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GWLN Shifts Engagement and Education Focus Amid Pandemic

Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) Program Director Eleni Giakoumopoulos says COVID-19 has both increased international engagement between its Sister Society members and changed the focus of their outreach amid the pandemic.

Speaking on the Cooperative Credit Union Association’s (CCUA) Marketplace Monday webinar series this week, Giakoumopoulos explained how the new reality of virtual connection has impacted the program.

“The pandemic for us has actually proven to be beneficial for the program, because we’ve had increased connectivity through our Sister Societies, which is the mechanism through which our members actually meet locally,” said Giakoumopoulos. “So, we were actually increasing the opportunities for our international and our U.S. members to actually meet, because of the virtual meetings. So, you had women from Brazil joining in Sister Society meetings from California and you had women from Africa and Asia joining in Sister Society meetings from the East Coast.”

Giakoumopoulos told Monday Marketplace Host Isaiah Moskowitz she hopes that virtual international connectivity continues “wherever we may be six months down the line.”

The topics GWLN Sister Societies have focused on during their virtual meetings are also different.

“Because of the pandemic there has been a focus from Sister Societies on your well-being, your mental health, on caring for individuals in your home while you are working from home virtually, explained Giakoumopoulos. “A lot of the meetings were on—how you manage your household while at the same time managing your workload.”

Past in-person Sister Society meetings focused on professional networking.

“That element, that face-to-face—that’s something you miss. It’s different seeing someone on camera and it’s different when you’re in the room sharing a cup of coffee.”

You can see the full interview with GWLN Program Director Eleni Giakoumopoulos by visiting the CCUA YouTube page.