Tuesday, November 20, 2007

News: Credit Union Directors' Forum

Guelph ON, November 8, 2007 

More than 180 volunteer credit union directors from across Ontario attended the 23rd annual Directors’ Forum on November 2 and 3, 2007.  The conference explored the theme of ‘The Changing Landscape’ through seven sessions and workshops, including a joint keynote address by Walter Palmer, a spokesman for Al Gore’s The Climate Project, and Derek Gent of Vancity, the largest credit union in Canada.
The 2007 Directors’ Forum encouraged credit union boards of directors to go beyond traditional ways of thinking about their membership, their communities and their competition.  Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon, author and director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (and professor of political science at the University of Toronto), challenged directors to explore the opportunities that will come from the growth, breakdown and renewal of society.  In other sessions, directors had the opportunity to learn more about: climate change; the adoption of sustainability as a core value; attracting and retaining members through customer relationship management software; the development of “green” financial products; and the status of the merger between Credit Union Central of Ontario and Credit Union Central of British Columbia.
Sessions were interactive and designed to stimulate debate and discussion between speakers and the audience. One director, from a southern-Ontario credit union, said the sessions were “very practical and useful.” Another participant commented that what she learned would enable her to “…challenge my board and management, and to think outside the traditional approach.”
The conference, hosted by the Credit Union Directors of Ontario (CUDO), and held in Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel, attracted board and committee members from more than 60 credit unions, as well as credit union system supporters, regulators and affiliates, and guests from other provinces.
During the annual general meeting, Bruce Corbett, a member of the CUDO executive since 1989, announced his retirement.  The two openings on the executive were filled by newcomer Shari Sekel of PenFinancial Credit Union, and returning director Dave Sitaram from Auto Workers Community Credit Union.  The AGM also included a presentation by Eve Sigfrid, a director with the boards of both Credit Union Central of Ontario and FirstOntario Credit Union, on her recent trip to Uganda as a credit union “coach”, and recognition of the most recent graduates of the Credit Union Director Achievement program.
Many of the presentations given during the 23rd annual Directors’ Forum are available for download from the Directors’ Forum pages of the Ontario Co-operative Association at www.ontario.coop/Directors.
The annual Directors’ Forum provides Ontario credit union directors and other credit union system volunteers with education, training and networking opportunities.  It is presented by the Credit Union Directors of Ontario (CUDO), an independent organization representing the boards of directors of Ontario’s credit unions.  Ontario, Canadian and international credit union/caisses populaires directors and committee members are invited to attend the Directors’ Forum.  No affiliation with Credit Union Central of Ontario is required.
Mark Ventry, Member Services and Marketing Officer, Ontario Co-operative Association
Tel. 519.763.8271 x30 or 1.888.745.5521

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