropriate” role for women. Or marketing (which should be considered much more important than it generally is, but that’s another discussion).

What perpetuates the stereotyping? Society? Some basic evolutionary instinct? Whatever the cause, it needs to end. The statistics don’t need to move closer to 50-50 out of a sense of fairness. Diversification is not an equal rights issue. It’s a business continuity issue. Continuity in the sense of prosperity and the fact that there will not be enough qualified Gen X men to fill the spots vacated by those who will be retiring over the next decade. According to a University of California-Davis report, among the 400 public companies in California, the top 34 firms with the greatest gender diversity at the senior management level earned three times more revenue and 50% higher profit than the average company in the study.

In order to move toward greater equality and prosperity, we must acknowledge and educate. Part 2 of Filene’s research series is coming out next month, Credit Union Women in Leadership International Research Series Part 2: Attributes and Challenges. Filene is hosting a colloquium to discuss the results of the next survey on June 19. As of this writing the event had 68 registered attendees, only four of who are men and one is a professor at the University of Southern California where the event will be held. Go West!

Women’s issues are not just women’s issues. They are your business issues, your daughters’ and your wives’ life and career issues. It can be uncomfortable for men to address the issue of gender. I applaud the men at Filene like Mark Meyer and Ben Rogers for tackling this issue. Some male executives might be afraid of saying the wrong thing so they bury their heads in the sand, but Filene and the handful of men attending their colloquium are lassoing this issue that is bucking just under the surface to obtain a better grip on the future of the workplace, leadership and how it can improve credit unions.

“If you’re not aware of what the data says, then it’s easy to put it aside,” Rogers explained of Filene’s research. If it’s not in your life experience, it’s easier to turn a blind eye. True leaders read the landscape, saddle up and ride that pony—not off into the sunset but into the sunlight. Do you have the spurs?

By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

At Mudi SACCO we have just had our Annual General Meeting for 2013 on 26th April, 2014. Being a female General Manager for this SACCO, I am very happy to see, my fellow two women scooping two seats in the Executive BOD of four, making it 50-50. All the past years it has been men only or just one lady in the executive. Indeed, its time women we need to break the ceiling. "WE CAN". Sisters, share your experience at your Organizations/C.U/ SACCOs.
Tags
CU Boards / Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Program Updates

Learning SEO and Online Advertising for Free

These days everyone is thinking about drawing on the power of the internet to promote themselves, their business, and their professional career as well as reach the younger generations. But most of us do not have endless amounts of cash to pay for the training, and also don't have schedules that allow for formal classes. And still many others don't live in an area where training is available.

I've been an ongoing student of all things "internet" for a while now and have compiled a great list of 6 sites that provide free training, templates, services, and ways to stay connected with the ever changing world that is digital marketing. If you're considering the world of digital marketing, I strongly advise you to take your time. Read about the different channels, start small, and allow yourself the time to learn while you grow. Just jumping in can result in much money spent, without much in the way of return. Free sites are plentiful, but unless you have the time to check them out, they may do more harm than good. For a start, I'd recommend sites like distilled, surveymonkey, hubspot and subscribing to bloggers like Avinash Kaushik and Occam's Razor for some honest and trustworthy support. To read more about these sites, you can check out my article, 6 Free Online Marketing Resources, recently published by Yahoo! I think that when we learn, we should share what we can, so hopefully this information will help you in your career.

Tags
Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Marketing, Technology

Take Time to Ask, What's Up, Doc?

I never go to the doctors. I know that's bad, but I'm relatively young and never had any health issues before. It's a waste of a lot of time (and money) to go for annual physicals only to have the doctor tell you you're fine, which you already knew. It's like asking a meteorologist what the weather is currently while standing next to an open window.

But you never know what's brewing over the horizon. As I'm rushing headlong toward 40 in the next couple of years, I'm finding it's not so hard to take the time as I previously thought. This is in part because I have come to realize the world does not fall apart if I spend an hour or two at the doctors every once in a while. Or when I finally determine a day or two when I can take time off, I actually make an effort to take the time off.

Women tend to take care of everyone but themselves, whether it's kids or parents or significant others. They insist any of those loved ones go to the doctor's office immediately or take it easy when they're not well, yet women do not require the same of themselves. Many work full time, come home often to do most if not all the domestic chores, volunteer, and run kids to various activities in the evening.
Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that stress-related illnesses were twice as high in women than men, working women's health is of particular concern. Work-related stress was also linked to heart disease, muscle and bone disorders, depression and burnout. In fact, job stress affected immunological biomarkers in a test performed on female nurses. In addition, 1 in 8 adult women binge drink and a large percentage come from homes with $75,000 or more in household income. Women also feel nervous-or at least admit to it-more than men. The National Health Interview Survey by the CDC found that women felt nervous most if not all of the time in the 30 days running up to being interviewed for the study, while 12% of men said they did. And yet women's life expectancy increased. We must be tougher-go figure.

