BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Co-operative and Mutuals Canada is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 14 members.
John Kay, Realize Strategies Co-operative
John Kay, a social entrepreneur and organizational builder, has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing successful organizations, combining purpose and profitability.
Before joining Realize Strategies Co-operative in 2012, John Kay held various leadership positions in the private and public sectors. From 2001 to 2007, he led the national operations of the WE Group of Companies as he oversaw a portfolio of value-based businesses that was generating $50 million in combined annual sales. Profits from these companies were invested in a group of non-profit companies funded and managed by the business. In 2003, he co-founded The Tyee, an award-winning national news site dedicated to “solution journalism.” In 2013, he co-founded Buy Social Canada, which is Canada’s national organization for social enterprise certification and social procurement training.
From 2004 to 2016, John was Director and President of Fairtrade Canada. Under his leadership, Fairtrade Canada started from a $400,000 annual enterprise (50% of which was funded by government grants) and became a $2.5 million impact organization funded solely by commercial licensing revenues. From 2010 to 2013, John also served as Fairtrade International’s Director and Chair of Global Finance, where he oversaw the organization’s $18 million global operating budget.
John has been part of the BC Co-operative Association Board of Directors since 2012 and has previously served as Board Chair and Treasurer. He currently serves as Vice President and manages the day-to-day operations of the Association.
Stephanie Guico, Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation
Stephanie Guico is deeply committed to the development of the co-operative movement both in Canada and abroad. She continues to share her passion for mobilizing partners to create a lasting impact on communities.
Stephanie Guico has an MMCCU degree from St-Mary’s University. She was the Marketing Director for the Montreal-based co-op la Maison Verte, the first multi-stakeholder co-operative, at a critical time in its development. Her experience inspired her thesis project, which evaluated the impact of a multi-stakeholder governance model on business strategy and development.
In 2009 and 2010, she co-managed the Co-operative Development Initiative. Working with the Desjardins Group from 2011 to 2013, she contributed to several innovative projects, such as increasing the inclusion of underrepresented members on the Desjardins Board of Directors, developing member retention marketing strategies across all business sectors, and creating the first version of youth programming for the 2012 International Co-operative Summit.
As a consultant, since 2014, she has continued to provide strategic services to co-operatives and their APEX groups. For the past two years, she has worked with the New York City Worker Co-operative Coalition to create new co-ops, develop a business ecosystem, and elaborate or mentor aid policies at the municipal or national level; the lobbying and advocacy work has resulted in a total of $3.3 million, with an expected increase for the 2017 fiscal year.
She is also the spokesperson for the Caisse d’économie solidaire du Québec’s Social Return Investments, a unique range of socially responsible investment products.
Stephanie Guico is fluently trilingual (English, French, Spanish). She continues to channel her passion for mobilizing partners around a common goal to create a lasting impact on communities, primarily through co-operatives, for many years to come.
Karen Miner, International Centre for Co-operative Management, Saint-Mary's University
Karen Miner has been involved in the co-operative movement for a long time and has focused her career on governance, strategy, business management and sustainability in co-operatives, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and governments.
Karen Miner is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), a Certified Director (ICD.D – Institute of Corporate Directors; ACCUD – credit union system [Canada]), She is also an Adjunct Professor teaching on co-operative enterprises at Saint Mary’s University.
For the past five years, Karen has been the Managing Director of the Co-operative Management Education program at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She works to build relationships and partnerships with co-operative and credit union professionals from around the world. As a result, her knowledge and involvement in the co-operative movement continues to grow. Her work has given her the opportunity to teach about co-operative innovation, lead an International Symposium on Governance (2013), co-write an International State of Co-operative Business Education report (2014), co-edit a global governance report for the International Co-operative Alliance (2015), be part of the UN Expert Group Meeting on how co-operatives can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (2016) and work on a four-year international co-operative governance project (in collaboration with KU Leuven University, Belgium) through 2023.
