Nicole Brusewitz receives global credit union award

The World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) has presented the inaugural Emerging Leader Award to Nicole Brusewitz.

The award recognises the accomplishments of an up-and-coming female leader working in the US credit union movement and was organised by the Global Women’s Leadership Network – an international platform for advancing women in leadership positions and improving women’s access to credit union services.

Ms Brusewitz is vice president of education and events at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a regional trade association representing 125 member credit unions, 3.1 million credit union members and $34bn in assets throughout Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. Since joining the credit union industry in 2007, she has worked to strengthen employees and members – and through her leadership has established a Global Women’s Sister Society in the Mountain West region that has equipped hundreds of credit union women with tools to help them navigate their professional journeys, making the credit union industry stronger.

The award has been sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services in recognition of recently retired CEO, Stan Hollen, who made a lasting impact on the credit union movement by personally promoting, mentoring, and inspiring dozens of young women and men.

“Stan’s devotion to developing female leaders is evident in the lives he changed,” said Calyn Ostrowski, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions and Global Women’s Leadership Network.

“In 2009, he became one of the founding contributors of World Council’s Global Women’s program, and through CO-OP’s continual support, has advanced the leadership capacity of thousands of women worldwide.”

Research by Filene and Woccu, the global trade association and development agency for credit unions, found five major challenges precluding women from reaching executive status, including the “pipeline problem” which shows women are more likely to begin working in low-level credit union positions and – despite similar stated ambition – are less likely than men to achieve executive-level status.

“We know credit unions will only realise their full potential when they bring the distinctive vision that women leaders offer to transformative outcomes,” said Ms Ostrowski. “Targeting the leadership potential of up-and-coming talent can shorten developmental milestones and expedite top performers’ readiness for advancement.”

It was Nicole Brusewitz’s work towards this end that led to her receiving the award, said Sarah Canepa Bang, executive vice president, industry relations at CO-OP Financial Services.

“Nicole’s accomplishments are impressive and have a ‘pay it forward’ quality that we at CO-OP Financial Services try to emulate in our efforts.

“To have her as the first winner of this prestigious award sets the tone for all future recipients.”