2021 Conference Sessions

The Directors' Forum is excited to share some highlights of this year's conference sessions and speaker lineup. 

37th Annual Directors' Forum: The Board's Role in Societal Transformation


5:00 - 7:00pm: Welcome Cocktail Reception


8:00 - 9:00am: Annual General Meeting

Join the DFC Board at this year's AGM to learn about what they've been up to over the past year, and what they are planning for the future. Members will participate in the democratic process of the co-operative by voting in the election, as well as celebrate those Directors who are recieving a Long-Term Service Award! 

9:00 - 9:30am: National Update with CCUA

  • Martha Durdin, President & CEO, Canadian Credit Union Association

Martha will share a high level update of the national credit union landscape, as well as insight into how social transformation begins at the board table.

9:45 - 11:00am: Co-operative Values as a Competitive Advantage for Credit Unions

The world of business today is full of buzz words and jargon about social responsibility and business sustainability. But when it comes to credit unions, it isn’t jargon or lip service, it is a solid foundation of principled business that is truly rooted in the community. It is the competitive advantage credit unions have over other financial institutions. This session will explore and celebrate the competitive advantage of holding business values and principles that align with the intrinsic values of Canadians.

11:15am - 12:15pm: The Canadian Care Crisis and Deficit:  Role for Credit Unions?  

Important demographic trends in Canada in the care economy and emergent needs for childcare are impacting women’s equity and capacity.  Considering this changing environment, we will explore at least four possible roles credit unions can play in supporting this societal transition, setting up a dialogue about how credit union boards can create progressive actions.

1:15 - 2:30pm: Co-operative Collaborations Transforming Communities (Moderated panel session)

  • Sarasvati Maharajh, Business Relationship Manager, Canadian Credit Union Association (MODERATOR)
  • Cory Munden, CEO, Leading Edge Credit Union 
  • Ken Chan, Board Director, Altera Savings and Alterna Bank
  • Stéphane TrottierChair, Board of Directors - Desjardins Ontario Credit Union 
  • Josephine Grey, Founding Director/Board, St. James Town Community Co-operative 

As we move out of the pandemic and into rebuilding the economy, “Co-operation among Co-operatives” will become a driving force to effect change for the better. This session will explore real-life examples of Principle Six in action, where credit unions are partnering with co-operatives to address key challenges in society including: affordable housing, the provision of daycare services, and access to food. The benefits to both credit unions and co-operatives will be highlighted, as well as why these collaborations are so important for creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

3:00 - 4:15pm: Climate Related Financial Risks & Opportunities for Credit Unions (Moderated panel session)

  • Anthony Piscitelli, Director, Your Neighbourhood Credit Union and Directors' Forum Co-operative Board Chair (MODERATOR)
  • Carol Hansell, Senior Partner, Hansell LLP & Climate Governance Expert with the Canadian Climate Law Initiative 
  • Ben Janzen, Director of Value Integration, Kindred Credit Union 
  • Christie Stephenson, Executive Director of the Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics and Director, VanCity Credit Union 

Over the next thirty years, global warming will create negative impacts on the environment, Canada's economy, and our own health. Adapting to climate change presents a challenge for organizations and an opportunity. Credit unions, at a minimum, must be prepared to mitigate risks associated with climate change but we can go much further. Value-driven organizations should play a role in helping society transition to a carbon-free economy. This session will explore how boards of directors can monitor and mitigate the risks of global warming while also providing authentic leadership to address climate change.

4:30 - 5:30pm: Board Chairs Session: Onboarding New Directors & Dealing with Difficult Directors (Breakout session*)

  • Tim Foster, Director, Northern Credit Union and Directors' Forum Co-operative Board Director
  • Leo Racette, Director, Sudbury Credit Union and Directors' Forum Co-operative Board Director & Secretary

Based on feedback from our last Chair’s Session in 2019, this year’s session will cover two of the most asked for topics: “Onboarding New Directors” and “Managing Difficult Directors”. Chairs and Vice-Chairs are asked to attend and to be prepared to share their experiences - good and bad - and any policies that they can share on these two challenging topics.

*This session is offered to Board Chairs and Vice-Chairs only.


8:30 - 11:45am: Simulating Hindsight, Oversight and Foresight (1/2-Day CUDA® CE credit session*)

  • Anthony Piscitelli, Director, Your Neighbourhood Credit Union and Directors' Forum Co-operative Board Chair
  • Tanya Gracie, Director of Strategy, Central 1 and Directors' Forum Co-operative Board Vice-Chair

This half-day simulation-based workshop is designed to have participants role-play a board meeting for an organization facing a series of challenges. Successfully navigating the simulation will require board members to balance their hindsight, oversight, and foresight roles. Following the role-playing exercise, a facilitated debriefing will prepare participants to apply what they learned to their own credit unions.

*Participants of this session will receive a 1/2 CE credit from CUDA® and must be present and signed in to the course to receive the credit.

11:50AM - 12:35pm: Conference Highlights with Alisdair Smith, ft. Kerr Smith

  • Alisdair Smith, DARE Communications & Cusource®
  • Kerr Smith, Illustrator/Graphic Recorder

Delegates will be delighted that Alisdair is back to perform his roundup of the key highlights of the conference sessions, which always include some inspirational messages and potential discussions to take back to your boards. This year, Alisdair is joined by Kerr Smith (no relation!) who will amaze you with his artistic talent as he develops a graphic story board live, while Alisdair is presenting. Attendees will receive an electronic copy of the final story board shortly after the conference.