Furthermore, Karen has a history of being engaged in the national co-operative movement. For example, she was on the Board of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) from 2006 to 2012 and on the Board of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) from 2010 to 2013; she has also been a Director of Credit Union Atlantic since 2013 and was elected to the Board of Credit Union Atlantic since 2014.
She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband, Dan, and their two children, Isabel and Luke.
James Bettcher, United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Limited
James Bettcher is an agricultural producer and second-generation farm owner in southern Alberta with a passion for agriculture and the co-op community.
As an agricultural producer, James Bettcher believes he has a very noble calling. His job is to supply the world with fresh and safe food products. After graduating high school, he aspired to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. However, due to his father’s sudden illness, he chose to return to the family farm.
He, his wife, and his son own and operate a 2,200-acre second-generation farm located in Taber, southern Alberta. Their farm consists of 185 pure bred Gelbvieh and Red Angus cows. They also produce sugar beets, cereal grains and alfalfa. He is passionate about agriculture and co-operatives; he has been involved in several agricultural committees, always serving with the goal of giving back to the community which has served his family so well over the years, and contributing to improving the organization he serves. Their farm has been ranked as a Top 10 Sugar Beet Producer three times in the past 10 years.
He is not afraid to question and challenge his management or his peers. He believes he has a common sense approach to business when it comes to making decisions and setting directions. He uses a proactive approach versus a reactive approach where one reacts to circumstances and situations.
He has been a member of the Board of Directors at UFA Co-operative Ltd. since 2014. He has been a delegate since 2005. He served as President of Badland Hills Cattle Grazing Association for 10 years before becoming their Executive Director.
Martha Durdin, Canadian Credit Union Association
Martha Durdin, a seasoned leader with extensive experience in management, public affairs and advocacy, is the President and CEO of the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA).
In the past, Martha Durdin was the Managing Principal at one of Canada’s leading strategic public affairs firm and spent 13 years as an executive at a large Canadian bank. Early in her career, Martha worked on Parliament Hill.
Martha volunteers her time for several community organizations. She has served three terms as the Chair of the Ontario Arts Council Board and is currently Chair of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Board of the Canadian Club of Toronto. Martha represents the CCUA on the boards of the World Council of Credit Unions (WCCU) and Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) and a member of the National Steering Committee for Financial Literacy. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Ms. Durdin is bilingual and holds a B.A. (Hon.) from Western University, an MSc from the London School of Economics and an ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors at the Rotman School of Management.
Stéphane Forget, Sollio Co-operative Group
Since 2019, Stéphane Forget is the Senior Vice-President, Co-operative, Institutional Affairs and Sustainable Development at Sollio Co-operative Group. He has extensive experience in government and public affairs.
Until his arrival at Sollio Co-operative Group, Mr. Forget was President and CEO of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. Previously Vice President of Strategy and Economic Affairs for the same organization, he has acquired extensive experience in government and public affairs, holding various positions with the Société de transport de Montréal, the City of Montreal, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Government of Québec and many other associations. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Université du Québec à Montréal’s School of Management (ESG UQAM) and a law certificate from the Université de Montréal. In the spring of 2019, he obtained a university certification in corporate governance (ASC) from Université Laval. Over the years, Mr. Forget has had the opportunity to serve on various boards of directors.
Julien Geremie, Co-operation Council of Ontario
Julien Geremie is the Executive Director of the Co-operation Council of Ontario, working with various co-operatives and social enterprises. He has a great knowledge of Ontario’s economic, community, cultural, and social environments.
As the Executive Director of the Co-operation Council of Ontario, Julien Geremie works with hundreds of partner organizations and has a great knowledge of Ontario’s economic, community, cultural, and social environments. He is often asked to be a guest speaker at various workshops and congresses both in Canada and abroad. He is also an Administrator of the Association of Co-operative Educators, the co-chair of the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable, a Board member of the Radio Co-op in Toronto and the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, a member of the Ontario Government Social Impact Measurement Taskforce and the Community Benefits Group, a member of the provincial and national government relations committees for the co-operative sector and more. In 2018, he won the Canada’s Emerging Co-operator Award. Julien was also Head Delegate of a Canadian delegation during the 2016 G7 Summit in Japan. He holds a master’s degree in Political science from the Université de Montréal.
