Global Women’s Forum Cultivates Vocal Intelligence
Executive women – and men – can become more effective leaders if they learn to develop their verbal and nonverbal communication skills, said Dr. Louise Mahler to attendees at the 2014 Global Women’s Leadership Forum. Mahler’s presentation was one of several activities geared to helping attendees improve their leadership skills.
The forum, held this past week in conjunction with World Council’s World Credit Union Conference in Gold Coast, Australia, was the annual gathering of Global Women’s Leadership Network members. The forum, held in partnership with Australian Women in Mutuals, attracted 125 women leaders from 24 countries.
Mahler presented research on harnessing the art of face-to-face communication to improve leadership effectiveness in this digital age. Through an interactive discussion, she explained the qualities of leaders 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 operatic performer for 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."
Forum attendees also heard from a panel discussion focused on overcoming obstacles faced by women credit union leaders. Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, president/CEO of the $2.2 billion Travis Credit Union of Vacaville, Calif., moderated the discussion. Panel participants included Louise Petschler, president/CEO of Australia’s Customer Owned Banking Association; Barbara Gascoigne, general manager of Jamaica Teachers' Association Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.; and Luse Tamani, secretariat officer for the Oceania Confederation of Credit Union Leagues. All forum sessions were designed to not only foster leadership skills, but to help women leaders from all countries become more engaged in the hopes of growing the organization, according to network chair Sue Mitchell, president of Mitchell Stankovic & Associates, a credit union consulting firm based in Boulder City, Nev.
"Our main objective is to leverage the momentum gained by the network to increase its impact and advance cooperative values," Mitchell said. "The way we grow momentum is by growing the brand. We want to grow membership to 1,000 members by 2017."