When meeting with Manuel and Grace in Belfast last year, it was Grace’s dream to create a Sister Society on International Women’s Day in Costa Rica. We are proud to say that we made it happen and officially signed the formation document.
Martha Rozen was an incredible Ambassador during the Sister Society Meeting. The GWLN Workshop began with standing room only and identified the first Costa Rica Sister Society Leaders who volunteered to take the next step in moving forward. Grace Badilla Lopez, President of FEDEAC will be the primary contact for the Sister Society. Vivian Arias Gamboa, Iliana Gonzalez Cordero, Alicia Fournier, Maria Luisa Rojas and Olga Marta Tossi Vega will work with her to organize the next meeting.
All the attendees stated they were interested in joining and will participate in the Sister Society, as well as, invite other women. We engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding the issues within Costa Rica for women including poverty, the need for financial empowerment and mentoring . We decided our primary goal was to focus on financial empowerment and look for initiatives to educate women AND men on the need for financial education and will make sponsoring women for leadership development a key component.
Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates, a Las Vegas-based strategic consulting firm, is expanding its initiatives to create disruptive solutions for credit unions with the creation of its “Underground Champions” program.
Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates, told Credit Union Journal MSA will selectively invite companies and credit unions to become Underground Champions. She said these vendors will partner with MSA to drive dialogue and proactively put ideas into action that awaken the sleeping giants of the industry – consumers. Mitchell said CUs are in a unique position to disrupt Wall Street and arrive as superheroes.
“Credit unions are a vital part of social and economic prosperity throughout the world and there needs to be a united voice that cuts through the divisive rhetoric that has both engaged and enraged the population,” Mitchell said. “Credit unions should be the game changers. Instead we are talking about the industry going away, imploding. It is not a time for pessimism, it is a time for activism. This is why we have the Underground Community for change.”
MSA’s Underground Community was established as a way for all voices in the credit union space to be heard. Mitchell invited those interested to visit http://mitchellstankovic.com/underground.html to learn more.
MSA hosted an Underground Conference in Washington, D.C., last February, as people were in town for CUNA’s Government Affairs Conference. The consultancy also organized and hosted the Underground Collision in Las Vegas in November, as industry executives gathered for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ Annual Meeting and Conference.
“The Underground Community is online, and is a place where people share ideas virtually,” Mitchell explained. “The Underground Conference had panelists and speakers, while the Underground Collision was a late night brainstorming event. Out of these events came the idea of putting together a thought leadership group, and we named it Underground Champions. It will push past the noise to talk about what really needs to be talked about.”
CU*Answers, a credit union-owned CUSO based in Grand Rapids, Mich., joined MSA as the first Underground Champion.
Brandi Stankovic, senior partner at Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates, said, “We want activists, creators, and differentiators to join us in this dialogue – people who do what is right for their organization and the industry, even if it is unpopular. CU*Answers is the right partner, at the right time. Their CEO, Randy Karnes, knows how to stir things up and get things done… execute.”
Karnes said, “Do you ever find yourself daring to think about potential solutions for your firm or the credit union industry that are just not ‘polite’ conversation starters in traditional industry exchanges? You know you need to run the ideas down with peers, but where do you start? That is what the Underground Conference confabs and the Underground Community is all about. Talk-thinking! Robust brainstorming! And themes that might drive us all to disruptive innovation and industry renewal!”
According to Karnes, “Some of my best ideas, and hopes for the future, are a long way away from being briefed at a CUNA event, and not organized enough for a Filene exchange. I need to go underground with peers looking off the beaten path and harder at yesterday’s taboos that might just be ready for prime time soon.”
During this year’s GAC, MSA will be hosting an Underground Mixer at Fado Irish Pub in D.C., Feb. 27, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit http://mitchellstankovic.com/underground.html .
Mitchell said at the Mixer, MSA will announce the location of the 2017 Underground Conference, which will be in the same city as a major credit union convention. “All of these get-togethers are for those really committed to the process.”
Issues for CUs in 2017, according to Mitchell, are:
• Urgency of the credit union voice – “We have a rare opportunity to be part of the disruption,” she said.
• Widening gap of membership/asset size – “Credit unions with $1 billion or more in assets are growing, while the others need to collaborate.”
• Business model choices for the future.
• Assessments coming from NCUA.
• Taxation realities.