John Kay

President

John is a serial social entrepreneur and organizational builder with over two decades of experience building and growing successful organizations that combine purpose and profit.

Prior to joining Realize Strategies Co-operative in 2012, he held a number of senior and executive level positions in the private and public sectors. From 2001 – 2007, he led the national operations of WE Group of Companies where he oversaw a portfolio of values-driven business generating a combined $50 million in annual sales. Profits from these companies were invested in a group of non-profits that were...

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Stephanie Guico

Vice-president

A graduate of St Mary’s University MMCCU, Ms. Guico was Marketing Director for Montreal-based coopérative la Maison Verte, Quebec’s first multi-stakeholder cooperative, at a critical moment in its growth. Her experience inspired a thesis which assessed the impact of a multi-stakeholder governance model on business strategy and growth. 

In 2009-2010, Stephanie co-managed the Co-operative Development Initiative. Working with the Desjardins Group from 2011-2013, she contributed to a number of innovative projects: increasing the inclusion of under-represented members on Desjardins’...

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Karen Miner

Vice-president

Karen’s career has been focused on governance, strategy, business management, and sustainability within co-operatives, non-profits, for-profit organizations, and government. She is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), certified director (ICD.D - Institute of Corporate Directors; ACCUD - credit union system (Canada)), and Adjunct Professor teaching on co-operative enterprises at Saint Mary’s University.

Since 2012, Karen has held the position of Managing Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University – working with co-operative and...

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James Bettcher

Director

As an agricultural producer, I believe I have a very noble calling. It is my job to supply the world fresh, safe food. After graduating high school, I had aspirations of becoming a doctor of veterinarian medicine. However, due to my father’s sudden illness I choose to come back to our family farm.

My wife, son and I own and operate a 2nd generation 2,200 acre farm located in Taber, Southern Alberta. Our farm consists of 185 pure bred Gelbvieh and commercial Red Angus cows. We also produce sugar beets, cereal grains and alfalfa. I have a passion for agriculture and co-...

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Sharon Alford

Director

Sharon Alford of Swan River, Man., was first elected to the Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) Board in 2013. She represents the 12 retail co-operatives in FCL’s district 13, which covers west-central Manitoba.

As an FCL Director, Sharon is Chair of the Board’s Human Resources Committee and participates on the Governance and Code of Conduct and Ethics Committees. In addition, she is the Board’s representative to the Manitoba Cooperative Association and The Co-operators.

Sharon was first elected to the...

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Martha Durdin

Director

Martha Durdin is currently the President and CEO at Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA). www.ccua.com

She is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in management, public affairs and advocacy. Previously, she was the Managing Principal of a leading national strategic public affairs firm and spent thirteen years as an executive at a large Canadian bank. Early in her career, Martha worked on Parliament Hill.

Martha volunteers her time for a number of community organizations. Among them, she served three terms as the Chair of the...

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Isabelle Garon

Director

Isabelle Garon is Vice-President, President’s Office, Cooperation and Director Support, Desjardins Group. She works closely with Desjardins Group’s President and CEO, providing support as he fulfills his mandate, and is the main liaison for the Board of Directors and for elected caisse directors.

Isabelle is in charge of coordination for the Office of the President and CEO. Her mandate also includes collaborating with senior management to ensure that Desjardins Group’s strategies and initiatives reflect our cooperative nature, values and mission. Her top priority is creating a...

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Julien Geremie

Director

Julien Geremie is Executive Director with the Conseil de la cooperation de l’Ontario. He is responsible for providing support to over a dozen start-up co-operatives and social enterprises across Ontario, more specifically in the fields of agriculture, education, rural development, health, succession planning and much more. Julien works collaboratively with hundreds of partner organizations and he has a great knowledge of Ontario’s economic, social and cultural ecosystems.  He is a guest speaker at various workshops and congresses both in Canada and abroad. He is also Administrator of the...

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Ghislain Gervais

Director

Elected to La Coop fédérée’s board of directors in 2011, to the executive committee in 2013, and as first vice-president in 2014, Ghislain Gervais assumed the position of president of La Coop fédérée in February 2016.

A graduate of the Institut de technologie agricole (ITA), Saint-Hyacinthe campus, in Farm Management and Technology Program, Mr. Gervais is now a chicken, turkey and grain producer in Saint-Guillaume with his wife Josianne and his brother Claude. Together, they run two broiler barns each with a capacity for 24,000 chickens and 8000 turkeys. They also have 500 hectares...

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Normand Lafrenière

Director

Normand began his working career with the Canadian Federal Government. He worked successively for the Oil and Gas Sector of the Department of Energy; for the Corporate Income Tax Competitiveness Analysis Sector of the Department of Industry; and for the Sales Tax Sector of the Department of Finance.

He joined the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (CAMIC) as President in 1993 and has been working in that capacity ever since. His role in CAMIC involves promoting the value of mutuality, lobbying the Federal Government as well as providing education, information and...

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Maggie Miland

Director

Maggie Miland is the Business Development and Engagement Lead at Realize Strategies Co-operative and the BC Co-operative Association. Her greatest strengths are in understanding issues in the purpose-driven sector from a systemic lens and empowering those affected to take actionable steps towards a solution. Maggie’s work with the BC Co-operative Association has led her to co-create and run community asset-mapping workshops amongst youth to encourage them to explore the co-operative sector as a viable career path. She is currently a mentor to a post-secondary student through the BC Co-...

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Mark Needham

Director

Mark Needham, of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories has been an active member on the Board of Directors tof Arctic Co-operatives Limited and Arctic Co-operative Development Fund for the past nine years. Mark is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors.

Residing in Yellowknife for 22 years, Mark presently serves on the Board of Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op, first from 1992 -1994, and from 1996 onward, holding all executive positions. Recently, Mark was elected to the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) Board in 2013.

Mark received a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from...

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Timothy Ross

Director

Tim Ross is a community builder, and advocate for inclusion. He moved to Ottawa in May 2016 to join the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. As Director, Strategic Affairs, he leads a talented team of co-operators focused on government relations, stakeholder relations, membership engagement, and the organization’s annual business meeting. In a short period of time, Tim has developed extensive relationships with elected and non-elected officials in federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Prior to moving to Ottawa, Tim worked in New Brunswick as a leading voice on...

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Jeannie van Dyk

Director

Jeannie van Dyk has a lifelong career in agriculture. She owns and operates a 100-cow dairy farm with her husband and two sons. She also is a partner with two of her brothers in an 1100-acre wild blueberry business. A graduate of Dalhousie Agricultural campus and MacDonald College, Jeannie holds a BSc. in Agriculture and an ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

After university, she worked for five years as swine specialist for the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture before going to full time farming in 1985. Jeannie has served on the Hants Co. Co-op board, Livestock...

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Jack Wilkinson

Director

The Co-operators Group Limited

Mr. Wilkinson is a Director of The Co-operators and serves as a director on a regional agriculture and consumer co-operative. He was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame for his work in improving the economic situation within rural Canada. In February of 2009, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Guelph for his contribution to Canadian agriculture.

He  is a Past-President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), where he served a six year term. Prior to that, he served...

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