In the fall of 2014, the Saskatchewan Young Leaders Committee hosted its third conference specifically for young leaders across the province of Saskatchewan. Taking place in Saskatoon, CU Forward was dedicated to helping young leaders move their ideas and careers forward in the credit union system. 


On September 24-25, 2014, Saskatchewan Young Leaders (SYL) hosted its bi-annual conference at Saskatoon’s Hilton Garden Inn where 130 future leaders of the credit union system participated. The weather was fantastic, the company was great and the learnings were bar none. Let us explain!

Wednesday evening kicked off with Jean-Franҫois (JF) Carrey, Canada’s youngest man to successfully climb the peak of Mt. Everest. After 6 years of training and over $100K invested, his dream became his reality. His message spoke of perseverance and reminded us to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Entertainment for the evening was Saskatoon Soaps, an interactive improv show that allowed us to have a great laugh with our fellow young leaders. This was followed by some great networking.

Now onto our big day… Erin Robinson from VanCity Credit Union opened the morning with a discussion on Climbing the Corporate “Lattice”. She reminded us that our careers will not move straight up, but may move laterally, backwards and in unexpected directions. We learned about her success and how she has strategically looked for gaps in her experience and actively sought ways to close them. Congratulations to Erin for her dedication to the Credit Union System and for her successful career thus far.

“Fearless Conversations” was the topic of Rachelle Brockman’s session at the conference. Many of our SYL followers may recall her webinar “Leadership Communications” earlier this year. Her session at the conference reminded us of the importance of communicating and pushing past the “fear” that we feel when we need to have difficult conversations with those we spend our time with. Great strategies and learnings, some real takeaways for sure.

Our panel in the afternoon was full of amazing leadership within the credit union system and was brilliantly facilitated by Ian McArthur, Manager, Business Advisory & Core Services at SaskCentral. Innovation Credit Union’s CEO Dan Johnson spoke on Collaboration in the Credit Union System; Laurie Smith, Senior Human Capital Consultant with SaskCentral, led us through Successful Careers from an HR perspective and Rich Harries, VP of Branch Operations with Access Credit Union in Manitoba, spoke about Personal Development, Goal Setting and Taking Action. The session allowed groups, arranged in a branch like structure, to have meaningful discussions based on the information presented. There was a lot of laughter, words of wisdom and inspiring conversation around the room.

Last and certainly not least “Skidrow CEO” Joe Roberts, inspired us with a message of overcoming adversity, addiction and homelessness to being successful in life and in a career. He strongly believes there is more to people than is seen or understood and with his organization “The Push for Change” he is hoping to “inspire as many people as possible to create a positive impact on @RISK and homeless youth in Canada”. The young leaders in the room were graced with an emotional, impactful and inspiring message. Please check out more about Joe and his great cause at

A huge thank you to our many sponsors, without you this day would not have been possible. Please visit our conference page for a full listing.

We can’t wait until the next conference. See you there!


We had two days of top-notch speakers

We presented an agenda filled with invigorating speakers and topics to challenge your point of view.

Wednesday evening

Opening keynote

Jean-Francois Carrey

Ever since Jean-François Carrey was a young boy he wanted to climb Mount Everest. On May 18th, 2006, not only did he fulfill his dream, but he also became the youngest Canadian to have climbed to the top of the world.


Saskatoon Soaps

The Sasktoon Soaps Improv Comedy has been thrilling Western Canadian audiences for nearly 30 years. They have built a solid reputation providing professional, hilarious performances guaranteed to impress.

Thursday morning

Climbing the Corporate Lattice – How to Approach your Career in the Changing World of Work

Erin Robinson

In her nine years with Vancity, Erin Robinson has had four different roles, run three award winning programs, worked with some of the foremost thinkers on credit unions, cooperatives and microfinance, and traveled across the country and around the world. A recipient of several awards, including Credit Union Central’s Young Leader award in 2010, she is Past-Chair of the National Young Leader Committee and recently completed her Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change at UBC.

Fearless conversations

Rachelle Brockman

Delivered by award-winning educator Rachelle Brockman. She is an expert in strategic planning, team building, communications, goal-setting, conflict resolution, stress management, leadership and creative thinking.

