CO-OP Financial Services Commits $500,000 to Global Women's Leadership Network

Surprise announcement comes during GWLN 10-Year Celebration Reception at 2019 World Credit Union Conference

July 27, 2019

NASSAU—CO-OP Financial Services stole the show during the Global Women’s Leadership Network's (GWLN) 10-Year Celebration Reception at the 2019 World Credit Union Conference—committing to donate a total of $500,000 to GWLN over the next 10 years.

Samantha Paxson, chief experience officer for CO-OP, made the surprise announcement to a crowd of Global Women supporters near the end of the reception Saturday evening. 

"50% of our workforce is women. 63% of our management team, from senior up, is women. And it's something we think is important. We were the founding sponsor of Global Women 10 years ago and we think it's important on the 10-year anniversary to continue that," said Paxson, indicating CO-OP CEO Todd Clark felt strongly about making the commitment.

CO-OP plans to make its first donation of $50,000 in 2020, and then in each of the next nine years after that. 

GWLN reaches goal of 100 Sister Societies worldwide

Prior to CO-OP's stunning announcement, Susan Mitchell, GWLN volunteer chair and CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates, offered the first surprise revelation of the evening by stating Global Women had reached it's goal of adding 100 Sister Societies worldwide. The goal was met with the addition of a Sister Society in Cambodia.  

Sister Societies are local Global Women chapters established around the world to further the Network’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 share lessons learned with Network members worldwide. 

2019 Athena Award goes to Elevations Credit Union

Another GWLN sponsor made headlines at the 10-Year Celebration Reception, as Elevations Credit Union took home the 2019 Athena Award.

World Council President and CEO Brian Branch presented the award to Elevations Credit Union Board Member Nancy Herbert, recognizing the organization’s donation of time, money and effort in creating the GWLN mobile app.

“This is another in a long line of endeavors where Elevations Credit Union stepped forward and decided to lend a helping hand,” said Herbert.

The award, inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology who stands for strength, courage, and wisdom, is presented to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to women's leadership in the international credit union movement. 

Recipients of the 2019 GWLN Scholarship were also on hand for the 10-year anniversary celebration. Each year, GWLN awards scholarships to female leaders within the credit union industry so they may acquire new skills, tools and resources to make an impact and further their professional development.

The 2019 scholarship winners are:

  • Rene Gayle, Assistant General Manager, First Heritage Co-Operative Credit Union Ltd. (Jamaica)
  • Habiba Kent, Board Member, Windsor Employees SACCO (Uganda)
  • Barbra Mchenga, Youth Advisor, Malawi Police Service SACCO (Malawi)
  • Rose Vanessa Nyambi, Microinsurance Manager, Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) (Malawi)
  • Bettyrose Okiri, Project Manager, African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) (Kenya)
  • Jovitta Sakwiya, HR, Administration and Marketing Executive, Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) (Malawi)

GWLN typically grants four scholarships, but awarded an additional two this year. Scholarship winners receive:

  • Complimentary one-year membership to the Global Women’s Leadership Network.
  • Complimentary registration to the World Credit Union Conference (WCUC) in The Bahamas.
  • Complimentary registration to the GWLN Reception at WCUC.
  • An all-expense paid trip to attend the World Credit Union Conference in the Bahamas.

Since 2009, GWLN has awarded 51 scholarships to women from 23 countries.

Scholarships are made possible through funding from annual membership donations and sponsorships, including the generous support of CUNA Mutual GroupCU DirectPSCU and the Susan Adams Scholarship Fund supported by One AZ Credit Union.

The week ahead

GWLN and the World Council Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP) will each hold Sunday morning forums as part of a Diversity and Inclusion Program.

The 2019 World Credit Union Conference officially begins Sunday night with the opening ceremonies—including the annual parade of flags and a first-ever opening night keynote address from Connie Dieken, a leading executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor to C-suite executives on five continents.

Follow conference activities and see daily event photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #WCUC2019.

WCUC 2019 is presented in collaboration with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU). It runs through Wednesday, July 31.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform 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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 85,400 credit unions in 118 countries serve 274 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
CO-OP Financial Services CEO Todd Clark embraces GWLN Volunteer Chair Susan Mitchell as Samantha Paxson announces the $500,000 gift
CO-OP Financial Services CEO Todd Clark embraces GWLN Volunteer Chair Susan Mitchell as Samantha Paxson announces the $500,000 gift
Elevations Credit Union Board Member Nancy Herbert accepts the 2019 Athena Award from WOCCU President & CEO Brian Branch
Elevations Credit Union Board Member Nancy Herbert accepts the 2019 Athena Award from WOCCU President & CEO Brian Branch
Five of the 2019 GWLN Scholarship Award winners
Five of the 2019 GWLN Scholarship Award winners

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