Every three years the OCUF Board hold a full day session to look at our strategic direction and ensure we are meeting the needs of our member credit unions and donors. Last year, the Board made some significant decision and shifted away from a multi-pronged matching donations program, to a focused approach of supporting youth education and leadership. Our inaugural Youth Bursary program assisted 42 post-secondary students with bursaries ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
This change has been welcomed by our membership as evidenced by the many positive comments received during and after our Annual General Meeting at the end of April.
In the two years between strategic reviews, the Board sets aside a day to put the thinking caps on, not to re-visit strategy, but to consider opportunities, potential business disruptions, and ongoing relevance to our credit union members.
We are delighted to announce this November, Sandi Verrecchia from Satori Consulting will be providing her services to facilitate our planning workshop. Sandi is well known to many in the industry.
A visit to Sandi Verrecchia’s website says it best, “We are focused on improving organizational performance by providing innovative solutions that are developed to address the unique needs of each of our clients. We partner to provide insight and expertise in areas such as strategic planning and execution, business coaching, Board effectiveness, team building and data analytics. We are management consultants that are focused on facilitating change and delivering solutions that drive effective results.”
We look forward to working with Sandi in November.
Satori Consulting is hosting a conference November 2-3 at the Royal York Hotel entitled “Thinking Differently to Drive Growth.” Our Board Chair, Dan Coldwell is a featured speaker.
OCUF attended ON Co-op’s Annual General Meeting yesterday in Milton. It was interesting to hear how much On Co-op has on the go. A big initiative is their work building government relations. Like many AGM’s there was the election to the Board of Directors, a by-law amendment and review of the auditor’s report. All good stuff, but what was most interesting came after the “business” component.
Denyse Guy from Co-operatives & Mutuals Canada updated the group on some initiatives. She reminded everyone that Co-op Week was October 16-22. She then introduced two CCA Interns to present. It was very interesting to hear Jonea Agwa speak of her efforts in Kenya. It certainly puts our lifestyle in perspective as to just how fortunate we are to live in Canada. Her story was captivating as she built up to her motto “No one has a monopoly on knowledge.”
The second presenter, Jannat Nain talked about her experience intern in with the Co-operative Association in Mongolia. I had no idea co-operatives have been around for almost 100 years in that country. Jannat detailed her engagement as a marketing and project management lead. Her last slide was a great one, “May your fortunes flourish forever.”
This was followed by three presentations from the finalists in the “Create a Co-op Challenge” organized by All4Each’s coordinator Adam Malloy and sponsored by Gay Lea Foods. Three groups presented their ideas. The first, Farhad talked about his concept for a co-operative community sports concept that was all inclusive called Sportica.
The next two, Sabrina and Nicholas impressed me by presenting for ten minutes without reference to any notes. Talk about a well-rehearsed presentation. Their concept was to create an online site for students to sell their wares to help fund their post-secondary education.
The third presenters, Jameel and Farzam spoke to their co-operative idea called Vesti Apparel. “Dressing graciously – affordably” was their concept to provide clothing for young adults, be it for prom or an employment interview.
A first prize was awarded to Vesti Apparel of $1,000 to help them seed their project, the two runner-up presenters each received $500.
The concept of co-operatives as an alternative business model was clearly leveraged by these students. Kudos to On Co-op and all who contributed to this programs success.
In 2014, the Ontario Credit Union Foundation opened the Leadership Niagara Community Investment Fund and annually awards a full tuition bursary to a deserving Niagara credit union leader. As Clayton Shold, Executive Director, OCUF explains “We see Leadership Niagara as a fantastic program that enables credit union leaders. It helps develop them into well rounded professionals and community leaders.”
This year will mark Leadership Niagara’s ninth year graduating 275 community leaders and the completion of over 50 community projects. The program has been the highest enrolled Community Leadership program in Canada for the past 5 years.
OCUF is pleased to announce this year’s bursary recipient is Emily Williams-Yeagers from PenFinancial Credit Union. Emily is the Assistant Branch Manager of the Lake Street branch in St. Catharines.
Emily has demonstrated her passion and commitment to her leadership role by sharing her vision with her team and collaboratively improving the growth of the credit union through business development and holistic financial planning with her members. Her passion for continued learning is also demonstrated in her passion to educate others on how to empower themselves to become their own financial engineers.
Emily provides leadership throughout the community as a Board of Directors member for Family Mental Health Support Network of Niagara (FSN). She also volunteers her time on various committees and teams, such as Financial Literacy, Skates for Kids, and as a Truly Local Advice blogger on behalf of PenFinancial.