Earlier this year, I was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship by Associate of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) Young Professionals Network (YPN) to attend the 2022 World Credit Union Conference (WCUC) co-hosted by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and ABCUL at the SEC Centre, Glasgow.
Having started working at Enterprise Credit Union (ECU) mid-pandemic, my first experience of WCUC was attending the online event in July 2021. Although virtual, the sessions and workshops I attended were super rewarding, however, now the world has reopened, we are all thankful for the opportunity to connect in-person…
SUNDAY 17TH JULY
After a couple of delayed trains, and a little later than planned, Team ECU arrived in Glasgow. We didn’t make the opening ceremony in time, but luckily our CEO Karen Bennett who spoke earlier at the ‘Global Women’s Leadership Network Forum’ (see if you can spot Karen on the photo below) was in the audience and kindly recorded the ceremony for us all to watch.
MONDAY 18TH JULY
“Strength in numbers, strength in diversity, strength in disruption.” – Elissa McCarter Laborde, WOCCU President & CEO
Day 1 at WCUC, the opening session started with WOCCU President & CEO, Elissa McCarter LaBorde delivering her first State of the Movement address. ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly gave a powerful speech on why now is the time to ‘redouble our efforts to help members through stormy waters around the world.’ And thought leader and technology futurist, Ian Khan, spoke on the importance of ‘future readiness.’
Final session of the day was from a panel of World Council Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP) Scholarship recipients from the Sicredi credit union system in Brazil, sharing their insights on connecting with younger credit union members – a real stand out was Communication Specialist, Carolina Mussolini (@carolinamussolini) who uses social media (TikTok/Instagram) to design unique, educational videos, to attract young people to the movement.
That evening I attended the WYCUP networking event at The Ark, Glasgow. This was a fantastic opportunity to connect with other young professionals from credit unions all around the world, including my peers from Australia, Costa Rica and USA.
TUESDAY 19TH JULY
Day 2, and the first of many inspiring keynote sessions was from friendly-hacker, Keren Elazari. Keren discussed why now is the time to take responsibility over your own digital security, and the importance of building a strong cyber immune system. Following on was Carma Parrish, CEO of NorthPark Community Credit Union, Indiana, USA. Three years ago, NorthPark made the decision to close all of their branches, and go completely digital. Carma spoke on the challenges and solutions to serving the underserved in a virtual space. The next session was with Lauren Culp, Publisher & CEO at CUInsight with ‘Ideation, Innovation, and Inclusive Design’ discussing where great ideas come from, not playing it safe and how to create your own ‘EUREKA!’ moment.
Last for Tuesdays events, but certainly not least, Team ECU were proud to watch one of our amazing directors, Paul Anthony Jones (Director of Research, Swaboda Research Centre) lead his very own session, as he discussed ‘Hot Topics in Credit Union Governance.’
WEDNESDAY 20TH JULY
Final day of the conference, started with an insightful breakout session with Scott Butterfield, Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, USA. Scott shared his expertise on how credit unions can do a better job at making a difference in the communities we serve, and encourages us to all ‘share our story, and shout about all the wonderful things your credit union is doing.”
“Let the empathy revolution begin!” – Belinda Parmar, The Empathy Business CEO
Leading the final keynote session of the week was CEO and founder of ‘The Empathy Business’, Belinda Parmar, speaking on the importance of empathy in the workplace. Belinda asked the audience “What is empathy?” Before explaining: “Empathy is not about fixing people, it’s about feeling with them, it’s in listening and connecting with that person.” Empathy is a tool we can use to drive commercial results and enhance our credit unions.
Later that evening, we attended the closing night celebration…from kilts to caber tossing, and ceilidh dancing, it was the perfect way to round up such a fantastic conference in Glasgow.
Overall, I found WCUC to be such an eye-opening and inspiring experience, to be amongst over 1,600 delegates from credit unions across the globe was such a privilege, and I want to thank ABCUL and the YPN Committee for this amazing opportunity. This was my first time attending a world conference and I can only hope to attend many more in the future.
Marketing & Communications Officer