Athena Leadership Award
Each year, the Global Women's Leadership Network presents the prestigious Athena Leadership Award. Inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology who stands for strength, courage, and wisdom, this award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to women's leadership in the international credit union movement. The award is presented at our Networking Reception of the Global Women's Leadership Forum at the World Credit Union Conference.
Louise Aubusson, Executive Manager of Sales and Lending at Encompass Credit Union Limited was selected because of her dedication to the Women in Mutual's effort in Australia. She has volunteered and worked closely with the association to develop a women's initiative. Louise traveled to the US and attended the Sister Society Group Leader's meeting to learn more about Networkand develop a strategy for Australia to expand the Sister Society movement and engage women on a regional basis.
Louise supported and encouraged all of the Women in Mutual members to join the Network in 2014. She also drove the initiative to secure a local sponsor for our Leadership Forum keynote speaker. Louise actively engages with other credit union women to encourage personal and professional development. She is a Development Educator, well connected, and very passionate about advancing women in Leadership.
Roxy Ostrem, board chair at Ventura Credit Union, won our 2013 Athena Leadership Award by proving herself a key leader in the international movement through her introduction of PDA technology. Her expansion of financial services to an underserved population has improved the lives of hundreds of people at Ventura Credit Union.
Under her leadership, agricultural workers who are unable to leave their jobs during business hours can now conveniently access their funds without being charged outlandish fees.
Dolores Rivera Ramírez, general manager of Caja Zongolica in Veracruz, Mexico, won the 2012 Athena Award. Rivera has consistently proven herself a key leader in the international movement since starting a credit union in 1994 to meet the needs of poor residents of her rural community in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Under her leadership, the credit union has grown to more than 40,000 members.
Rivera has worked with World Council since 2003 to implement savings mobilization and outreach programs in Mexico. She was among the first to help pilot handheld transaction technology to deliver financial services remotely to credit union members in rural Mexico, a program that has already begun to expand to other countries.
Our 2011 winner was Greta Greathouse, who directed World Council's Haiti development program for just seven months before a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean island nation in January 2010, taking more than 330,000 lives and rendering more than 1 million people homeless. The program lost its headquarters building, but all staff members survived and immediately set about rebuilding Haiti's credit union movement.
"Greta exemplifies the leadership that we all aspire to," said Brian Branch, World Council's President and CEO. "When the earthquake happened and most expats left the country, Greta stayed. She took care of her staff and let them find their families, then had them report back to work. Credit unions were back up and operating out of tents days after the disaster, well before other financial institutions."
Stan Hollen, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services, received the first Athena Leadership Award. Hollen was recognized for his ongoing support not only of individual U.S. women credit union leaders, but also of the Global Women's Leadership Network, according to Mitchell. At Hollen's direction, CO-OP Financial Services sponsored the Network's inaugural golf outing, an event that raised more than $40,000.
Stan was quoted saying, "It is with pleasure that I accept this award from World Council and the Global Women's Leadership Network," said Hollen. "I believe in supporting the credit union industry and leadership development is of critical importance as we face future challenges. It is an honor to know that I have helped to create opportunities for women."
"Stan Hollen is a key leader within the credit union industry," said Susan Mitchell, Network chair and CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates. "He believes in developing future leaders — especially women leaders — throughout the credit union movement. His actions support the Network's vision to provide women with the resources to make a measurable difference in the lives of each other, of credit union members and their communities."