World Council of Credit Unions created the Global Women's Leadership Network to provide a community of credit union leaders dedicated to making a world of difference. Below are the responses that members gave when asked about their involvement in the Network.
Why did you join the Network?
"To network globally. To share with other professionals. To keep me connected within my profession, not just in my community but across borders."
Kylee O'Brien, Investment Lending Officer
Copperfin Credit Union, Ontario, Canada
"I am very interested in gender issues and also the opportunities to support, especially young women in the workplace and the credit union movement. It scares me that the vast majority of our staff is female, yet the senior management table only seats a couple and the Board of Directors even less. We are failing in mentoring and providing opportunities for successful leadership to the new generation of CU leaders. And yet I also realize that compared to the global economy, we are very lucky to have the opportunities as women that we do have. I want to make this world a better place for me, my sisters, our daughters and our members' daughters yet to be thought of."
Carrie Allen, SVP Business Development
Heritage Family Credit Union, Vermont, US
"I am a female Army officer who serves as a senior pharmacist for the ministry of defence of my country. I have been a member of the Ghana pharmacist credit union for the past 8 years. I believe in the empowerment of women financially to enable growth. We encourage women to own their own private pharmaceutical companies. I want to join this Network because it will help me meet other women and interact to gain knowledge and help improve other women in my country."
Ghana Pharmacist Credit Union, Ghana
What value does the Network provide to you, your staff or your organization?
"I had the honor and privilege of being a founding member and attending the first GWLN forum in Barcelona. Since then I have attended all but one of the forums. When the initial invitation to the Network came out, I took it to my male CEO and asked to represent my credit union at the forum. Both he and I knew that I could benefit from the network and that I could be of benefit to it. I remember being in a room with a group of women who did not know one another but had the common interest of their credit union/cooperative and of wanting to share their knowledge with others. I made many new friends and learned to communicate via an interpreter with some of the network scholarship attendees. I also got to use my rusty Spanish. After the first forum, I came back to my credit union "empowered" and motivated. I have become a better manager for my credit union due to my experiences at the Forums and with the network. I am now a co-hostess of the New York / New Jersey Sister Society and realized last week that I can do it all when I ended up facilitating our meeting instead of just organizing the attendance and name tags. There were good moments and a few bad but I would never have been able to do this if I had not learned from my fellow network members and my mentor, Sue Mitchell, over the past few years."
Robin Myers, Controller
Melrose Credit Union, New York, US
"The value of the Network for me is the fact that I am able to connect with my peers in other Credit Unions to share ideas and obtain feedback on various aspects. Presentations made at the Fora that I have attended were very relevant, valuable and informative. Most of us women have similar challenges and when we are together and discuss them we are able to find correct solutions. I have been attending the Network Forum since the inception in July 2009 in Barcelona. We, in Jamaica have now formed the Jamaica Sister Society of which I am the leader. This leadership role came about due to association with the Network. My Credit Union will benefit from my involvement in the Jamaican Sister Society which is now a part of the Global Women's Leadership Network. One of our aims is to reach young women in our Credit Unions who need to develop into leaders. We will be using materials from the Network to train and develop these individuals. I am very excited to be a part of this network, which I have found to be supportive."
Barbara Gascoigne, General Manager
Jamaica Teachers' Association Co-operative Credit Union, Jamaica
"The GWLN first of all provided us with the idea to create an internal women’s network within our organization. The GWLN has provided our network with support, guidance and encouragement with the development of our internal network. GWLN has also assisted in providing us with a sister society pairing and another networking opportunity within the Credit Union system. It has been a pleasure to share ideas and best practices with the committee members."
Cheryl Rettschlag, Manager Banking Support Services
Servus Credit Union, Alberta, Canada
"The GWLN changed my life. I have been an advocate of credit unions forever, but now I understand how women from around the world share common issues and a profound commitment to members in their communities."
Caroline Lane, VP-Corporate Development
CO-OP Financial Services, California, US
About the Global Women's Leadership Forum
"The educational content was excellent, and the networking opportunities were not only fun, but also rewarding from a learning perspective. I have a feeling that many friendships will develop as a result of this very positive exchange of ideas."
Laida Garcia, President/CEO
Florida Central Credit Union, Florida, US
"You changed my life. This conference means more to me than I can ever put in to words. Thank you, World Council."
Swanzi Success Mawerenga, Information Technology Officer
Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives, Malawi
"In less than one day, the GWLN forum allowed complete strangers to bond—become intimate in our conversations, confide in each other and vow to make a difference in the world. Outstanding!"
Shana Schuh, CEO
SerTechnology, Texas, US