World Council of Credit Unions and Credit Union National Association welcomed over 3,000 people from 61 countries at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, USA, Sunday evening for the opening ceremonies of the 2015 co-hosted World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference. From 12–15 July, participants will hear from world-class speakers, network with colleagues from around the globe and learn from top industry experts on topics such as young adult membership growth, advocacy, operations, leadership and development and emerging trends.
The conference opened with an immaculate international flag parade, in which flag bearers carried their countries’ flags onto the stage. The audience also received a performance of a tribute to American Film and Music through the ages.
World Council Chair Grzegorz Bierecki, president of NACSCU, Poland’s national trade association for savings and credit unions, welcomed attendees to the event.
Credit Union National Association Chairwoman, Susan Streifel, praised the international event saying, “The parade of flags is an inspiring demonstration of the diversity that makes our movement great.” Streifel’s speech focused on what credit unions can do to raise greater awareness.”Many times during the next few days of this conference we will meet and talk, discuss what we can do, and how,” said Bierecki. “After all, we came here from various countries, cultures and histories so that we could meet each other. It is meeting people that makes life worth living.”
During the opening ceremony, World Council presented its Distinguished Service Award (DSA), the industry’s top global honor, to four worthy individuals who have shown great contributions to further the credit union movement outside of their own countries:
- Dick Ensweiler, president and CEO of Cornerstone Credit Union League, USA
- Roberto Rodrigues, former president of Organization of Cooperatives and former president of International Co-operative Alliance and Internal Co-operative Agricultural Organization, Brazil
- Scott Kennedy, director of Credit Union Central of Canada and former director of World Council, Canada
- Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaica’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom
Before the opening ceremony Sunday evening, the conference hosted several other events including the seventh annual Global Women’s Leadership Forum on Sunday. Over 160 women from 24 countries gathered to network, attend educational sessions and hear from keynote speaker Ingrid Vanderveldt, CEO and chairman of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020.
The 2015 World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference concludes 15 July with a closing reception at Denver Performing Arts Complex Sculpture Park.The World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) program also held a networking and educational session for credit union leaders age 35 and younger Sunday afternoon. During the program, Paul Smith, bestselling author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince and Inspire, taught the young audience how to use storytelling as a tool to communicate and persuade in the workplace. Over 140 people from 30 countries attended the session and will participate in several more events throughout the conference specifically designed for young professionals.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions’ financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at www.woccu.org.