This Sunday is International Women’s Day, a time to not only reflect on the achievements of women around the world, but also to commit to creating a more gender equal world. This year’s theme “Each for Equal” gets to the heart of what we as individuals can do throughout our organizations to break down barriers, broaden perceptions, and build a more inclusive environment. Through our individual actions and thoughts, we can collectively create a more equal and inclusive world.
“International Women’s Day is an important reminder that it is incumbent upon all of us to create the type of inclusive environment and society we want to live in,” said CO-OP Chief People Officer Cheryl Middleton Jones. “At CO-OP that means actively promoting the wide diversity of perspectives and lifestyles of our employees and championing equality.”
“Everyone has a role to play in ensuring our economy gains all it can from dynamic women,” said CO-OP Chief Experience Officer Samantha Paxson. “If I can make it easier for others to achieve individual wins faster than I did, that’s a privilege I’m honored to have. To all my colleagues, male or female, lifting each other up is one of the fastest ways to scale your abilities and grow.”
One way CO-OP is supporting the advancement of female professionals is through our continued support of the Global Women’s Leadership Network. However, we are also working to promote a more diverse and inclusive work culture at CO-OP, launching initiatives like our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and Culture Delegate Team.
“It has been proven that organizations that prioritize diversity, equity & inclusion efforts have employees that feel valued and empowered, allowing them to bring their authentic selves to work every day,” says Robyn Dennis, Organizational Effectiveness Manager and DE&I Council Lead for CO-OP. “The vision for our DE&I Council is to understand, attract and engage a diverse workforce where every employee can live up to their value; ensuring that our employee base reflects the members we serve, and the result of this effort is an inclusive environment where diverse talent thrives.”
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked CO-OP employees to reflect on how they have benefited from or helped to promote more equality in the workplace.
Here’s what they had to say:
On the Importance of Gender Equity
“Gender equity is a critical component to the success of my career and the success of CO-OP. It’s important for us to see each other as professionals first; gender should have no bearing on whether we’ve perceived as being able to perform our jobs at a very high level.” – Lending Supervisor Eloy Perez
“I think that gender equity is incredibly important because every single different walk of life brings a new and differing perspective to the table. When we are inclusive and equitable in our careers we open ourselves to so many more possibilities because we welcome diverse perspectives and motivators.” – Jake Barnwell, Service Desk Specialist II
On the Influence of Female Mentorship
“Much of the success I have encountered has been aided by having strong mentors/role models (male and female) within the organization. Tammy Snyder (SVP, Contact Center Services) is actually one that has been most influential as I have taken on new roles and positions within the organization or encountered new challenges. Tammy consistently lends herself to be available for me via text, call, email, lunch dates, etc. (at any time of day) in which I can talk through relevant situations. – Director of Fraud Management, Ashley Town
“I have encountered so many amazing women in my career that have inspired me and that have been a positive inspiration in my life but someone that has been consistently supporting me throughout my life is my mom. My mom has been there for me through thick and thin and that includes providing guidance and inspiration in all aspects of my career and life. I owe so much to her and thank her for putting everything she has behind me and for bringing goodness into this world. – Product Marketing Manager Tricia Gavin
“I have had the privilege to work many talented leaders and co-workers. The one person who made the most significant impact in my career over 15 years ago was an individual who is one of the most talented, inspiring leaders I have had the privilege to work with. As my manager and mentor, she helped me become a better leader and security professional by watching how she handled tough situations. She also taught me how to see problems from another point of view. As a woman in Information Security, she faced many obstacles in her career, but she never let it change her focus on helping organizations become better. She is now the Chief Information Security Officer of a very large Fortune 100 company and I continue to try to strive to be the leader that she continues to be.” – Paul Love, Chief Information Security & Privacy Officer
On Ways to Promote Inclusiveness at Work:
“I care about inclusiveness and promoting a healthy work environment. I’ve worked in various companies with differing environments and I’ve seen what both a good and toxic place may do to an individual. I don’t want anyone to walk away from work feeling negative, because I truly feel that it will come back and have a negative impact on the organization. I think if we foster a healthy work environment that we’ll have a win-win for the organization and the individuals that make it up. – Senior Financial Analyst Denise Loza
“My goal each day I come to work is to foster a culture of integrity and trust where my staff are celebrated and know they are valued. I believe CO-OP’S employees are our most valuable asset. As a leader, I do my best to provide clear direction and expectations for an inclusive positive environment.” – Debbie Pendleton, Manager, Project Services
In keeping with the credit union mission of People Helping People, let us all pledge to continue promoting a more equal and inclusive society.
Happy International Women’s Day!