Thursday afternoon

Have questions for leaders of our credit union system but have never had the opportunity to ask? Now is your chance, we will be having three distinguished leaders with varying perspectives and experiences sit on our first-ever leadership panel. They will provide insight and answer questions on topics relating to the importance of collaboration within the credit union system as well as how young leaders can set themselves up for success in their current and future careers in the credit union system.

Collaboration in the credit union system

Daniel Johnson

Dan is the CEO of Innovation Credit Union and has worked in the credit union system for almost 20 years. Other current responsibilities include: Apex Investment Fund board member; Credit Union Electronic Account Management Services board member; Celero Solutions governance committee member; and chair of the Canadian Credit Union Executives Society. Daniel believes in community volunteerism, which is a reflection of his personal values and priorities.

The HR perspective: how can young leaders set themselves up for success?

Laurie Smith

In her role as Senior Human Capital Consultant with SaskCentral, Laurie works to provides credit unions with the most up-to-date human resources information and approaches that will lead to business improvements. She works to find solutions including performance management, strategic workforce planning, cultural assessments and employee relations support. Laurie is accredited as a Certified Human Resource Professional and Human Capital Strategist. Laurie holds several professional and relevant HR memberships and numerous certifications.

Personal development: A relatable story of a successful leader

Rich Harries

Rich is the Vice President of Branch Operations with Access Credit Union in Southern Manitoba and has 12 years experience within the credit union system. Rich is a past president with CUMA Saskatchewan, a mentor with Credit Union Central of Canada’s National Credit Union Mentorship Program and a member of the National Young Leaders Committee. Rich is a previous winner of Credit Union Central of Canada’s National Young Leader Award.

Closing keynote

Joe Roberts

Meet the “Skid Row CEO.” Undefeated by addiction, homelessness and poverty, Joe learned to take responsibility for the countless changes in his life. Based on his real-life experiences and the remarkable achievements he has made, worldwide organizations now seek his insight and proven strategies.

Our sponsors

Diamond sponsor

Conexus Credit Union, Saskatchewan’s largest credit union offers a complete range of financial solutions. Conexus provides a world class experience for our members, with personalized service, expert professional advice, strong financial performance and innovative products and services.

Conexus has deep roots in our communities. Our shared values and social responsibility inspire members and communities to achieve their goals. Our community investment program demonstrates our commitment to the communities we serve. In 2013, the total value of investment is $2.10 million, with more than 570 community projects and events benefitting from this support. 

Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation is the primary regulator and deposit guarantor for Saskatchewan credit unions. Its role is to instill confidence in credit unions by guaranteeing deposits and promoting responsible governance, strength and stability.

The Corporation is given its authority through provincial legislation, The Credit Union Act, 1998, for the main purpose of guaranteeing the full repayment of deposits held in Saskatchewan credit unions. There is no limit to the size of deposits covered by the guarantee. All deposits held in Saskatchewan credit unions are fully guaranteed. The Corporation was the first deposit guarantor in Canada and has successfully guaranteed deposits since it was established in 1953.

CUMA is for current and emerging credit union leaders who are career minded and passionate about credit unions. The association strengthens the credit union system by organizing forums for networking that result in the sharing of experiences and the fostering of personal development. CUMA is committed to providing opportunities for the building of strong and sustainable relationships.

Platinum sponsors

Affinity Credit Union is a different kind of financial institution.A member-owned and democratically-operated co-operative, Affinity is firmly rooted in community, and committed to serving the needs of our members across Saskatchewan. Affinity members are a part of the largest branch network in the province and have access to a complete range of accounts and services including loans, mortgages, insurance and investments to help through all stages of life. Members also enjoy the convenience of banking on the go with our Affinity Mobile app, telephone banking, online banking or by contacting one of our knowledgeable TeleService representatives.

Founded on partnership and thriving on co-operation, Concentra exists to work with credit unions, centrals and strategic partners to enhance the success of the credit union system and its members by delivering a full suite of competitive, high-quality financial and trust services.

Cornerstone Credit Union is the fifth largest credit union in Saskatchewan, with over $1 billion in total assets.  Cornerstone Credit Union employs over 200 people, serves approximately 25,000 members and operates branches in 13 communities within our region. Our members always come first. This member-first philosophy is at the core of all we do. Whether it’s in our branches, on our website, at community events or from your mobile phones, whatever you need, we’ll meet you there.

