WASHINGTON, D.C. — Companies with women on their boards of directors enjoy greater economic and business success than companies that don't have women serving on their boards. This was just one of the revelations for participants at the Global Women's Leadership Network breakfast Tuesday at Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).
Members of the network, a part of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), gathered for breakfast at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Debbie Matz, National Credit Union Administration board chair, addressed the group of 64 women credit union leaders, discussing current critical issues and the importance of women supporting one another's professional development. Speier's statistics may have opened a few eyes among the group.
"Boards of directors of companies that have women on them have a 65% higher return on investment capital, while 53% have a higher return on equity and 42% have higher sales than those with fewer women in charge," said Speier. "Women's leadership skills are truly different, and women lead differently. It's a more consensus-driven form of leadership, which often produces better results, yet women represent only 15% of Fortune 500 executives."
Speier also discussed the importance of women leaders recognizing and supporting the strength of their female staff members and encouraged those leaders to "femtor" them rather than mentor them. With women and men supporting each other in the workplace, enterprises and economies will flourish because they will gain access to the full slate of human resources available to them, Speier told network participants.
In addition to network members, breakfast attendees included Barry Jolette, WOCCU board chair and president and CEO of San Mateo Credit Union, Redwood City, Calif., and Manuel Rabines, WOCCU first vice chair and CEO of Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito del Perú (FENACREP), WOCCU's member organization in Peru.
Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and COO, also addressed the group, citing a recent example of the way in which network members have capitalized on the advantages offered by the group.
At a previous network event, member Dolores Rivera Ramirez of Mexico's Caja Zongolica shared the story of how the credit union used PDA technology to bring credit union services to its rural members. The idea resonated with Roxy Ostrem from Ventura County Credit Union in California, who initiated a similar program to reach out to local agricultural workers who lacked access to financial services.
"Dolores set out to improve people's lives by bringing the credit union to where they lived and worked, and the idea resonnated with Roxy," Branch said. "The Global Women's Leadership Network is about providing women with resources and opportunities that make similar differences in the lives of each other, their credit union members and their communities."
The GAC breakfast was the first of a full year's worth of network events. This year's Global Women's Leadership Forum will be held in conjunction with WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference, scheduled for July 24-27 in Glasgow, Scotland. All network members are invited to attend the forum, additional networking sessions and reception. A free informational session also will be held for those interested in joining the network or becoming donors. For times and details, or to register for events, visit www.cuwomen.org/gwln_events_upcoming.
The second annual Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Golf Tournament benefitting the network will take place on July 28, one day after the close of the conference, at the Carrick Course on Loch Lomond, Scotland. The tournament is presented by CO-OP Financial Services and will raise funds to help alleviate poverty through the empowerment of women worldwide. Last year's tournament raised US$60,000 to support WOCCU's global development programs. To register, visit www.woccu.org/Golf_Scotland.
"In the fight against poverty, both here and abroad, women in credit unions are often on the front lines, driving innovation to help millions of people who would otherwise be left behind by the financial system," said Sue Mitchell, network chair and president and CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates, a credit union consulting firm. "Access to affordable financial services can be life-changing, providing the building blocks for all of us to raise healthier families, stronger communities and forge a more stable nation."
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.