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Mexicos Ramirez receives Global Womens Athena Award
Dolores Rivera Ramírez (center) received the 2012 Athena Award from the Global Women's Leadership Network.
GDANSK, Poland (7/18/12)--The Global Women's Leadership Network's 2012 Athena Award was given to Dolores Rivera Ramírez, general manager of Caja Zongolica in Veracruz, Mexico. Rivera was honored with the annual award at the Global Women's Leadership Forum, held in conjunction with World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) World Credit Union Conference, taking place this week in Gdańsk, Poland.

The award honors outstanding achievement in support of credit union development, particularly as it relates to worldwide credit union women's leadership development.

Rivera has been a key leader in the international movement since starting a credit union in 1994 to meet the needs of poor residents in her rural community in Mexico's Veracruz state. Under her leadership, the credit union grew to more than 40,000 members.

Rivera has worked with WOCCU since 2003 to implement savings mobilization and outreach programs in Mexico. She was among the first to help pilot handheld transaction technology to deliver financial services remotely to credit union members in rural Mexico, a program that is expanding to other countries.

Gabriela Zapata (center) accepted the Athena Award for Dolores Rivera Ramirez, whose travel delays made her miss the ceremony. Zapata shares the moment with World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch and Global Women's Leadership Network Chair Sue Mitchell at World Credit Union Conference in Gdańsk, Poland.  (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
"The future of financial services lies in electronic delivery to members when and where they want those services," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "The success of Caja Zongolica and the transferability of the lessons they learned will help move the global credit union movement forward in important and meaningful ways."

Caja Zongolica capitalized on its existing Semilla Cooperativa [Cooperative Seed] program, through which the credit union delivers services by sending representatives to members in remote areas. Rivera helped expand the World Council program and credit union outreach using handheld transaction devices, an experience she shared with Global Women's Leadership Forum participants in Las Vegas in 2010.

Based on information gained during that presentation, Ventura County CU in Ventura, Calif., adapted the program to serve local farm laborers.

International development professional Gabriela Zapata, consultant with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, accepted the award on behalf of Rivera, who experienced travel delays that prevented her from attending Saturday's awards ceremony.

The Global Women's Leadership Network, co-founded by WOCCU and the Canadian Co-operative Association, provides women with the opportunity and resources to make a measureable difference in each other's lives, and in their credit unions and communities. The international network, which meets annually in conjunction with the World Credit Union Conference, engages members with professional and personal development through social media and educational forums and provides the tools for women to connect and seek confidential advice from their peers.

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