Co-operative Identity Award

Michelle Christmann, Community Relations Officer at Quinte First Credit Union received the coveted Co-operative Identity Award at the 2017 Provincial Co-op Conference hosted at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Toronto September 28th. The award was presented by Claude Gauthier from Growmark Inc.

Quinte First Credit Union President & CEO Carrie Gregoire said, “I have been in the credit union system for eleven years. Until our recent merger, I can honestly say I have never met anyone who is as passionate, energetic and driven about the co-operative system as Michelle.”  She added, “Her enthusiasm is contagious.”

Clayton Shold, Executive Director of Ontario Credit Union Foundation, was on this years selection panel exclaimed “Michelle is clearly someone who exemplifies the co-operative spirit and takes her enthusiasm in to work, and in to her community every day!”

Michelle’s list of achievements is long, she is a certified Each One Teach One (EOTO) instructor and has delivered presentations to elementary and secondary schools, as well as a local college. Michelle partnered with Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc to open one of the first student-run co-operatives in Ontario. She applied for, and was successful in obtaining a $10,000 Community Empowerment grant from Concentra which will be partner with four new schools next year to start four new student-run co-operatives. Michelle has worked with different co-operatives to showcase them and enhance community offerings. She introduced a brand ambassador program at Quinte First so all staff can speak to the benefits of co-operatives. The next question you might ask is “who has a cloning machine we can walk Michelle through a few times?!”

Congratulations Michelle, a very deserving honour!

2017 marks the 17th year of the Co-operative Spirit Awards, which recognizes both individuals and organizations, that are making a significant impact on the Ontario co-operative movement. As of October 2015, 122 Spirit Awards have been awarded.

Jessica Plenzick is 2017 Leadership Niagara Bursary Recipient

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. This year will mark Leadership Niagara’s tenth year graduating 317 community leaders and the completion of 64 community projects. The program has been the highest enrolled Community Leadership program in Canada since 2012.

OCUF is pleased to announce this year’s bursary recipient is Jessica Plenzick from FirstOntario Credit Union. Jessica is the Member Experience Manager at the Scott Street branch in St. Catharines.

She has a strong background in the financial services industry and skills in banking, coaching, sales and retail.  Jessica demonstrates a passion for helping others and as a professional, she is focused on empowering her team to uncover financial solutions for their membership. In her current role, she oversees a team of seven who strive to provide the best Member experience, guidance and support for their Members.

She is truly passionate about her work and always eager to connect with others. Jessica told us “While I enjoy all aspects of my job, the best part is working with my team and our Members to learn and understand their financial goals and work together to achieve them. As we go through this collaborative process, we understand our membership a little bit more. I strive on continuous learning to empower and teach others how to bring out the best in themselves.” 

Jessica provides leadership throughout her community by being a part of several initiatives at FirstOntario, including their volunteer Blue Wave program and student nutrition program. She is also involved with Port Weller Public School where she helps serve students breakfast. Jessica also spends time assisting new leaders by being a volunteer Dale Carnegie coach alongside the Instructor. 

Jessica we wish you well over the next ten months on the Leadership Niagara program. You will then join a growing network dedicated to ensuring a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Niagara.