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"Feminine Values" are helping tomorrow leaders

Here is a recent article regarding the increase of focus on "feminine values".

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/08/research_male_leaders_should_think_more_like_women.html

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, 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

"Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership" By Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli, Harvard Business Review (2007)

The full article from The Harvard Business Review can be viewed here: http://citt.hccfl.edu/Newsletters/NewsletterID1.pdf

Both of these women are writers, researchers, and professors of psychology. Studying the findings of these two women during my time at UW-Madison has compelled me enough to share this piece with you. 

Starting out with jaw-dropping statistics that many of you may not already know, Eagly & Carli propose that the "glass ceiling" has shattered--but the challenges are far from over. They argue that it has shattered because there are some women who are now able to permeate through that glass--at a cost. They relate the current challenge of women leadership to pursuing a labyrinth, with "walls all around."

They state: "As a contemporary symbol, it conveys the idea of a complex journey toward a goal worth striving for. Passage through a labyrinth is not simple or direct, but requires persistence, awareness of one's progres, and a careful analysis of the puzzles that lie ahead" (pg. 2). 

The richness of how Eagly and Carli convey the obstacles that make up the "labyrinth" of women's leadership is informative, and covers deep-rooted gender dynamics that many people haven't come to terms with yet. Most importantly, in my opinion, is the obstacle they describe called the "double bind," which is a term that describes the pulls and tugs on women to completely embody both communal "caring" leadership style, while also being agentic and sturdy. If a woman is to lean too far in one direction for a moment, the criticism will begin and the stereotypes start reinforcing themselves. Studies have investigated this phenomenon, about whether this "double bind" exists for men leaders, and results found overall that "men can communicate in a warm or dominant manner, with no penalty either way" (pg. 4). 

Lastly, Eagly and Carli provide us with a list of valuable management interventions that can actually work in aiding other women's journey through the labyrinth. These interventions are essential, to say the least, and should be shared amongst women in management roles and beyond. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would highly recommend their book: "Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders" (2007). One reviewer, Chris Nicholson, expressed Eagly & Carli's book eloquenty: "Too often the beliefs people espouse make gender inequalities seem natural by justifying 'accidents' of history that have assigned men and women uneven roles. 'Through the Labyrinth' (2007) is not one of those books." I couldn't agree more, Chris. 

My questions for the Network:

  1. Have you tried to help implement these interventions that the authors provide us? Which do you see have the most potential, and why?
  2. Further, what do you think of the claim that the "glass ceiling" is no longer the most valuable way of describing the obstacles in women's leadership?

Thank you,
Sarah Timmins
Intern, World Council of Credit Unions

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

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Assertive

The cover letter on a Government Accountability Office report to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee states that women comprise nearly half of the workforce at 47% as of July 2010. While the number of women earning college degrees has tripled between 1970 and 2008, the letter read, they are less well represented among management. The GAO cited the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, which found that female officials and managers in the private sector increased from just over 29% in 1990 to 36.4% in 2002. Women must do their own legwork to raise our collective stature beyond the height of our pumps in 2013.

Between 2000 and 2007, male to female ratios in management was flat across 13 sectors, the GAO found. In 2007 women accounted for 40% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers, while figures from 2000 indicate women represented 39% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers.

The GAO also found that female managers in 2007 had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers. A lot of these factors are very personal choices and they all can be for very noble reasons. It’s nothing anyone else can decide for you. You’re welcome to the sisterhood if and when you’re ready.

But when your personal journey leads you toward career aspirations, do it right. When a job a level up becomes available, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t just hope to get recognized. Management wants someone who can demonstrate they’re a leader and can assert themselves. Gather advice from mentors and colleagues, pull up your big-girl pants and go for it.

Not only are women underrepresented in management, but pay differences also continue to tug at our skirt hemlines. On average, married female managers earned the majority of household wages, but her share was smaller than the average male married manager; this statistic held steady between 2000 and 2007, according to the GAO. The pay gap did narrowed slightly between 2000 and 2007. After taking into account factors such as education level, the GAO estimated that female managers earn 81 cents to men’s dollar in 2007. This was up from 79 cents in 2000, and varied depending upon the sector.

