Hello, I am Vera Goussaert, Assiniboine Credit Union’s newly elected Chair of the Board of Directors. To many of you I will be a familiar face, since I have served on the board since 2008. I am feeling very honoured to be your chair as I am passionate about co-operatives, credit unions and ACU!
I am a long-time co-operator. In my day job, I am the Executive Director of the Manitoba Cooperative Association—a role that allows me to promote and support the adoption of the co-operative principles across Manitoba. In my time on Assiniboine’s board, I have been very impressed to see how this organization lives and breathes these principles in all that it does. We are proud to be a democratically controlled, member-driven organization supporting our communities!
I recently returned to Winnipeg from completing a one-year master’s program at the London School of Economics and I am struck by how lucky we are in Winnipeg to have strong co-operatives and member-owned financial services available to us. Co-operatives played a large role in building our province and they continue to help keep our local communities connected to the economy. Now more than ever, I believe that credit unions are a vital part of the fabric of our society.
At ACU, we are lucky to have a strong staff and management team, led by our President and CEO Kevin Sitka, that work hard to make sure we stay true to our mission. And, as chair, I am very lucky to have committed colleagues on the board of directors who are working to make sure ACU is the best co-operative financial institution it can be.
I have some big shoes to fill. Margaret Day has been an exceptional chair, helping lead the board through significant change—the hiring of our President and CEO and our partnership discussions with Access Credit Union. The proposed merger with Access Credit Union has presented our organization with a unique opportunity to remain increasingly financially viable and competitive. The boards of Assiniboine and Access Credit Unions know that the proposed merger is good for our financial future, but it is also good for our members, our employees and communities. We are better together, and I am pleased as Board Chair to help lead us through the process of presenting this proposed merger to our members.