A group of Missouri female credit union executives have launched a new professional education and advocacy group, Women's Association of Credit Union Leaders, to promote women's networking and recognition.
Months in the planning stage, the group said it already has its own website, www.wacul.org, and has held several organizational meetings with active participation by female CEOs in Kansas City and Springfield.
If successful, WACUL may grow nationally through forums and programs stressing a mission of enhancing skill and leadership experience of women in key CU jobs, said officials.
Leading the organizing effort is Lisa Ginter, chief operating officer of Community America CU, Kansas City, and Glenna Osborn, president of Missouri Central CU in Lee's Summit, with support also from the Missouri Credit Union Association.
Ginter said the group, with a membership of 30, will be hosting events throughout the year on topics covering leadership and social media skills. The next meeting, "Gaining Strategic Perspective," will be held Aug. 19 in Kansas City.
In organizing WACUL, the website notes that only six of the top 100 CUs in the U.S. are led by women and just 1% of CUs between $250 million to $1 billion are run by women.
"Gender disparity of leadership at the top level credit unions is surprising," observed WACUL.
A news release said through WACUL participants "will learn to lead more effectively in their current roles and be prepared to take on more responsibility in the future."
"I believe women are an important ingredient to any successful business, and credit unions have always been very good to women by providing great opportunities," Ginter said. "WACUL is designed to enhance leadership opportunities in our industry."
There are a number of networking groups "made up of women from varied backgrounds, but ours specializes in the credit union industry," said Osborn.
Asked to comment on the WACUL formation, a CUNA spokesman said the national trade group is "always working with system players to help the movement grow and prosper and which can help credit unions make insightful and powerful decisions."