Executive women – and men – can become more effective leaders if they learn to develop their verbal and nonverbalcommunication skills, said Dr. Louise Mahler to attendees at the2014 Global Women's Leadership Forum. Mahler's presentation was oneof several activities geared to helping attendees improve theirleadership skills.

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The forum, held this past week in conjunction with WorldCouncil's World Credit Union Conference in Gold Coast, Australia,was the annual gathering of Global Women's Leadership Network members. The forum, held inpartnership with Australian Women in Mutuals, attracted 125 womenleaders from 24 countries.

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Mahler presented research on harnessing the art of face-to-facecommunication to improve leadership effectiveness in this digitalage. Through an interactive discussion, she explained the qualitiesof leaders throughout history based on body language, words andvoice.

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

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Forum attendees also heard from a panel discussion focused onovercoming obstacles faced by women credit union leaders. Patsy VanOuwerkerk, president/CEO of the $2.2 billion Travis Credit Union ofVacaville, Calif., moderated the discussion. Panel participantsincluded Louise Petschler, president/CEO of Australia's CustomerOwned Banking Association; Barbara Gascoigne, general manager ofJamaica Teachers' Association Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.; andLuse Tamani, secretariat officer for the Oceania Confederation ofCredit Union Leagues. All forum sessions were designed to not onlyfoster leadership skills, but to help women leaders from allcountries become more engaged in the hopes of growing theorganization, according to network chair Sue Mitchell, president ofMitchell Stankovic & Associates, a credit union consulting firmbased in Boulder City, Nev.

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“Our main objective is to leverage the momentum gained by thenetwork 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.”

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