Bruno Dragani is a value-based leader with 25 years of financial co-operative experience. He serves as an executive for Coastal Community Credit Union and holds the Chief People & Administration Officer position. His areas of oversight include Information Technology, Human Resources, Centralized Operations, and Premises. He has been instrumental in leveraging people and technology to create strategies and programs that support the credit union.
Mr. Dragani holds a Master in Business Administration from Royal Roads University (MBA) and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and he is currently completing the (ICD) Institute of Corporate Directors designation. He serves as a director for the Nanaimo Port Theater and is a past chair for Community Futures Central Vancouver Island. He has also volunteered for the Canadian Co-operatives Association internationally and has served in Mongolia and Indonesia.
Michele Aasgard is the Vice-chairperson of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada. Ms. Aasgard is a former Executive Director of the Alberta Community and Cooperative Association (ACCA) in Edmonton, Alberta. The ACCA seeks to foster a healthy and vibrant co-operative sector; to provide a forum for co-operatives to associate and network with other provincial and national co-operatives; to promote the co-operative model; to support the development of strong Alberta communities through co-operation; to foster the development of community leaders through education; to provide youth education and leadership; and, to foster a healthy agriculture sector through co-operation and education.
Before joining the ACCA, Ms. Aasgard worked for the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division of the Alberta Government, developing and delivering training programs for staff and the private sector. She has extensive experience producing educational resource materials and has completed her Certificate of Adult and Continuing Education from the University of Alberta with distinction.
Tracey Kliesch the Director of Strategic Alliances at Concentra Bank for British Columbia. Concentra is a schedule 1, chartered bank owned by credit unions and co-operative organizations across Canada. Before Concentra, Tracey spent many years at Vancity working in change management, community investment, and member experience.
She holds a Master’s degree in Co-operative and Credit Union Management from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Outside of work, she teaches Sustainable Business Models at BCIT in the Advanced Sustainable Business Leadership Diploma Program.
Ms. Kliesch is co-chair of the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC), the umbrella organization overseeing the work of the International Centre of Co-operative Management (ICCM).
She believes in the power of people helping people to advance community development which is why she is proud to sit on the board of CDF.
She is one of the co-founders of Canada DE, a credit union development education program that brings credit union professionals worldwide to Canada annually to share strategies to operationalize values and create positive social impact through financial co-operatives.
Neil Cooper’s analytical mind and focus keep Conexus in the winning column to ensure it is properly equipped for and understands what success looks like. As Chief Financial Officer, Mr.Cooper leads the accounting, finance and treasury functions for Conexus. With a focus on organizational financial sustainability and stewardship, he is willing to make thoughtful, tough decisions for the greater good of Conexus, its members and employees.
Mr. Cooper’s experience in the financial industry is supplemented by a Master of Business Administration Degree and Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Saskatchewan. He currently serves on the boards of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada and APEX I and II Limited Partnership. He has enjoyed volunteering with the Canadian Co-operative Association, Canadian Cancer Society and MS Society of Canada.
Mark Needham of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is the President of Arctic Co-operatives Limited and Arctic Co-operative Development Fund and has been an active member for over fifteen years. A resident of Yellowknife for 30 years, Mr. Needham serves on the Board of Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op, first from 1992 -1994 and 1996 onward, holding all executive positions.
Mr. Needham served on the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) Board in 2013. In 2014, he was elected to the Board of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC).
Mr. Needham has previously served on the Resolutions Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee, and as the CMC representative on the CCA Board Nomination Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Queens University, and is very active in his community.
Jeanette Wakelin is the Director of Product Solutions at Atlantic Central and is responsible for the oversight and execution of product and services strategies supporting over 45 credit unions in Atlantic Canada. Having worked in the financial cooperative sector for more than 30 years, Ms. Wakelin has developed a strong passion for the co-operative way of life.
She has served on the PEI Co-operative Council, the Credit Union National Benefits Committee, the Credit Union National Risk Management Committee, and the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce. She currently is on the National Committee in support of a co-operative financial literacy program and works with over 50 certified trainers in Atlantic Canada.
Ms. Wakelin is a Certified Change Management Practitioner from ADPRO and has a Sales and Service Training Certification from MOHR Development Group, a Performance Management Certification from the Hay Group, and her MBA designation specializing in Human Resource Management. Jeanette was the National Chair of the Children’s Wish Foundation and now serves on its National Board as Chair of the Human Resources Committee.
Julie Breuer is Vice President, Member Relations & Stakeholder Engagement, Central 1 Credit Union. She joined Central 1 in February 2016, bringing more than a decade of experience in the credit union system. She is responsible for all member/owner-related aspects of relationships with Class A members of Central 1 to maximize value between member credit unions and Central 1.
Prior to joining Central 1, Julie was the Director of Engagement with the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada building relationships with credit union leaders from across Canada to engage them in the building and strengthening credit unions and other co-operatives around the world.
Mr. Breuer is a graduate of the University of Guelph and holds a post-graduate certificate in Management Skills from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. She has traveled the globe, having lived, worked, or played in more than 65 countries worldwide.
