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GWLN Launches Virtual Sister Society Meetings to Rally Movement During the Pandemic

Attendees hold up signs of what GWLN means in one word.
Attendees hold up signs of what GWLN means in one word.

Concerns ranging from starvation and domestic violence to moms' working from home while trying to school their children were addressed during the first virtual Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) Sister Society Meeting hosted on May 12 by Ser Technology for the six Sister Societies in California and Nevada.

Lena Giakoumopoulos, program director for GWLN, said several more virtual Sister Society meetings within the US and across the globe are planned for the coming weeks, as Sister Societies look for ways to connect and re-engage with their members and in their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that 80% of consumers are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Andrea Rusnak, a leader of the California – Bay Area Sister Society and VP of Account Management with PSCU. “How can we help (credit union) members?”

Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates and volunteer chair of GWLN, said Sister Societies around the globe should seek to take active roles in their communities.

“Now more than ever GWLN can make a difference in terms of impact and visibility in letting people know what a credit union is all about. Taking a holistic approach is what makes us move forward,” said Mitchell.

The HE for SHE movement within GWLN was also evident with men joining the meeting to demonstrate continued support and commitment to advancing women. Bill Cheney, President and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union and Chair of Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions' Board of Directors actively participated.

The U.S. Sister Societies welcomed a special guest to their virtual meeting as Gisele Gomes, leader of Brazil’s 34 Sister Societies, joined to propose an international meeting that would include Sister Societies from around the globe. Gomes also announced those Brazilian Sister Societies will become an official program of the Sicredi Foundation on June 1. The Sicredi Foundation is the charitable arm of Sicredi, Brazil’s largest credit union system and a direct member of World Council of Credit Unions.

More than 100 Sister Society members participated in the first virtual meeting.