Women may be able to out-multitask men, but that doesn't mean we always should. Take time off to see the doctor or to kick your feet up with a glass (or two) of wine. How much damage can the men really do while we're away?

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Re-Imaging Work

I recently received the link to this video.  It's thought provoking and perhaps could start conversations about usage of technology helping women by providing the flexibility that so many of us need and if done properly by organizations will allow us to take advantage of that flexibility guilt free.

"How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem – and could it also be part of the solution? Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open, collaborative and flexible working culture."

Tags
Impact of Women in Society, Technology

International Women's Day March 8th

What is your Credit Union doing to recognize International Women's Day?
Tags
Marketing

Women on Board: Credit Unions Seek Volunteer Diversity

Great article in the CU Times today.  Some of our sisters are featured in this article that focuses on  the benefits of having women on boards, some of the barriers women are facing and ways to remove those barriers. 

http://www.cutimes.com/2014/02/12/women-on-board-credit-unions-seek-volunteer-divers?eNL=51520a1b140ba0ed7800006c&utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=CUT_eNLs&_LID=161803213

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society

Overcoming Barriers to Leadership for Young Women

I've posted a great document in the Resource Library.  The Conference Board of Canada published this briefing by Naoko Hawkins called "Overcoming Barriers to Leadership for Young Women".  The focus is on the barriers that millenial women are facing in advancing in leadership.  There is great food for thought here and I feel it is applicable for all women, not just millenials.  Take a look and let me know your thoughts!
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Motherload Documentary

This 45 min Canadian documentary on motherhood aired on CBC earlier this month and can be viewed free online.  
It explores the growing demands of motherhood combined with the growing demands of the workforce while systems, workplace structures, and societal norms haven’t changed much from the beginning of the industrial revolution.  I'd be interested to hear from our sisters outside of North America to see if these experiences are similar for them too.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Leadership Story: The "Unseen" Barriers

I found this article particularly motivating and eye-opening as it conceptualizes leadership as something much more psychological and deep-rooted than it is usually discussed. It's not about "acting out" a leadership role but actually internally BEING the leader and knowing your worth. This sparked my memory from a developmental psychology course in college. In psychology, this could mean reaching the top of "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" – self-actualization.

The bottom of the pyramid is physiological needs, then safety, then love/belonging, then self-esteem, then self-actualization. The interpretation is that one cannot reach the top without successfully completeing each stage below. In this theory, self-esteem must come first.

I'm curious what others thoughts are on this excerpt, or if anyone else had a similar or different interpretation:

"As a person's leadership capabilities grow and opportunities to demonstrate them expand, high-profile, challenging assignments and other organizational endorsements become more likely. Such affirmation gives the person the fortitude to step outside a comfort zone and experiment with unfamiliar behaviors and new ways of exercising leadership. An absence of affirmation, however, diminishes self-confidence and discourages him or her from seeking developmental opportunities or experimenting. Leadership identity, which begins as a tentative, peripheral aspect of the self, eventually withers away, along with opportunities to grow through new assignments and real achievements. Over time, an aspiring leader acquires a reputation as having-or not having-high potential.

The story of an investment banker we'll call Amanda is illustrative. Amanda's career stalled when she was in her thirties. Her problem, she was told, was that she lacked "presence" with clients (who were mostly older men) and was not sufficiently outspoken in meetings. Her career prospects looked bleak. But both her reputation and her confidence grew when she was assigned to work with two clients whose CFOs happened to be women. These women appreciated Amanda's smarts and the skillful way she handled their needs and concerns. Each in her own way started taking the initiative to raise Amanda's profile. One demanded that she be present at all key meetings, and the other refused to speak to anyone but Amanda when she called-actions that enhanced Amanda's credibility within her firm. "In our industry," Amanda explains, "having the key client relationship is everything." Her peers and supervisors began to see her not just as a competent project manager but as a trusted client adviser-an important prerequisite for promotion. These relationships, both internal and external, gave Amanda the confidence boost she needed to generate ideas and express them forthrightly, whether to colleagues or to clients. Her supervisors happily concluded that Amanda had finally shed her "meek and mild-mannered" former self and "stepped up" to leadership.

Effective leaders develop a sense of purpose by pursuing goals that align with their personal values and advance the collective good. This allows them to look beyond the status quo to what is possible and gives them a compelling reason to take action despite personal fears and insecurities. Such leaders are seen as authentic and trustworthy because they are willing to take risks in the service of shared goals. By connecting others to a larger purpose, they inspire commitment, boost resolve, and help colleagues find deeper meaning in their work."

 

Read more: http://hbr.org/2013/09/women-rising-the-unseen-barriers/

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members
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