Six Women Receive Scholarships to Learn and Network at World Council Annual Meeting
Global Women’s Leadership Network of WOCCU expands scholarships from four to six to accommodate deserving applicants
May 26, 2017
Madison, Wis. – The World Council of Credit Unions’ Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) scholarships are helping women all over the world support each other, from starting a firm to teach computer skills to missionary work.
“I would like to start an information technology firm specializing in providing free information technology training to young women in Malawi,” scholarship winner Dorothy Mambulasa, IT projects officer for Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives, said. “My participation in the women mentorship Forum will open up some opportunities including learning how to do business effectively, the women’s Forum would also expose me to the international business which would be an asset of taking the company to the international markets.”
Mambulasa explained that only one in every 25 IT workers in Malawi is female, and she’s looking to improve that ratio in her mission to advance the lives of the women, their families and their communities. While technology is progressing in Malawi, it is still behind other African nations, she said.
The GWLN community, and its scholarship, will help her “to ‘go global’ instantly and become part of a ready-made alliance of countries while cultivating regular sources of income for their homes as well as community over the long term by exchanging their own experiences and achievements.”
Calyn Ostrowski, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions at the World Council of Credit Unions, explained, “The 2017 cohort of applicants was the strongest we’ve seen to-date and certainly the largest pool of candidates in Network history. It was not easy to select the six finalists; however, we ultimately chose these women due to their tenacity, leadership, and embodiment of the credit union philosophy of people helping people. We believe these six women are uniquely poised to grow personally and professionally, creating a ripple effect in the communities they serve, and ultimately improving the lives of thousands around the world.”
Lisa Lambrecht, president/CEO of $77 million Entrust Financial Credit Union in Richmond, Virginia, USA, received the Susan Adams scholarship from the GWLN to help her make connections around the world and learn from others how they’re serving members in different areas of the world. The Susan Adams scholarship was established in honor of the late Susan Adams, previous CEO of Entrust Financial Credit Union.
“As a woman who’s worked my way up through the industry over the last 18 years, if I hadn’t had female mentors while trying to go to school and have a family and work my way up—it’s important to know you can do this and be supported,” Lambrecht said.
Lambrecht noted that 85% of her employees are women. She continued enthusiastically about the importance of coaching and mentoring. She encourages her employees, “There are no limits. You keep going, and push them outside their comfort zone.” Some are resistant at first, but when you just push them, Lambrecht said, suddenly they realize, “I’m doing this!” She explained that she has one employee who told her flat out she did not want to be in management; after some prodding, she’s now vice president of accounting.
The four other 2017 scholarship winners include:
- Dana Zamora (USA), VP of Human Resources & Training, Partner Colorado Credit Union
- Michelle Ambersley (Jamaica), Manager, Jamaica Broilers Group Co-Operative Credit Union Limited
- Loku Udari (Sri Lanka), Communications Manager, Federation of Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society Limited of Sri Lanka
- Scholastica Odhiambo (Kenya), Director, Hazina SACCO Society Limited, CO-OP Holding
Ostrowski explained that the GWLN typically only provides three or four scholarships, but so many deserving applications came in this year, it was expanded to six. GWLN scholarship winners receive:
- Complimentary one-year membership to the GWLN
- Complimentary GWLN Leadership Forum registration, July 23rd, which takes place during the World Credit Union Conference
- Complimentary registration to the World Credit Union Conference
- An all-expense paid trip to the 2017 World Credit Union Conference in Vienna, Austria, July 22 – 26th.
Since its inception, 47 scholarships have been provided to women from 22 countries. Women who can demonstrate leadership in contributing to their community, organization and credit union system are eligible to apply, and they must demonstrate financial need.
Preference was given to recipients from diverse backgrounds who will be able to 1) gain maximum benefit from the networking experience; 2) contribute expertise to the forum; and 3) fully participate in all forum and conference events. Scholarships are made possible through funding from annual membership donations and sponsorships, including the generous support of CUNA Mutual Group (USA), Burns-Fazzi, Brock & Associates (USA), CU Direct (USA) and the Susan Adams Scholarship Fund supported by the Arizona State Credit Union and PSCU.