Diamond North Credit Union is a member owned institution that delivers a superior service experience. We focus on developing member relationships and delivering on our service promises. Our financial solutions are accessible anywhere our members call home.

Innovation Credit Union is a co-operative that strives to be the most responsive and innovative financial services organization. We look to continuously improve our internal operations and enhance the member experience you have with us each day. We explore new methods of serving you better through the adoption of technology, listening to how and when you would like to conduct your business. Our mission is to provide world class financial services wherever you are and whenever you need us. Our staff members are actively engaged with our membership and each other, providing a culture of collaboration.

At kmpLaw, we believe our clients’ needs are of the utmost importance. Our goal is to serve our clients by providing them with well trained and experienced legal specialists, superior secretarial services, modern equipment, research and library facilities. Our clients’ problems are given our continuing personal attention with the goal of attaining the maximum results possible in the most reasonable amount of time at the most reasonable cost. We believe we can provide our clients with the level of service required for their continuing satisfaction.

SaskCentral is owned by Saskatchewan’s 52 credit unions. We are an innovative, socially responsible organization committed to nurturing a business environment where credit unions can thrive. Through strategic leadership, investment management and a wide range of products and services, SaskCentral helps Saskatchewan credit unions meet their own targets for success. SaskCentral also functions as a trade association on behalf of the province’s credit unions and acts as the voice of credit unions in matters of common interest.

Synergy Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution serving more than 28,000 members across north-western Saskatchewan. Synergy Credit Union is the 3rd largest credit unions in the province of Saskatchewan and is one of the leading credit unions in Canada, with more than $1 billion in assets. Synergy Credit Union provides core banking services through the traditional branch network, the Canada-wide AccuLink ATM network, online banking, automated telephone banking, mobile web banking, the banking app, as well as through the Member Contact Centre and by SMS texting. Synergy Credit Union also offers advisory services and financial planning through our wealth management team, as well as through our Business Banking Centre. Specialists may be located in select branches or available to meet in a location of the member’s choice, by request.

Gold sponsors

The Biggar & District Credit Union was founded in 1949 and serves the communities of Biggar and Perdue, and surrounding area through two branches. We provide a full range of financial services including: financial, investment, commercial, agricultural, personal, loans, mortgages, and insurance products.  We provide insurance services in Biggar and Landis areas through our subsidiary agencies: Biggar Insurance Services and Landis Insurance Services.  We strive to provide innovative, high-quality financial products and services designed to meet the needs of our members and community.

Calidon Financial Services Inc. is proud to partner with Saskatchewan Credit Unions in funding portfolios of small to mid ticket agricultural commercial leases. In the last 6 years, over $300 million have been securitized with Saskatchewan Credit Unions with profits of over $38 million staying in the province. Saskatchewan Credit Unions are also utilizing Calidon equipment leasing as their partner in supplying leases to their members.

Celero is a leading provider of IT solutions to financial institutions across Canada and is consistently ranked among the world’s top financial technology companies on the annual FinTech 100 list. A full-service IT shop, Celero provides complete banking solutions, IT planning, systems integration, hosting, support, maintenance and professional services to meet the unique needs of financial institutions of all sizes and delivers world-class reliability through our Canadian-based data centres, employees and operations.

For the past 40 years CRI Canada has built mutually beneficial partnerships in the Canadian credit union marketplace, based on the strength of our technology and credit insurance solutions.  We are committed to developing and delivering powerful, user-friendly lending and member service software solutions as well as industry-leading credit insurance products that exceed credit union’s expectations.  With a market presence in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, our CRI Canada team makes it a priority to know your business in order to provide the exceptional customer service you deserve.

From humble beginnings in 1959 as a sideline enterprise in a country elevator, Crossroads Credit Union has become the financial provider of choice for more than 8,000 members in five communities in east-central Saskatchewan. Our valued members choose from an array of quality financial services delivered with the highest standard of excellence and professionalism. We are proud of our commitment to the democratic principles upon which we were built. And, as we serve our communities, we also invest in their success through donations and sponsorships and through the thousands of hours our staff volunteers for causes that matter to our board, management and employees.

