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    • #7266
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      The results of our Module 1 survey, “What do you think governance looks like?”, have now been tabulated, and the results are interesting!

      When asked which governance role should have the most authority in an organization, 56.4% said the board of directors while 35.9% said the owners.

      When asked which role has the most authority in their own organization, 61.5% said the board of directors, 17.9% said owners, and 15.4% said management.

      What asked to choose a model that best represents governance in their organization, 46.2% chose a top-down hierarchy, 23.1% chose a circular model, 10.3% chose a bottom-up model, and 12.8% chose a highly complex model.

      Now, in our model for how governance should work, owners are the highest authority, but most people perceive the board as having the most authority.

      Does our model not apply in practice? Are owners giving too much authority to the board? Should owners play a bigger role in co-ops? What do you think?

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    • #7375
      Janet TaylorJanet Taylor
      Participant

      It is our organizational belief that Owners should play a larger role in our co-op/credit union that allows us to succeed with our multi-level governance model. Our Owners elect a smaller group of representatives who we regularly interact with, keep informed and engaged. These individuals take on the responsibility of holding the board and management more accountable because of their additional knowledge and passion. Our Owner Representatives help our board and management stay focused on our Owners wants and needs.

      I think it gets harder to engage with Owners directly as the co-op grows in size which might account for some of us saying that the board or management have the most authority.

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    • #7399
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      This is interesting, Janet. How many of these middle-tier elected reps are there compared to members of the board? How do you find this mechanism works for you?

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    • #7460
      Kathy LittleKathy Little
      Participant

      I would also be interested in hearing if any other co-ops use member groups to stay connected. As retails grow so does our geographical area and it becomes more difficult to stay connected with members. This may also be a source for board recruitment?

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    • #7514
      Janet TaylorJanet Taylor
      Participant

      We are in year 2 of a 3 year transition that will see us reduce the current number of Owner Representatives, we will have 1 Owner Representative for every 1,000 Owners in a governance region. There will remain 103 (or slightly higher if our ownership numbers increase) Owner Representatives by the start of 2022. That compares to 11 directors. Having an additional 103 sets of eyes and ears in our communities and interacting with the board and management helps keep us better informed.

      This model is resource intensive and the value we derive is worth the investment. We underwent a lengthy and thorough review of our model which led to the transition noted above. We are seeing positive changes in the way our Owner Representatives interact within their Regional Council groups and finding them more engaged in their role.

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“I thoroughly enjoyed the Good Governance Matters course offered by Co-operatives First. The course provided a solid background on governance generally and specific examples of good governance practices in co-operatives. It is uncommon to find governance training specific to co-operatives so this was refreshing.”

Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

“The Good Governance Matters Course was a valuable course. I shared it with the [Arctic Co-operatives Limited] Senior Leadership Team. If it ever comes up again, I highly recommend others to take it.”

Mary Nirlungayuk (Corporate Secretary and Vice-President, Corporate Services)

Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The online course, Good Governance Matters was very informative, easy to navigate and discussed issues relevant to our needs as a Board of Directors. This course is a great tool for boards to build their knowledge to become strong, strategic boards.”

Lori Sanders (President)

Sherwood Co-op

“This course has greatly increased my understanding of what good governance could/should look like and how each part (boards, management, members) plays a vital role in the co-operative’s success.”

2017 PARTICIPANT

“This course was highly enjoyable, and relevant to working in not only the co-op space, but with any group that needs to make decisions.”

2017 PARTICIPANT