More than 110 credit union women from five continents and 30 U.S. states engaged with industry experts, thought leaders and one another to learn more about resiliency, inclusive leadership, accelerating tech and looking ahead to elevate impact together at the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s (GWLN) 2021 Executive Readiness Summit, held Oct. 27-29.
Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services, ALM First, CUNA Mutual Group, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, eLeadership Academy™, and PSCU, the Summit attracted an international audience once again.
Elissa McCarter LaBorde, who in August 2021 became the first woman to serve as president/CEO of World Council of Credit Unions, greeted attendees with a message of inspiration.
"Firsts are important because until they become normal we really need to raise the awareness that there aren’t enough women or diverse leadership teams," said LaBorde. "This group (GWLN) is actually one of the things that attracted me to World Council and to the Worldwide Foundation (for Credit Unions), the fact that there is this community of women, this attempt to really try to bring people together and effect change."
With 10 sessions over three days, presenters such as Bryn Conway, Principal, BC Consulting, Melissa McCormick, CEO, MX3 Business Solutions and Sandra McDowell, Founder of eLeadership Academy™, focused on personal and organizational resiliency, bouncing forward in challenging times, bias and the brain, and mindset shifts with negotiation skills.
Bryn Conway told attendees that overcoming adversity is key for any professional who wants to become a leader.
“This idea of resiliency is important to understand because it is fluid and it is flexible and you can increase it over time," said Conway. "It's similar to our emotional intelligence, which can be developed over time. So, I think that's the wonderful thing that we can look at with this, is that we truly can strengthen our individual characteristics when it comes to resilience."
In a session on negotiation skills, Melissa McCormick provided a framework for attendees to learn and perfect the skill of collaborative negotiation where both parties win something of value.
"We've got to fix our mindset. Everything is negotiable so we need to anticipate, visualize success, find our voice and get in the game," said McCormick. "Preparation and practice are key to getting those ins."
Along with individual presentations on leadership skills, a diverse panel discussion featured leaders sharing professional journeys, insight and recommendations to attendees.
“Our domestic and international audiences showed their commitment to advancing women in society, engaging through the virtual Summit. This shows us how important the work we do is. GWLN continues looking ahead and working collectively, inclusively and intentionally, focused on women's advancement in leadership and narrowing inequality gaps for women,” said Lena Giakoumopoulos, GWLN program director.
GWLN aims to provide tools and resources for more women to grow personally and professionally, advancing to leadership positions in credit unions across the globe.