Giakoumopoulos Promotes GWLN in Brazil

Global Women's Leadership Network Director joins panel discussions on final day of Super Summit Sicredi

April 18, 2023

FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil—Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) Director Lena Giakoumopoulos Tuesday encouraged credit union women to get involved in the international program to grow their potential and open more possibilities during a pair of panel discussions with other credit union women on the final day of Super Summit Sicredi.

“The opportunities are there, and it’s just another resource for you to strengthen your professional toolkit and evolve your professional toolkit,” said Giakoumopoulos.

GWLN Is comprised of nearly 5,000 members and 160 Sister Societies on six continents. In Brazil, Sicredi Women’s Committees are the local version of those Sister Societies, with more than 30 chapters.

“And the unique model that Sicredi has developed here is very different from other the countries because you work with the members, which is allowing us to have a greater impact because you’re in the communities,” said Giakoumopoulos.

Overcoming adversity

Women who work at Sicredi credit unions across Brazil joined Giakoumopoulos for the panel discussions to talk about their career journeys and overcoming adversity to achieve their goals.

Marcia Helfenstein Koch began working at a Sicredi credit union branch at age 17. She told an inspiring story of personal growth and success.

“When I was a trainee, I told myself that one day I would be a manager of that branch. And I ended up being a manager there for five years, then became an advisor. I am always learning, always searching, always doing my best and looking for better opportunities. Very soon, I will be taking on the role of executive director,” said Helfenstein Koch, who was elected in March as the first woman to serve as Executive Director of Sicredi Iguaçu PR/SC/SP.

Giakoumopoulos emphasized that sharing these types of stories with other women through GWLN helps elevate the leadership position of all women worldwide.

“Because that’s going to help me build what I’m doing. I’m going to say, ‘oh, she did something similar, I’m going to learn from her.’ And I think that’s one of the good things about Global Women’s Leadership Network, is that we can exchange ideas and stories, and learn from each other,” said Giakoumopoulos.

Global Women’s Leadership Network inspires, connects, and empowers women with the opportunities and resources to make a measurable difference …  in the lives of each other, in the lives of credit union members and in their communities. To learn more and donate, visit GWLN. To connect, find us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter

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 90 countries. Worldwide, 82,758 credit unions in 97 countries serve 404 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Author Photo
Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
Lena Giakoumopoulos addresses the panel
Lena Giakoumopoulos addresses the panel
Marcia Helfenstein Koch
Marcia Helfenstein Koch

NOTE: Click on photos to view/download in high resolution.