‘They’re taking action and making change’

‘They’re taking action and making change’

YPs hear from those who are working toward diversity and inclusion.

May 23, 2019

Before setting out to brainstorm ideas on bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront at their credit unions, the young professionals in Brazil heard from people who have done it themselves.

The 14 credit union representatives in Curitiba, Brazil, as part of the World Council of Credit Unions’ Young Professional Exchange heard from a panel of speakers who have tackled diversity and inclusion during the final day of the SICREDI Youth Summit on Wednesday.

The panel featured people with unique life experiences—including a transgender individual and a refugee from Syria who emigrated to Brazil—who shared their experiences and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they have encountered, says Thom Belekevich, World Council program manager.

“Not only did they bring together some of their young professional employees, but they also brought in some of their young professional members,” says Kristin Ryan, CUNA’s director of learning events and lead for the CUNA Young Professionals Committee.

“We heard speakers who were telling their personal stories,” Ryan continues. “They’ve had challenges in their lives, but they’re not sitting back. They’re taking action and making change. And I saw that in the room.”


  • Slide 01

    Attendees discuss how to be diverse and inclusive at the SICREDI Youth Summit.

  • Slide 02

    The worksheet that guides the diversity and inclusion discussions.

  • Slide 03

    Signs at the summit encourage attendees to make a difference in their communities.

  • Slide 04

    Summit attendees ponder how they can become difference makers.

  • Slide 05

    Breaktime means it’s time to take your photo with the Instagram frame.

  • Slide 06

    Attendees network during a break at the Youth Summit.


After hearing those stories, the summit attendees broke into small groups to come up with ideas on how they could incorporate changes back home.

“We all talk about diversity, but what does it really entail? What does it mean for our credit unions and communities and how can we do a better job of connecting with these different groups?” Belekevich asks.

“Then they worked on developing some actual plans or ideas that they can take back home with them and either apply to their professional work or explore how it could be implemented within their own credit union,” he says.

► Visit CUNA News for more coverage of the World Council of Credit Unions Young Professional Exchange in Curitiba, Brazil.