The Global Women’s Leadership Network has received a distinguished service award at the 2017 World Credit Union Conference in Vienna, Austria. The highest honour bestowed by the World Council of Credit Unions, the award is given to individuals or institutions that have made outstanding contributions to international credit union development.
The network was set up in 2009 by the World Council to address the industry’s gender gap and provide more opportunities for women involved in credit unions. Over 2,000 women are now part of the network, which is the industry’s only platform dedicated to facilitating greater gender balance particularly among leadership positions.
Susan Mitchell, chair of the Network and chief executive of Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates and Calyn Ostrowski, executive director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions accepted the award on behalf of the Network.
“We are changing lives and making a measurable difference in the lives of women. This is a human initiative. We need all people of the world to come together as a co-operative movement,” said Ms Mitchell.
“With your support, Global Women has moved from just an initiative to a world-changing, and now award-winning program sparking dialogue, action and real solutions to advance women in the credit union leadership space,” said Ms Ostrowski. “We rise by lifting others. Yet, there is much work to be done. Thank you for your commitment, courage, willingness to learn, and to disrupt the status quo,” she added, calling for political support and organisational culture to support these changes.
For the first time this year the network opened its doors to male members, who were able to attend the ninth annual Global Women’s Leadership Network Forum as part of the conference in Vienna. Forum participants also heard from keynote speaker Sandra McDowell, vice president of Communication and Culture at First Credit Union, Canada.
At the conference the network also presented the Athena Award to Shana Richardson, chief executive of Ser Technology Corporation. The award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to women’s leadership in the international credit union movement.
WOCCU also honoured post-mortem former employee Dean Mahon, who worked across the world to develop credit unions. Also receiving the award were Grzegorg Bierecki from Poland and Ukrainian National Credit Union Association.