AACUC Pilots 1-to-1Woman Mentoring Program

SNELLVILLE, GA – The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) continues with bold initiatives to address racial barriers in credit union and corporate structures. America’s social climate exhausts direst and many organizations implement Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) teachings and panels to enforce staff member awareness to prejudges and oversights but AACUC gets personal with a pilot mentoring program, 1-to-1Woman.

1-to-1Woman paired nine Caucasian (White) female executives with nine rising African American (Black) female professionals to learn the areas that stoke blind spots, hinder economic development and growth, and the commonalities of gender bias in the workforce. The 1-to-1Woman pilot mentoring program sought White executives with a history of achievements and who are empathetic forerunners on relevant issues. The rising Black professionals were selected based on merit, education, and credit union industry experience.

In the United States, mentors are more likely to mentor someone of their same culture. With the majority of executive level positions being held by Caucasians, this leaves less opportunity for African Americans to be apprenticed. Therefore, in a highly competitive network system, Black professionals are often perceived as steps behind their White counterparts.

“The 1-to-1Woman Program was a great opportunity to connect with executives outside of my organization to explore how I can grow professionally and personally. This mentoring program allowed a safe place for taboo and uncomfortable conversations to take place as a way of understanding different perspectives in the workplace. Most importantly, the program has created an impactful platform to continue the relationship between me and my mentor,” Jazmine Kilpatrick, Membership Development Manager, Local Government Federal Credit Union with mentor Libby Calderone, President & COO, LSC.

1-to-1Woman Program proved to be a two-way bridge that crossed racial barriers to confront difference and bond on similarities. “Participating in the 1-to-1Woman program helped each one of us demonstrate our commitment to inclusion in our lives and in our industry. I learned from every woman in the program and look forward to continuing the conversations and friendships,” April Clobes, President & CEO, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.

1-to-1Woman is a four-week module created and facilitated by Shellee Mitchell, Program Specialist, NASCUS; Susan Mitchell, CEO, Mitchell Stankovic & Associates sponsored the pilot program. “Congratulations! It was indeed a memorable program and we are already seeing the impact. My partner, Latonya Allen created a career plan that she shared with her CEO to advance in leadership. Incredible. This is a special group of women and I am honored to be a part of the inaugural program,” Susan Mitchell, CEO.