At the recent Ontario Credit Union Foundation Annual General Meeting, Director Elisabeth van der Pol presented the Distinguished Service Award to Janet Grantham, recently retired from Mainstreet Credit Union.

Elisabeth commented, “Having been in the credit union system for many years, I, like many of you, have had the pleasure to interact with what I will call legends in our sector. This award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in service to the credit union movement. As one of the adjudicators this year, our task was not easy. Multiple submissions were received, all of whom were leaders in our industry, terribly well respected, and all worthy. When the votes were tabulated, as close as they were, one person came out on top, Janet Grantham.”

Janet began her credit union career in 1979 as an employee of the Barrie Community Credit Union. After two years, she moved to the Ontario Provincial Police Association Credit Union. It was in 1985 when Janet moved to London, Ontario and continued her journey within the financial services sector. She later joined Kellogg Employees Credit Union where she remained for fifteen years. During her time there, she became the first person to win the Credit Union Central of Ontario Mentorship Award. In 2004, Janet accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer at Sydenham Credit Union (in Strathroy, Ontario), where she served fearlessly for over 17 years before retiring in September 2021.

Janet has also given her personal time to causes she is passionate about. Whether it is the London-Middlesex United Way, specializing in mental health city-wide programs, or improving local health care through her work on the Strathroy-Middlesex General Hospital Foundation board, she has always been dedicated and committed to the betterment of our surrounding communities.

In 2013, Janet joined the board of the SMGH Hospital Foundation. After one year, Janet was asked to sit on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair, then moved to Chair in 2016. Janet’s experience with governance proved invaluable to the foundation, as she helped the board focus on their true purpose to raise funds in support of Strathroy’s hospital. With Janet’s help, the SMGH Hospital Foundation has created a new governance model, developed a long-term strategic fundraising plan, and improved their working relationship with the hospital.

Over Janet’s four-decade commitment to the credit union system, she continuously highlighted the cooperative principles and values that credit unions stand by. By many, she was known as the person you could go to if you wanted to mull over ideas, she would be there to provide counsel, or help work through any problem. She was well-known to bring her collaborative and solutions-focused approach to working groups, committees, and the Board room. As a leader, Janet always believed that offering the best member experience and advice will lead to significant impact and growth.

Over the years, Janet was also known to put in a great amount of time and effort in Toronto (Queen’s Park) and Ottawa as a lobbyist and advocate for credit unions. She would meet with community leaders and government officials to ensure that credit unions’ (big or small) were heard.

Since her path in the Canadian credit union system started over 40 years ago, Janet showed unparallel commitment to helping credit unions be competitive, sustainable, and most importantly; dedicated to their members, communities, and cooperative values.

On behalf of OCUF and the credit union sector in Ontario we extend our sincere congratulations!