The President and CEO of Elevations Credit Union, Gerry Agnes, welcomed over 30 female executives to the credit union and spoke eloquently about the importance of the Global Women’s Leadership Network and World Council. He proudly noted that Elevations Credit Union has earned the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor for performance excellence in innovation, improvement and visionary leadership. Elevations is the first credit union in the country to win the award.
This commitment to leadership development was evident through the Sister Society meeting. Nancy Herbert, Board Member of Elevations started the networking by introducing the members to Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-violence, Suzzanne Painter, who discussed domestic violence and the impact GWLN donations will have in supporting women within the Colorado area.
Susan Mitchell, founding Chair of Global Women’s Leadership Network, was introduced by Nicole Brusewitz, Mountain West Credit Union Association. Susan told the GWLN story and the history of Dr. Brian Branch’s, CEO of World Council, purpose in starting a network of credit union women. It was an inspiring look at how we can make a difference, globally and locally. She noted that there are now more than 700 members in 53 countries.
Calyn Ostrowski, Worldwide Foundation Executive Director, presented key initiatives from World Council and gave the members a look at events that are planned for the upcoming year, scholarships awarded and the strategic vision for GWLN.
The group then engaged in networking exercises regarding leadership transitions, telling their personal stories, advocating for themselves, asking for a seat at the table and a robust discussion on “why” women are not stepping forward.
We discussed becoming the “host” Sister Society for the Denver Conference and everyone was very excited. We encouraged everyone to join as members, so they can participate fully in the opportunities presented through GWLN.
Great session and inspiration! Thanks again to Elevations Credit Union and to Mountain West Credit Union Association.
MSA participated in a lunch and learn at Touro University with President Shelley Berkley for Southern NV Sister Society Global Women's Leadership, World Council of Credit Unions. This University is changing the landscape of education in Nevada and across the globe. Credit Union professionals from southern Nevada gathered to learn about the community involvement as well as President Berkley's communication style. Her experience in politics and education is extensive, she offered excellent advise for women and all leaders.
Amazing week on the Gold Coast, Australia as credit unions and cooperative financial institutions from across the globe gathered to create synergy and energize our global credit union movement. The WOCCU is a world trade association and development agency for credit unions. Their international program assists credit unions to build efforts, provide services to the underserved, support communities and encourage legislative reform. Mitchell Stankovic is a Gold Level supporter of the WOCCU. We also lead, facilitate and support many activities in conjunction with WOCCU.
The Global Women's Leadership Network Forum at the WCUC meeting in Australia was a great success. Facilitated by Sue Mitchell, women from across the globe discussed ways to get involved and assist each other in making a difference in the lives of their members.
The meeting of the Arizona Sister Society of the Global Women's Leadership Network, World Council of Credit Unions on May 29 offered another tremendous opportunity for learning and networking, as well as contributing to the community. Participants enjoyed a great opening from Jaquetta Ward, Association Support Manager at the Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA), who hosted the event with her organization. Thanks to Brandi Stankovic from Mitchell Stankovic for her update on the growth of the organization. She reported that we now have more than 600 members in 15 chapters across the globe - including our partner group that started in Colorado on May 28. Brandi's presentation featured a discussion of issues from Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The topics spurred thoughtful discussions about the nature of leadership and how we can promote our own success and that of other women in credit unions.
Florida Global Women's Leadership Network Sister Society Session was a success!
The importance of professional women working together to develop the potential of women around the world cannot be overstated. Guest speakers included Linda Darling, SVP/COO Suncoast Schools Credit Union and Dr. Brandi Stankovic, Mitchell Stankovic & Associates.
Recognizing that a global initiative was inspiring but meeting once a year was not enough, key leaders of GWLN developed the concept of Sister Societies which allow more intimate exchange of ideas and networking within a regional or local area. There are three areas of focus: Personal Development, Professional Development, and Credit Union Community Development. Personal Development may include mentoring, networking, life balance, and issues that prevent moving up within the organization. Professional Development may include access, influence, sponsorship, being advocates, and exchange programs. Promoting women’s causes within each local community development is part of the CU brand and social mission.
Dynamic women leaders are recruited or volunteer to become local Sister Society champions. They work tirelessly to create programs and network opportunities for women within their areas. Group leaders and their progress to date has been documented in the update section of this recap. Meetings are held three times a year, rotating between member credit unions and offered free of charge including lunch sponsored by local credit union. Attendance is open to all potential members and “friends” who are encouraged to get involved. Letters of introduction are sent to CEOs in the area to provide information regarding GWLN and the Sister Society requesting they send women leaders within their organization to participate in the networking and program.