Women Mentorship Program: 2009
Co-operation amongst Friends
Three friends, including myself, initiated the idea of establishing a credit union in 2001 to support one another and improve our financial ability. We founded a credit union with ten members that same year. We were enthusiastic about running the co-op, though we had little operational knowledge of what principles we would have to adhere. Later in 2005 and 2006, we were lucky to be selected for the CCA TA project implemented in Mongolia to support urban credit unions in the country. Participation in the Project helped us understand co-operative principles and what it means to operate and govern a credit union.
Women’s Mentorship Program paved a Path to Success
Later in 2009, I was fortunate to be included in the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP) at CDF Canada. There I learned a lot of things about management, such as micro-level, membership-based financial institutions. Subsequently, our CEO and Finance Manager also participated in the WMP, which helped create a shared understanding across BOD and Executive Management. Since the training, our assets have increased five times, and our membership base has doubled. We now have six full-time employees, including two loan officers, and own our office. I am also happy that over 80 percent of our management and elected positions are held by women.
Participation in the WMP significantly impacted our credit union’s success. Our governance structure is now much closer to those of international best practices (though at a smaller scale), with a clear distinction between the roles of Executive Management and the BOD and SC.
Our success would not have been achieved without the Women’s Mentorship Program. Thank you to all the staff at CDF Canada, Coastal Community Credit Union, and the Women’s Mentorship Program for their support.