Randy Graham, Federated Co-operatives Limited
Randy Graham is a Director of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and represents 17 co-operatives. In addition to being very active in his community, the Saskatchewan native has experience in corporate performance management, and creation and management of sustainable equity programs.
Randy was elected to the Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) Board in 2016. Randy represents the 17 retail co-ops in FCL’s District 11, which covers the northwest portion of Saskatchewan. As one of FCL Directors, Randy also serves as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Audit Committee.
Randy was a member of the Discovery Co-op Board of Directors from 2002 to 2017, serving as President for 12 years. During that time, he took many training courses and seminars, gaining experience in a variety of areas such as corporate performance management, and creation and management of a sustainable member equity program.
Randy is very active in his community, generously giving his time for many Battleford boards and organizations, including Battleford’s Chamber of Commerce, North Battleford Golf and Country Club, Battleford’s North Stars Junior Hockey Club and Battleford’s Promotion Society to name a few.
From August 1992 to May 2019, Randy held various positions at Innovation Credit Union. He was part of the senior management team and was Vice-President of Operational Risk Management for several years prior to his retirement.
Randy and his wife Diana reside in the town of Battleford. Both enjoy many activities, including spending much of the summer at Turtle Lake, golfing. Randy also enjoys helping his in-laws on the grain farm during the height of the farming season.
Maggie Miland, Emerging Co-operators Representative
Maggie Miland is the Business Development and Engagement Lead at Realize Strategies Co-operative and the BC Co-operative Association. She believes in creating stronger communities by facilitating the development of leadership of today’s and tomorrow’s young co-operators.
Maggie Miland is the Manager of Business Development and Engagement at Realize Strategies Co-operative and BC Co-operative Association. Her greatest strengths reside in her understanding of issues within 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 create and lead community asset-mapping workshops for youth to encourage them to explore the co-operative sector as a viable career path. As part of the BC Co-operative Association’s mentorship program, she is currently mentoring a post-secondary student whom she guided in becoming a Youth Delegate at the Global Alliance for Banking on Values Summit hosted by Vancity.
Thanks to her note-taking, graphic design and animation skills, Maggie has helped visualize strategic directions for youth refugee support networks, the B Corp community, and support services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She has also helped youth gain a better understanding of the co-op model. Her degree in International Relations, coupled with her passion for the co-op model, fuels her belief that stronger communities are created by facilitating the leadership development of today’s and tomorrow’s young co-operators.
Sylvie Naud, Consortium de ressources et d’expertises coopératives
Sylvie Naud is the Director of Services at the Consortium de ressources et d’expertises co-operatives. She has been working in the co-operative sector for 15 years and specializes in the management and development of co-operatives, community life and governance.
After fifteen years of working in the co-operative sector, Sylvie has long been aware of the enormous potential of co-operation as a tool for the development of human beings, businesses and communities.
Over the years, her professional and dynamic approach has led her to work on the development of several social economy enterprises, more especially in the co-operative world. She is mainly specialized in the management and development of co-operatives, community life and governance.
She holds a graduate degree in Management of Co-operative and Community Development from IRECUS (Université de Sherbrooke). She held various positions as a head of development for social economy enterprises before working for nearly 9 years as director of development for a technical resource group in community housing. Passionate about the development of co-ops, she always makes a point of sharing her knowledge. For 5 years, in West Africa and during various missions abroad, she trained co-operative managers to support local promoters in their collective projects.
Actively involved for many years in the co-operative movement, Sylvie was a director of the Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité as a youth representative and president of the Alliance des jeunes coopérateurs et mutualistes du Québec. She also served on the Youth Committee of the Canadian co-operative movement. It is during these experiences that she realized how co-operatives and mutuals in Canada are diverse and deeply rooted in their communities.