CUETS Financial, a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank, is committed to enhancing the competitive capabilities of its credit union partners. More than a credit card issuer, we offer an array of payment products, rewards programs, sales and marketing tools, and an integrated service delivery platform.  We help connect your members to their financial goals and keep your business growing.

The CUMIS Group Limited (CUMIS) creates financial security for Canadians and promotes the growth and success of credit unions and caisses populaires in Canada. By partnering with CUMIS, credit unions can offer their members insurance and insurance-based wealth management solutions. CUMIS is owned by Co-operators Life Insurance Company and Central 1 Credit Union. For more information visit

CUPS Payment Services (CUPS) is a joint venture between Alberta and Saskatchewan Credit Union Centrals that provides credit unions, financial institutions and corporate clients with a full suite of payment processing services. We offer a range of paper and electronic payment processing solutions that include: cheque and paper remittance processing, automated funds transfers (AFT), lead bank processing, wire transfers, electronic bill payments, statement processing and integrated document management solutions.

Currency is a leading integrated marketing agency for credit unions. We offer two programs to help credit unions find their voice: Young & Free for attracting Gen Y and Money Mom for connecting with moms and families. We also offer It’s a Money Thing, amazing financial education content.

Offering legal counsel is about solving your problems and helping you achieve your objectives quickly and efficiently. At Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller (OWZW), we practice smart, results-oriented law in a wide range of practice areas. We focus on your objectives and providing efficient solutions rather than ineffective theories. Most importantly, our team approach helps us develop a relationship with each client, giving you the confidence to tackle any and all legal issues and challenges.

Hudson Bay Credit Union provides financial services to approximately 2540 member-owners. We provide efficient competitive service that offers a full line of products to meet our members needs today and in the future. We are a co-operative, inclusive organization committed to the viability of our community through active participation and leadership. Our vision is to be the leading provider of financial services in the town of Hudson Bay and surrounding areas and anywhere our members are located.

Macklin Credit Union was chartered in 1940 and has since served Macklin and the surrounding area. We provide a wide range of financial services and are constantly improving our products to better serve our members.  At Macklin Credit Union we are driven by our sense of community and involvement and strive to keep the prosperity of our members at the forefront of our mind. Our mission is to keep our membership and community thriving through service excellence.

Offering legal counsel is about solving your problems and helping you achieve your objectives quickly and efficiently. At Olive Waller Zinkhan & Waller (OWZW), we practice smart, results-oriented law in a wide range of practice areas. We focus on your objectives and providing efficient solutions rather than ineffective theories. Most importantly, our team approach helps us develop a relationship with each client, giving you the confidence to tackle any and all legal issues and challenges.

Prairie Centre Credit Union serves over 12,000 members in 11 branches throughout West Central Saskatchewan.  Our assets have grown to over $500 Million since our formation in 1993.  Members can access a full range of services throughout PCCU that include full service brokerage, insurance, financial planning, and credit services. 

Radius Credit Union is a full service financial institution serving several communities in Southern Saskatchewan. We have branches in Avonlea, Ceylon, Ogema, Pangman and Radville and have been serving the area for over 60 years. At Radius Credit Union we are continually working to update our knowledge, to ensure you, our members, receive the best possible service and most up to date products. In today’s ever changing world we continue to grow and change as necessary while keeping our rural, community based service a top priority!

We’re Saskatchewan’s leading full-service communications provider. You come to us when you need a new phone, lightning fast Internet, or TV. You come to us when your business needs communication solutions, to reach more customers and help your employees be more efficient. But that’s not the whole story.

For us, communication is about community. It’s about careers that matter. People who make a difference. It’s about being a part of something bigger. It’s about us connecting with you—and then connecting you with your world. Get to know us and you’ll see.

SaskWorks Venture Fund provides a unique opportunity for Saskatchewan residents to keep their investment dollars at home. Established in 2001 as a Labour-Sponsored Venture Capital Corporation (LSVCC), SaskWorks invests exclusively in small- to mid-sized, private Saskatchewan businesses and has grown to have over $320 million in assets under management. In Saskatchewan, investors in LSVCCs are eligible to receive a 15% federal tax credit and a 20% provincial tax credit on investments of up to $5,000 annually. The fund currently has over 27,500 shareholders.