The authors of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating recommend asserting yourself in salary negotiations from the start. A study of Carnegie Mellon University graduates discovered that male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a larger starting salary than female students. The authors stated that was, in part, due to women’s poor negotiation skills or foregoing it entirely. They cite the experience of Maria Dorner, CEO of NewsMD Communications when early in her career, she took her mother’s advice: “You need them more than they need you.” She quickly learned this was the wrong strategy for valuing her work. She asked for double and got it only to learn that a male counterpart had just asked for and received triple. That might be a bit of an extreme example, but the idea is 1) know what you’re worth in the market that you’re in; and 2) be sure to assert yourself to achieve a fair goal. You are worth it—to yourself and your employer.

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, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions, Networking

Women membership campaign

In my Savings and Cedit Cooperative, majority of the members are men. Therefore, we thought of ways of encouraging more women to join the SACCO. We came across a "bring a female member campaign" within the same company member and get a reward of cash paid to anyone who can bring at least ten female members who can contribute about 30 US Dollars collectively. This also extend to male members as well, but our priority is female members. We want to increase our female membership from 30% to 50% of total membership we have currently.
Tags
Community Outreach

The Rise of the Executive Feminism

I thought I would share this interesting article from the Harvard Business Review.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Strong Enough for a Man, but Made for a Woman: Leadership Development and Style

Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was one of my favorite books I read in high school. It's a satire of the craziness of war and the phrase ‘catch 22,' meaning being caught in a no-win situation, came from the novel. "Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them," it reads. "If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to." This epitomizes female executives' leadership progress.

Jean Lau Chin wrote in her Forum on Public Policy Online article, "Women and Leadership: Transforming Visions and Current Contexts," that women are stuck in a Catch-22. Assertive behavior from women is frowned upon but not being assertive only lead to being ignored. "Contradictory portrayals of women leaders pose obstacles to how they lead, and often result in different standards than those applied to men. Women leaders are alternately portrayed as ‘soft and ineffective' or ‘domineering and manipulative,'" she wrote. Definitely sounds familiar to me and I'm sure some of you reading this.

Fortunately modern leadership trends tend more toward women's collaborative in nature. Chin noted that their collaborative skills are "increasingly central to views of effective leadership." A variety of contemporary leadership theories, she contended, could help to mitigate unintentional discrimination, including:
• Contingency or situational leadership theory is based upon the idea that various situations require different types of leadership;
• Shared leadership and empowerment; and
• Transformational leadership that is more value driven, ethics based and social change oriented leadership.

Appropriate leadership development can help women progress into leadership positions and be successful when they reach them. Robyn Ely, Herminia Ibarra and Deborah Kolb wrote in, "Taking Gender Into Account: Theory and Design for Women's Leadership Development Programs," that women's career trajectories were not on par with the men's among graduates of top business schools. Females' advancement in their careers has even slowed in recent years, they wrote. So the group set out to design training programs that don't merely "fix the women" so they can play the men's game, but also provide women the tools to do the "identity work" to become true leaders. Developing a leader identity involves internalizing the leader identity and developing an elevated sense of purpose for the work your organization is doing.

Women naturally seek to be authentic, which may not align with what is necessary to become leaders. Women prefer substantive careers and that can run counter to becoming the professional they can be. Ely and her associates recommended investing time and effort into strong 360-degree feedback and coaching to help women executives see how they are viewed by their bosses, colleagues and subordinates. Ely reported that many who had gone through this process were shocked at how low they were ranked by executives. After letting that settle, then the women are advised on how to improve their performance or better promote the work they really are performing.
What do you think? Are you willing to submit to this type of review, or is it just crazy?

 

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times

 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions

MissRepresentation

During the International Women's Week I had an opportunity to attend a screening of a Sundance Film Festival documentary called "MissRepresentation". While media is the focus of the film I struggle to solely lay the blame with them for how women are presented in the media. 

