This International Women’s Day, Central 1 is celebrating taking another step towards strengthening diversity and inclusion in the workplace by signing Minerva’s Face of Leadership™ Pledge, which signals a firm commitment from top-level leaders to advance gender diversity in their organizations.
This commitment is just the latest in the many plans we’ve got in place to support a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Central 1’s Diversity and Inclusion Management Standard voices our aspiration for a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities. By reflecting differences in gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, thinking style and background, Central 1 cultivates different points of view – ultimately strengthening our ability to power progress for credit unions by creating better products and services.
In 2018, Central 1’s Powering Women initiative was founded to inspire and elevate women at Central 1 and across the credit union system. As part of that initiative, we offer participation in Minerva’s Women Leading the Way program, a prestigious part-time training program for established and emerging women leaders. We host the annual ‘Women in Tech’ summer networking event, where our own tech workforce share their knowledge with peers from other companies in the Metro Vancouver area. We work with the Co-operative Development Foundation’s Women’s Mentorship Program to host women from developing countries at Central 1. In 2019 we had the pleasure of meeting Bettyrose, the Branch Manager for the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association in Nairobi, who shared the work her credit union does and some of the challenges they face. Last year, myself, Buffy Duke and Sue Whitney were panellists at the Women in Payments Symposium in Toronto, discussing the disruptive evolution taking place across the payments ecosystem. Central 1 also covered the cost for five of our women to participate in the Women in Payments Global Mentorship Program, a wonderful growth opportunity that fosters the next generation of female talent by providing a career development platform where women can build their industry profiles and receive crucial mentorship from leading payments experts.
We also hold lunch and learn events for all employees focusing on topics like unconscious bias, the link between inclusivity and innovation and mental health in the workplace. Our employees also get the opportunity to network and celebrate at events such as The Forum of Women’s entrepreneur gala, YWCA Women of Distinction Gala, and the We For She conference.
This International Women’s Day is a special one for me as weeks before I listened to our CEO, Mark Blucher, discuss the matriarchal influences in his own life and watched him sign The Face of Leadership™ Pledge. The fact that Central 1 is now a signatory means we’ve agreed to the seven principles in the pursuit of increasing female leadership and fostering inclusive cultures. This pledge is in alignment with the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles and the achievement of Global Goal #5 (achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls). It is also compatible with the Catalyst Accord and the 30% Club.
As it stands, almost half of Central 1’s employee base are women, including three of our eight executive leaders, 53 per cent of our Board of Directors, 41 per cent of our 140 leaders and 39 per cent of our 460-strong tech team (which puts us way above the B.C. average of 18 per cent of women in tech roles). We still have work to do, but I’m confident we have the ambition and commitment to make even more strides in this space!
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world and I am proud of our efforts at Central 1.