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Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) Director Lena Giakoumopoulos Tuesday encouraged credit union women to get involved in the international program to grow their potential and open more possibilities during a pair of panel discussions with other credit union women on the final day of Super Summit Sicredi.
“The opportunities are there, and it’s just another resource for you to strengthen your professional toolkit and evolve your professional toolkit,” said Giakoumopoulos.
GWLN Is comprised of nearly 5,000 members and 160 Sister Societies on six continents. In Brazil, Sicredi Women’s Committees are the local version of those Sister Societies, with more than 30 chapters.
“And the unique model that Sicredi has developed here is very different from other the countries because you work with the members, which is allowing us to have a greater impact because you’re in the communities,” said Giakoumopoulos.
Women who work at Sicredi credit unions across Brazil joined Giakoumopoulos for the panel discussions to talk about their career journeys and overcoming adversity to achieve their goals.
Marcia Helfenstein Koch began working at a Sicredi credit union branch at age 17. She told an inspiring story of personal growth and success.
“When I was a trainee, I told myself that one day I would be a manager of that branch. And I ended up being a manager there for five years, then became an advisor. I am always learning, always searching, always doing my best and looking for better opportunities. Very soon, I will be taking on the role of executive director,” said Helfenstein Koch, who was elected in March as the first woman to serve as Executive Director of Sicredi Iguaçu PR/SC/SP.
Giakoumopoulos emphasized that sharing these types of stories with other women through GWLN helps elevate the leadership position of all women worldwide.
“Because that’s going to help me build what I’m doing. I’m going to say, ‘oh, she did something similar, I’m going to learn from her.’ And I think that’s one of the good things about Global Women’s Leadership Network, is that we can exchange ideas and stories, and learn from each other,” said Giakoumopoulos.