Mentorship program strengthens co-op ties

Woman from Ghana connects in Abbotsford with female leaders from Prospera Credit Union

Obenewaa Yeboah (middle) of Ghana spent 10 days in Abbotsford in June for a mentorship program in partnership with women leaders from Prospera Credit Union.

Obenewaa Yeboah (middle) of Ghana spent 10 days in Abbotsford in June for a mentorship program in partnership with women leaders from Prospera Credit Union.

People helping people: It’s a philosophy that all credit unions share, whether in Canada or halfway around the world.

During June, Obenewaa Yeboah, the branch manager for Ramseyer Co-operative Credit Union in Ghana, joined Prospera Credit Union to take part in a Women’s Mentorship Program.

She spent 10 days in Abbotsford, hosted by the corporate office and contact centre.

The mentorship program is a global development initiative created by the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and supported by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada.

It provides a unique professional development opportunity to female credit union managers of overseas financial co-operatives – many of whom are in developing countries.

It also provides a mutual learning opportunity for the women who play host, in this case Prospera Credit Union’s Jayne Taylor, vice president of sales and service.

“During her time with us, a team of almost a dozen female leaders within Prospera spent time with Obenewaa, sharing best practices in a wide variety of areas, including everything from human resources to lending, credit and risk, operations, financial reporting and planning,” Taylor said.

Yeboah also spent time with staff in the contact centre, where she observed how staff respond to member needs.

“At the same time, we learned about how credit unions operate in Africa, where there is a much greater focus on micro-finance,” Taylor said.

When she returns home to Ghana, Yeboah, who lives in the city of Komasi, is keen to use what she  learned to improve women’s access to capital and help them build financial security.

“The women who are not financially stable, they have to do hard work and they don’t have the idea of savings,” Yeboah said. “I’d like to start to change that by developing member programs to help them improve their financial situation.”

This is the second time she has participated in the CCA’s Women’s Mentorship Program, and said both times were an “amazing learning experience.”