She currently holds the position of Director of Services at the Consortium de ressources et d’expertises coopératives. As such, she is in daily contact with co-operators and mutualists and is well aware of the issues they face.
Mark Needham, Arctic Co-operatives Limited
Mark Needham is an active member of Yellowknife and has been a member of the Board of Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op for over 25 years. He also serves on the Board of Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Arctic Co-operative Development Fund.
Mark Needham, of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, has been an active member on the Board of Directors of Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Arctic Co-operative Development Fund for the past nine years.
Residing in Yellowknife for the past 22 years, Mark currently serves on the Board of Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op, which he joined from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1996 onward, holding all executive positions.
Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University.
Active in his community, Mark is a member of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and St. Patrick’s Parish, and volunteers for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Salvation Army.
Working at Northwestel for the past 22 years, Mark has also taught the college curriculum at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary and the Arctic College in Yellowknife.
Mark and his wife Barb have two children.
Timothy Ross, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
Timothy Ross is a community builder and advocate for social inclusion. He is Director of Strategic Affairs for The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. He has been a leading voice for affordable housing and homelessness issues.
Mr. Ross moved to Ottawa in May 2016 to join the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. As Director of Strategic Affairs, he leads a talented team of co-operators focused on government and stakeholder relations, member engagement and the organization’s annual business meeting. In a short period of time, he has built relationships with many elected and non-elected officials in federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
Prior to moving to Ottawa, Mr. Ross worked as a leading voice for affordable housing and homelessness issues. As Executive Director of the New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association, he was one of the regional and national spokespersons for the “Housing for All” campaign in support of co-op and non-profit housing. Mr. Ross has gained valuable governance experience on multiple regional and national boards, as he served in director and executive positions for the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, the Nashwaak Watershed Association, and the Greater Fredericton Social Innovation.
Mr. Ross believes that the co-operative model contributes to a better world. With so many people feeling neglected and disadvantaged by current economic and political forces, co-operatives offer a practical and democratic business structure that allows people to take charge of their own needs and aspirations.
Jeannie van Dyk, Agropur Dairy Co-operative
Jeannie van Dyk, owner of a family dairy farm and co-owner of a wild blueberry far, is an active member of the agricultural sector. In 2010, she received the FCC Rosemary Davis Award for her leadership and commitment to Canadian agriculture and the agri-food industry.
Jeannie van Dyk has a lifelong career in agriculture. She owns and operates a 100-cow dairy farm with her husband and two sons and is a partner with two of her brothers in a 1,100-acre wild blueberry farm. A graduate of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture and MacDonald College, she holds a BSc. in Agriculture and is a certified member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Following her education, Ms. van Dyk worked for five years as a swine specialist for the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture before beginning her full-time farming career in 1985. She has served on the Hants Co-op Board, the Livestock Services Board, the Farmer’s Milk Producer Board, and 17 years (6 as Chair) on the Farmers Co-operative Dairy Board. She joined the Agropur Board as Vice Chair in 2013.
Ms. van Dyk has been involved in the Nova Scotia Agricultural Awareness program and has given many guest lectures at the local agricultural college. In 2010, she received the FCC Rosemary Davis Award for her leadership and commitment to Canadian agriculture and the agri-food industry.
Alexandra Wilson, Co-operators
Alexandra Wilson, CEO of the Agency for Co-operative Housing since 2005, has spent over 45 years developing and providing services to non-profit housing co-ops in Canada.
CEO of the Agency for Co-operative Housing since 2005, Alexandra Wilson is a member of the boards of the International Co-operative Alliance, the Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa, and the Co-operators Group, where she chairs the Risk and Compensation Committee and is a past Chair of the Sustainability and Audit committees. A member of multiple co-operatives, Alexandra chaired the Credit Committee of Alterna Savings for seven years and was a Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Citizens Bank of Canada (now known as Vancity Community Investment Bank), a wholly owned subsidiary of Vancity Savings Credit Union. In 2012, she was appointed to the Sustainability Advisory Board of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada and in 2018 to CPA’s Advisory Board for Sustainable Business.
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