Korinne Collins is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of business consulting, learning, and leadership experience ranging from an entrepreneurial start-up that she built and subsequently sold to leading learning teams at PwC, IBM, CIBC, and now CCUA.
Ms. Collins current role as Vice President of Education & Events is focused on the delivery of educational services and design of conferences for the credit union system’s 28,000 employees and 2500 directors across Canada.
Ms. Collins has served on the Board of the Institute for Performance and Learning for 5 years, and for 2 years held the role of Chair. She currently serves as Chair of the Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) for the Ontario Government and sits on an advisory panel for the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). Ms. Collins was a member of the Steering Committee of the 30% Club Canada, focused on bringing more women onto Canadian Corporate Boards.
She has recently been appointed to the board of the Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada and elected to the board of ABC Life Literacy.
Kelly McGiffin is the CEO of Lakeland Credit Union. He is a former President & CEO of FirstOntario Credit Union and has over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. Rising through the British Columbia credit union system, Kelly began his career as a lender and worked his way up through eight organizations, leading two credit unions as CEO and gaining accreditation in Human Resources and Marketing in the process. Mr. McGiffin recently completed the Directors College curriculum to receive his Chartered Director designation and is a former member of the Board of both Central 1 and CCUA.
Mr. McGiffin led the creation of the Alliance of Large Ontario Credit Unions (ALOCU), a collaborative peer group of the 12 largest credit unions in Ontario. He is past chair of ALOCU, and is CEO Liaison for the Awareness Campaign. He is a former Canadian National Team coach, a Board member for the Coaching Association of Canada, and was named National Aboriginal Coach of the Year in 2005 (Mr.McGiffin is a certified Métis citizen).
Jean-Pierre (JP) Gagnon is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Farm Mutual Re and a strong advocate for the Canadian mutual insurance community.
JP has extensive experience in the property and casualty insurance industry and has held senior leadership roles in actuarial, risk management and underwriting in Canada and France. He was Vice President of Personal Insurance at Travelers Canada from 2010 until joining Farm Mutual Re in 2019.
He was also a founding director on the board of Collectivfide Insurance Group, a broker acquisition company formed by the mutual community.
A number of insurance industry committees have benefitted from JP’s leadership over the years. He was a director at the Canadian National Insurance Crime Services (CANATICS), now part of Equité Association — an industry organization created to help combat insurance fraud; and a member of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) Ontario Committee.
JP has a bachelor’s degree in actuarial sciences from Laval University and is a Fellow of both the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Marc-André Pigeon is Assistant Professor at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. He was previously Assistant Vice President of Financial Sector Policy with the Canadian Credit Union Association. In that capacity, he was responsible for monitoring, researching and advocating on behalf of credit unions.
Dr. Pigeon has previously served as an advisor at the Department of Finance, a lead analyst for the Senate Banking and House of Commons Finance Committees, an economist at the Levy Economics Institute, and a business reporter for Bloomberg Business News. He holds a PhD in Mass Communications from Carleton University, where he is also an occasional lecturer, a Master’s Degree in economics from the University of Ottawa, and a journalism degree from Carleton University.
Renald Ching is an experienced corporate/commercial lawyer who specializes in payments and financial services, as well as information technology and intellectual property transactions.
Mr. Ching is the Vice President, Corporate Affairs & General Counsel at Everlink Payment Services Inc. Everlink is a leading provider of innovative and integrated payments and digital solutions for credit unions, banks and other financial services providers. Everlink is currently the chosen provider of core financial transaction processing services to approximately 98% of credit unions and 55% of Schedule 1 and 2 banks in Canada.
He is also General Counsel at PayTechs of Canada. PayTechs is a not-for-profit association that supports and advocates on behalf of fintech and paytech firms in Canada, with a goal to drive continuous improvements in Canada’s payments ecosystem and achieve the best possible payments experience for Canadians.
As General Counsel, Mr. Ching oversees all legal and compliance matters involving his organizations, and provides legal and business advice on matters relating to regulatory compliance, payment card network rules, intellectual property, privacy, human resources, cyber security, and litigation.
Prior to his roles at Everlink and Paytechs of Canada, he worked as an Associate at BLG LLP, and articled at Osler LLP, where he focused on intellectual property law and litigation.
Renald Ching obtained his LL.B degree from the University of Windsor and was admitted as a Member of the Law Society of Ontario in 2008. He also holds a MSc. degree from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. degree from McGill University.
Jack Wilkinson joined The Co-operators board in April 2007. He serves as chairperson of the Member and Co-operative Relations, Democratic Structure Review* and Resolutions committees. During his tenure on the board, he has been vice-chairperson and a member of the CEO Search, Sustainability, and Executive committees. He was a delegate to The Cooperators representing the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) from May 2002 to April 2007.
Mr. Wilkinson serves as chair of the Nipissing-Sudbury Co-op and is also The Co-operators representative on the Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada board. He served as president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the International Federation of Agriculture Producers and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
Mr. Wilkinson is self-employed as a grain and oilseed producer on his family farm. He is a retired Captain from the Canadian Armed Forces and the recipient of an Honours Doctorate of Laws from the University of Guelph.