Keynote Presentations

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Scott will speak to the theme of the conference: Tools for a New Reality: Agility, Innovation, and Sustainability. He will explore what co-operatives need to do to sustain themselves and thrive in these times of rapid economic, technological and social change.



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Five Big Ideas for Leveraging the Co-operative Advantage in a Rapidly Changing World

We are living in a time where uncertainty has become the new normal. Technology is advancing more quickly than regulators and organizations are able to to adapt, rising inequality in developed countries is leading to greater political and social unrest, and globalization has increased the complexity of the problems we are facing.

In this keynote presentation, Dionne will highlight why co-operatives are positioned to respond to these challenges, and to succeed in rapidly changing and uncertain environments - but only if they recognize their strengths and weaknesses, set their own rules, and play their own game. Dionne will outline five big ideas meant to challenge the way co-operatives think about growth, diversity, governance, conflict, and co-operation.


Panel Presentation


Using Regional Collaboration to Thrive

Dean McKim, CEO of Lake Country Co-op, will present on the great regional collaboration work going on in north central Saskatchewan in the retail co-operatives environment. He will discuss how retail co-operatives have worked together to thrive in a challenging social and economic environment. He will provide you with insights, tools, and practical advice concerning facilitating effective collaboration.

Senator Lucie Moncion will participate in this session. Senator Moncion will present some examples from her career working with L’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario and other examples of regional co-operation and collaboration. She will also share information about how co-operatives and credit unions can increase awareness in the Senate about co-operatives.


Workshop Sessions


governance as a determinant of success or failure

Murray Fulton and Brett Fairbairn will present their insights on why co-operative governance is important in determining whether co-operatives are able to effectively respond to external and internal challenges. Using insights from their recent publications "Governance as a Determinant of Success or Failure" and "When Big Co-ops Fail," Brett and Murray will discuss why governance is important, why it is difficult to get right, and what can be done to achieve better governance.

Murray Fulton is a professor in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan. Brett Fairbairn is a professor in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and a Fellow in Co-operative History and Governance at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.


The Future of Human Resource Management

Tony D’Alessandro, Vice President of Architecture, IT Strategy & Applied Innovation for The Co-operators will present on the main technology and societal trends that are re-shaping the future of work, and how Human Resource departments may need to evolve to deal with the new realities.


Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Facilitated by Cara Bahr, Community Engagement Manager, Affinity Credit Union, this panel will explore what the Calls to Action are, what co-operatives and credit unions can do to respond, and provide examples of what action credit unions, co-operatives, and other organizations are taking. Presenters will include Milton Tootoosis, Director of Livelihood/Economic Independence, Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Gilles Dorval, Director of Aboriginal Relations, City of Saskatoon, Myrna Hewitt, EVP Member Experience, Affinity Credit Union, and Jaris P. Swidrovich, Board Member of Saskatoon Community Clinic.


Cyber-security - Protecting Your Organization, Members, Clients, and Staff

Trevor Spitzig and Shannon Enns, from Affinity Credit Union will present this session.

Cyber-attacks have substantially increased in sophistication over the years. This increases the vulnerability of malicious intrusion, data theft, lost productivity and, potentially service disruption to co-ops and credit unions. Regardless of size, all co-ops and credit unions need to take the appropriate steps to protect their data and connected hardware from intrusion and/or theft. We will take a look at what co-ops and credit unions can do to develop and/or improve their cyber-security posture and risk mitigation plan.


strategic planning: preparing for a Positive Future

Annette Revet, Chief Transformation Officer of Conexus Credit Union, will present this session.

In an era of continued disruption, leading and preparing organizations for a positive future is more challenging than ever. Long range planning seems to conflict with the need for organizations to be ready for constant, and often, disruptive change, and yet, strategic planning, when done effectively, is the compass that will chart an organization's course through these uncertain times.

Using Conexus Credit Union's recent strategic planning refresh as a case study, Annette will present how strategic planning is the compass for organizations to chart a course to a positive future. Annette will share the process for developing an effective strategic plan, the importance and benefit of having a plan, the measures used to ensure its continued effectiveness and how to maintain its continued relevance in a future that will, as a constant, be ever-changing and ambiguous.


Innovative Co-operative development in Western Canada, Part 1

Audra Krueger, Executive Director of Co-operatives First, will showcase examples of co-operative innovations – especially those in rural and remote areas impacting small market economies. She will also present on the Co-operatives First methodology, and provide a hands-on, interactive example of how the organization explores local opportunities with community leaders and economic, community and business development professionals across western Canada.


Innovative Co-operative development in Western Canada, Part 2

We will showcase innovative, new co-operatives in Saskatchewan, portraying the future of co-operative development.

This session will feature: Peter Prebble, from the SES Solar Co-op, Evan Sorestad from Temperance Brewing Co-operative, and Sterling Summach, from Renew Development Co-operative.


The Importance of Connecting with Clients

Cindy Nestman, Human Resource Director, The Co-operators

Sometimes, today’s consumers can be fickle – with a desire to jump ship to join whoever will offer them a better deal. In the race for client acquisition, the battleground shifts to client experience. For a business to thrive, it must focus on the client.

Realizing this, Cindy Nestman, Human Resources Director at The Co-operators, has been instrumental in developing strategies to provide clients a great experience across channels. Client engagement is a top priority for The Co-operators – an organization that understands clients want choice and that every interaction they have with us, direct or indirect, via any touchpoint, impacts their client experience. 

In this session, Cindy will describe how employees play the most significant role in making this experience happen. She will answer several questions, including who owns the client experience?


Vibrant Examples of Adaptation and Innovation

Daniel Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Innovation Credit Union and Trevor Beaton, Chief Innovation and People Officer, Synergy Credit Union

Dan will share how Innovation Credit Union goes further than adapting to change, they embrace disruption and leverage innovation (small “i” innovation) to succeed. Innovation believes that having the business flexibility of a Federal Credit Union is vital to navigate in these highly competitive and disruptive times.

Trevor will explore how Synergy Credit Union has focused on collaboration as a tool to seek opportunities to maintain and enhance Synergy’s competitive advantage. He will share successful experiences, lessons learned and how Synergy’s culture has allowed them to adapt and move quickly in today's every changing environment.