Global Women’s Leadership Network Receives Distinguished Service Award

Honored at 2017 World Credit Union Conference in Vienna

July 24, 2017

VIENNA, Austria — The Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) received the World Council’s Distinguished Service Award (DSA), the industry's top global honor for great contribution to further the credit union movement during the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Credit Union Conference on Sunday, July 23 in Vienna.  

GWLN with WOCCU Chairman and CEO Brian Branch

Susan Mitchell, Chair of the Network and CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates and Calyn Ostrowski, Executive Director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions accepted the award on behalf of the Network.

“We are changing lives and making a measurable difference in the lives of women. This is a human initiative. We need all people of the world to come together as a cooperative movement," said Mitchell, encouraging male attendees.

The Network is the industry's only international platform dedicated to addressing and facilitating greater gender balance among leadership positions and this year opened its doors to male members.

“With your support, Global Women has moved from just an initiative to a world-changing, and now award-winning program sparking dialogue, action and real solutions to advance women in the credit union leadership space,” said Ostrowski. "We rise by lifting others. Yet, there is much work to be done. Thank you for your commitment, courage, willingness to learn, and to disrupt the status quo."

Keynote Speaker Sandra McDowell

Earlier on Sunday, the conference hosted the ninth annual Global Women's Leadership Network Forum. For the first time, the Network welcomed non-members and male attendees from all over the globe to connect, focus on professional development, engage in interactive dialogue, attend educational sessions and hear from keynote speaker Sandra McDowell, Vice President of Communication and Culture at First Credit Union, Canada.

The Network also presented the Athena Award to Shana Richardson, CEO, Ser Technology Corporation. The award, inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology who stands for strength, courage, and wisdom is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to women's leadership in the international credit union movement. 

Other Network educational sessions on leadership continue throughout the week in the Network Lounge. 

The 2017 World Credit Union Conference concludes 26 July with a closing reception at the Hofburg Palace.

Follow conference activities, including daily event photos, on Facebook and Twitter with #WCUC2017.


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, 89,026 credit unions in 117 countries serve 260 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

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

Contact: Eleni Giakoumopoulos
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1-608-395-2031