 Servus Women's Network is interested in holding it's own screening for our network members and I'd be interested in hearing from others who have viewed this film. 

Lean In: Controversial or Conclusive?

As female leaders in the corporate world, I'm sure Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In, has caught your attention. Whether or not you agree with it, this book by the female COO of Facebook is receiving a great deal of hype and is certainly relevant to our Network's goals.

If you have not had a chance to read the book, I will start with a brief summary. Lean In is the expansion of a message Sandberg introduced during the TED talk she gave back in 2010, titled "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders." Her presentation of data from all over the globe proves one point- women are not occupying an equal amount of top leadership positions to men in ANY field in ANY country. This extends to politics, the corporate world, nonprofits, and other fields. Although women have climbed in numbers in most sectors since the 1960's, their figures have stagnated in the last ten years and some are even decreasing. She highlights prejudices society still holds against women in the workforce and the ways in which women may also hold themselves back. To combat these problems, Sandberg proposes several ways women can change their approach, including "Sit at the table," "Make your partner a real partner," and "Don't leave before you leave." "Sit at the table" refers to women taking what is theirs and believing that they have what it takes to move up in the company, because "no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines." She points out that, according to statistics, women systematically underestimate their abilities while men tend to overestimate theirs. She thinks that if women become more confident in themselves, there will eventually be more of them at the top. Referring to "make your partner a real partner," she states that in order for it to become easier and more acceptable for women to rise to the "C level" jobs, it will have to become more acceptable for men to become "stay-at-home dads" as well. Working mothers currently spend significantly more time doing household chores and rearing their children than their male partners do, and a more 50/50 arrangement between couples would help keep women in the workforce. Finally, she talks about "not leaving before you leave," which refers to not leaving "the game" mentally before you actually need to leave for a child. This means that women who may be planning to get married or have a child at some point in the future should not pass up opportunities in anticipation of these life changes, but should "lean in" instead. By "leaning in," a woman can seize valuable career opportunities that will raise her income and make her job more challenging, which will in turn make it more likely that she will return to the workforce afterward.

After her book was released, I noticed a barrage of opinion articles by women with negative reactions to Sandberg's message, mostly on the grounds that it is "irrelevant" to the majority of women. Many decry the fact that she is a millionaire who can obviously afford to pay for childcare, unlike many women in the workforce. Others say she isn't relatable because she assumes most women have a "partner" to make into a "real partner," which many women don't. Still others have said that she is warping the feminist cause by shifting the blame for low numbers of women at top levels to women themselves instead of society. Some have compared her book to "The Feminine Mystique" in the sense that it only relates to a small, affluent part of the population.

For all the scorn she has received from opinion columns on Fox News, Forbes, and others, I believe there are certain axioms from her speech and book that transcend race, income level, and marital status. To dismiss her point of view as unique to only her life situation is truly a shame. When a male business mogul writes a book about how to become successful, it is hardly thinkable that men would discard his ideas simply because they are not relevant to every single type of man. Sheryl openly admits that her advice is not suitable for everyone and that the workforce isn't the right place for every woman, but she has many suggestions for those who choose to stay. I take issue with the fact that people say she blames women for their own misfortunes. Her aim is to empower us in our professional lives by asking us to own our strengths and successes more forcefully. She relies heavily on data in her speeches so she can highlight the fact that that gender bias still exists in our society but that there are ways women may better equip themselves to overcome it. Sandberg believes that having more women in charge would make the world a more equal place and would very much like to see this happen through a change in attitudes toward gender roles.

As I listened to the TED talk and skimmed her book, I could not help but think about the Global Women's Leadership Network's mission. Utilizing Sandberg's ideas could build women up and cause our Network could expand greatly. What are your thoughts on Lean In's message? Would you apply it in your own credit union or cooperative? If so, how?

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Financial/Risk Management, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations

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 Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology
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