WOCCU/CDF Global Women’s Leadership Network Offers New Opportunities

Network’s First Leadership Forum to Convene in Barcelona

June 04, 2009

Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000

MADISON, Wis.—As credit unions worldwide carefully manage expenses to overcome the challenges presented by the global financial crisis, they recognize that cultivating future credit union leadership is more critical than ever. As a result, credit unions around the world are stepping forward to support the Global Women's Leadership Network, launched earlier this year by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF). The network is designed to enable women credit union leaders to connect, communicate and seek confidential advice from their peers around the world.

WOCCU and CDF are raising funds for the network to provide women in both developed and developing countries with credit union resources to lead economic growth in their communities. Leaders who join the network will also gain access to the peer advisory group online and receive periodic updates on relevant credit union issues for women.

In addition to expanding access to financial services for women in developing countries, funds raised through the network will enable women credit union CEOs from 10 developing countries to participate in the first Global Women's Leadership Forum, the network's inaugural gathering, which will be held in conjunction with WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain, July 26-29. To date, women leaders from Afghanistan, Belarus, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, the Philippines and Sri Lanka will join the forum there.

Participation in the Global Women's Leadership Forum is by invitation only. The forum is designed to tap the leadership experience of women who are credit union CEOs and executive team members, retired credit union executives, credit union volunteers and executives of credit union partner organizations. However, any individual contributing US$250 or more to support women's leadership development through credit unions in developing countries automatically becomes a network member.

Current network members at the Forum level and above include:

  • Sue Albrecht, SVP, International Division, CUNA Mutual Group, Wis., USA
  • Laurie Benjamin, Chair, Melrose Credit Union, N.Y., USA
  • Geraldine Burek, President & CEO, South Division Credit Union, Ill., USA, with support from the Illinois Credit Union League
  • Cheryl Byrne, VP, Knowledge Services, Credit Union Central of Canada, and CEO, CUSOURCE Credit Union Knowledge Network, Canada
  • Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO, Financial Service Centers Cooperative, Calif., USA
  • Kathy Chartier, President & CEO, Members Credit Union, Conn., USA
  • Anne Cochran, President & CEO, Louisiana Credit Union League, La., USA, and Director, World Council of Credit Unions
  • Mary Cunningham, President & CEO, USA Federal Credit Union, Calif., USA
  • Teresa Freeborn, President & CEO, Xceed Financial Credit Union, Calif., USA
  • Karen Furlong, Change & Innovation Director, CUNA Mutual Life Assurance (Europe) Ltd., Ireland
  • Janet Gibb, General Manager, Credit Union North, New Zealand
  • Carol Gibson, COO, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Nev., USA
  • Spiwe Gudza, Women Development Savings & Credit Unions, Zimbabwe
  • Carol Hunter, Executive Director, Canadian Co-operative Association, Canada
  • Mona Leung, CFO, Alliant Credit Union, Ill., USA
  • Susan Luke, Corporate Mythologist, Luke Communications Corp., Texas, USA
  • Judy McCartney, CEO (retired), Orange County's Credit Union, Calif., USA
  • Jackie McCormack, Director, St. Mary's Navan Credit Union, Ireland
  • Susan Mitchell, CEO, Susan Evelyn Mitchell Foundation, Nev., USA
  • Robin Myers, Controller, Melrose Credit Union, N.Y., USA
  • Heather McLachlin, VP, Business Development & Partnerships, The CUMIS Group Ltd., Canada
  • Kimberley Ney, SVP, Marketing, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Alterna Savings, Canada
  • Louise Petschler, ABACUS-Australian Mutuals, New South Wales, Australia
  • Catherine Roberts, President, Legislative and International Activity, Community Choice Credit Union, Mich., USA, and Secretary, World Council of Credit Unions
  • Patrice Pratt, Chair, Vancity Credit Union, Canada
  • Penny Reeves, Director, Credit Union Central of Canada, and Director, World Council of Credit Unions
  • Shana Schuh, CEO, Ser Technology Corporation, Texas, USA
  • Marlene Shiels, Chief Executive, Capital Credit Union, Scotland
  • Brandi Stankovic, VP Marketing, Ventura County Credit Union, Calif., USA
  • Gail Stepanik Keber, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Servus Credit Union, Canada
  • JoAnne Todd, President & CEO, Northeast Family FCU, Conn., USA
  • Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, President & CEO, Travis Credit Union, Calif., USA
  • Linda White, CEO, United Health Credit Union, Calif., USA

For complete information about the network and becoming a member, visit, or contact Valerie Breunig, WOCCU, at In Canada, contact Julie Breuer, CDF,

CDF also has established an educational Website devoted to exploring women's issues as related to commerce, credit and social challenges. The Website, open to the public, can be accessed at

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency 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, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at