2014 Global Women’s Leadership Forum offers tools for advancement in credit union women leadership

Dr. Louise Mahler, vocal intelligence expert, educates on leaders’ communication skills

GOLD COAST, AU (July 29, 2014) — More than 125 women credit union leaders from 24 countries gathered in Gold Coast, Australia, yesterday for the 2014 Global Women’s Leadership Forum, held in partnership with Australian Women in Mutuals during World Council’s World Credit Union Conference, to discuss the advancement of credit union women in leadership. Participants heard from keynote speaker Dr. Louise Mahler, renowned expert on vocal intelligence, about strengthening women’s verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

Sponsored by Bridges Financial and Servus Credit Union, Mahler presented research on harnessing the art of face-to-face communication to improve women’s leadership effectiveness in this digital age. Through an interactive discussion, she explained the qualities of leaders-both men and women alike throughout history-based on body language, words and voice.

“People value authenticity. We need a model of authenticity, which is what I call vocal intelligence, to change the notion of perceived leadership,” said Mahler, an opera performer of 15 years. “It all starts in the mind, which influences the body. The voice is an outcome. Once you learn how to unlock your authenticity and clear the body, you will hear the voice. Women cannot afford to get this wrong.”

The Leadership Forum panel discussion presented perspectives on solutions to women’s leadership obstacles from the U.S., Australia, Jamaica and the Pacific.

Leadership Forum participants also engaged in a panel discussion focused on overcoming leadership obstacles faced by women credit union leaders. Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, Travis Credit Union (USA) president and CEO, moderated the discussion, which included Louise Petschler, Customer Owned Banking Association (Australia) president and CEO; Barbara Gascoigne, Jamaica Teachers’ Association Cooperative Credit Union Ltd. general manager; and Luse Tamani, Oceania Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (Pacific) secretariat officer.

“Our main objective is to leverage the momentum gained by the Network to increase its impact and advance cooperative values,” said Sue Mitchell, Network chair. “The way we grow momentum is by growing the brand. We want to grow membership to 1,000 members by 2017.”

The 2014 Global Women’s Leadership Network scholarship winners presented to Network members their projects, which were designed to solve a problem or meet a need of their credit union or community. Network members will vote over the next three days on which of the six scholarship winners will receive Network support for the implementation of their project. The winner will be announced during the World Credit Union Conference closing ceremony on Wednesday.

Sue Mitchell (left), Network chair, and Grzegorz Bierecki (right), World Council chair, present the 2014 Athene Award to Louise Aubusson (center), Australian Women in Mutuals leader, on behalf of the Global Women’s Leadership Network at Saturday’s Global Women’s Leadership Network reception in Gold Coast, Australia.

Prior to the forum, Louise Aubusson, Australian Women in Mutuals co-leader, was honored with the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s 2014 Athene Award Saturday evening at the Global Women’s Leadership Networking Reception, sponsored by Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates. The annual award is named for the Greek goddess of reason, intelligence, arts and agriculture, and honors outstanding work in the area of women’s leadership.

The Global Women’s Leadership Network meets annually in conjunction with the World Credit Union Conference. Over 1,800 people from 48 countries are attending the World Credit Union Conference this week in Gold Coast, Australia, where they are learning from experts in leadership, technology, young adult membership growth and advocacy; visiting local credit unions, building societies and mutual banks; and networking with international peers at a variety of special events. The conference ends 30 July with World Council’s annual awards ceremony and closing night reception at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

Follow conference activities, including daily event photos, on World Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages at and using #WCUC2014.

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 more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries.Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at


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