Global Women's Leadership Network (GWLN) Sister Society leaders from across the world Tuesday shared best practices for conducting virtual meetings that their members will find both meaningful and challenging.
GWLN Program Director Eleni Giakoumopoulos said one constant she's seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is that credit union women want to share what they have in common.
"I'm hearing from other members that everybody is experiencing similar things during this time, as we're all working from home," said Giakoumopoulos.
Sister Societies are GWLN chapters established on a local level around the world to further the organization's global mission by making a local impact. The purpose is to convene credit union women, discuss credit union issues, exchange ideas, network with neighboring credit union leaders, and provide education to share lessons learned with Network members worldwide.
Since the start of the pandemic, all of that outreach is being done through virtual meetings and webinars. Some Sister Society leaders have taken it upon themselves to reach across national borders and time zones to support one another's online events, something they encourage others to do going forward.
Brazil's credit union movement developed three levels of GWLN Sister Societies—at the international, national and credit union level. This week, they'll host their first international webinar that will include members of their 33 credit-union level Sister Societies.
“I think we have to be present for one another. This is very important. I think we have to be open to diversity to hear other languages, other accents, to see other faces," said Gisele Gomes, Brazil Sister Society Ambassador.
But the leaders agreed these virtual meetings can't just be for women—they must also emphasize GWLN's "He for She" initiative.
"We were very, very purposeful in reaching out to the male leadership, especially in credit unions and had several of those leaders in attendance,” said Ashley Ruffin of the North Carolina Sister Society.