2023 WOCCU Fellowship

Expanding representation of women and emerging leaders in governance


The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Fellowship is a new initiative to promote women and emerging leaders in governance, with applicants for the new program coming from the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) and World Young Credit Union Professionals' (WYCUP) program. 

In April 2023, World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) launched the first Fellowship nominations to encourage credit union leaders under the age of 40 and women of any age to apply to serve as “observers” on its Board of Directors.

In addition, candidates had to:

  • be employees, current board directors or members of other elected governance systems, either with a Direct Member of World Council or a financial cooperative institution that is affiliated with that direct member.
  • demonstrate a leadership contribution to their community, organization and credit union system.

The WOCCU Board embraced this new initiative to inspire future leaders and give a voice to new perspectives in our industry, while supporting individuals on their professional journeys. The WOCCU Fellowship directly expands representation of women and emerging leaders in governance roles and is a model for addressing one of our shared global challenges.

WOCCU announced the winners of the new Fellowship program during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the 2023 World Credit Union Conference in Vancouver, Canada. 

2023 Fellows

Eleonora Zgonjanin Petrovikj

Eleonora (Eli) serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FULM Savings House, a credit union and World Council of Credit Unions' direct member organization in North Macedonia.

Patrick John Rico

Patrick works as External Affairs Manager for ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative in The Philippines.

Eli and Patrick were selected from a pool of 52 applicants from 12 countries. They will attend and participate in three WOCCU Board meetings over a one-year period, beginning in fall of 2023. As observers, they will receive all material information provided to members of the Board but will not have formal voting rights during the Board of Directors’ meetings. Eli and Patrick will share updates throughout the year on their journey with WOCCU. You can hear an interview with Both Eli and Patrick on Episode 28 of The Global Credit Union Podcast.

For more information on efforts to connect women and youth across our global network of credit unions and financial cooperatives, please engage directly with Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) and World Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP).