Global Women’s Leadership Network as a cross-cultural movement

It’s been over a year since I first joined the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing women and men from credit union systems in the US and around the globe.

Listening, learning and more listening as we grow GWLN.

Who are we? A culturally diverse group of individuals who differ through languages, holiday customs, food, dress, and music!

What do we have in common? Through the international voice that is GWLN, we strive to advance women in society, ensuring their financial inclusion.

For Triza from the Malawi Sister Society:“The idea is to make each cooperative woman an agent of change in their communities.”

For Gail from the Trinidad and Tobago Sister Society:“GWLN members are thankful to be part of a program that advocates for women and supports our global system.”  

For Caroline from the Texas-North Sister Society:“Proud to be part of something that’s bigger than all of us.”

Locking arms through this sisterhood

I’ve listened to GWLN members share their issues, talk about accessing resources and how being engaged in a global program has helped them make an impact in their local communities.

Locking arms through this sisterhood, GWLN aims to provide women with opportunities to make a measurable difference in the lives of each other, their credit unions and their communities. More than 3,000 women and men have engaged with GWLN from 82 countries since it was established. Globally, GWLN works with individuals, boards, and industry leaders to model and champion change, offering credit union women tangible skills and resources needed to lead.

Women embrace new opportunities for responsibility and leadership through GWLN local sister societies. At the end of 2019, there were more than 100 Sister Societies in 21 countries on 6 continents. With more launches in the US and internationally in Q1 2020, numbers are continuing to grow.

Through sister societies, members localize their impact by organizing clothing drives, donating hours to charities in their communities, delivering food, helping families and engaging youth. Most sister societies choose a community charity for strengthening the economic security for women and their families.

In the U.S., sister societies have taken on resume writing, placement counseling and outreach to university graduating students. Sister societies support battered women shelters, single mother’s education support, young women’s life coping skills, family food assistance programs and youth empowerment programs.

Other initiatives from international sister societies include:

  • delivering care and food support to facilities for women and children with physical impairments.
  • providing relief goods containing ready-to-eat food and sanitary items to flood victims.
  • coordinating efforts with other cooperatives to assist their members when natural disasters occur.

Through the commitment, dedication and hard work of leadership, staff and a very large number of passionate volunteers, GWLN gained momentum in its first decade. Over the next 10 years through GWLN—across all our cultures and languages—we will continue to do more amazing things together!

I consider myself privileged to represent credit union women from around the globe.  Bringing together our members, sister societies, supporters and volunteers, simply put—I connect the dots.


GWLN membership is open to all women and men in the credit union industry. To learn more, visit GWLN at or connect on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lena Giakoumopoulos

Lena Giakoumopoulos

Giakoumopoulos has over 20 years of international experience working in 15 countries in western, central and eastern Europe. Prior to joining the World Council, she worked for consultancies funding European ... Web: Details