Six Canadian credit union CEOs will head to Cambodia on Friday for a week-long visit to learn how cooperatives are helping to eliminate poverty in developing countries.
The Co-operative Development Foundation’s Journey Out of Poverty tour to Cambodia will take place May 10-18.
The CDF said it funds growth and development programs based on cooperative values to help people and communities around the world work their way out of poverty.
The visit to Cambodia will enable credit union leaders to learn first-hand about poverty alleviation through cooperatives in developing countries, and to experience the important work that the CDF does to make the world a better place, according to the credit union CEOs.
To contribute to the CDF and help them continue to have the resources needed for the program, the participants are encouraged to raise funds and awareness with their peers and colleagues upon their return to Canada.
“One thing I know that will be as true in Cambodia as it is here in Canada is this: credit unions positively transform communities,” said Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union, British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $7.1 billion in assets under administration.
“When your organization is owned by the very same people who bank, borrow and invest with you, it impacts the decisions you make, the experiences and service you deliver and the products you offer,” Skinner said. “Cooperatives are living proof that democracy and social betterment can in fact be part of a thriving business.”
In addition to Skinner, the five other CEOs going to Cambodia are:
- Jody Burk, CEO of the $242 million East Kootenay Community Credit Union in Cranbrook, B.C.
- Kathy Conway, CEO, $1.9 billion Interior Savings Credit Union in Kelowna, B.C.
- Eric Dillon, CEO, $5.28 billion Conexus Credit Union in Regina, Saskatchewan
- Mark Lane, CEO, $2.8 billion Affinity Credit Union in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Kelly McGiffin, CEO, $3.3 billion FirstOntario Credit Union in Hamilton, Ontario
According to Barry Delany, one of CDF's board members and senior vice president of business development at First West CU, it will be a learning experience not just for the cooperatives in Cambodia, but also for the Canadian CEOs.
“Together, we'll all get to experience something new and different and see first-hand how teaching people to build a cooperative is an enormous step in helping to alleviate poverty,” Delany said.