Message to the sectors
Nov 6, 2015
I would like to share more about the close ties that Desjardins has with the Canadian and International cooperative movement, the program I put forward for the Alliance, with specific initiatives for the sectors, and additional information about myself.
Desjardins and the Cooperative Movement
Desjardins Group (www.desjardins.com) has a long tradition of support and involvement toward the cooperative movement at the national and international levels. It is a long‐standing member of numerous cooperative networks such as CQCM, CMC, and sectoral networks such as the EACB, CIBP, Proxfin and ICMIF1. I am also very pleased to report that I have the full support of these organizations for my candidacy.
In 2012, under my leadership, along with the Alliance president Pauline Green, Desjardins decided to undertake the organization of the first International Summit of Cooperatives (Summit). This was a very strong illustration of my commitment to the cooperative movement. I consider the financial and human resources dedicated by Desjardins as a high impact investment on the movement in terms of leadership and business networking opportunities. Additional information can be found on the Summit website. The results speak for themselves and this is why Desjardins agreed to organize a 3rd edition of the Summit in October 2016.
My Program for the Alliance and Sectors
Over the last month, I have actively sought to meet and discuss my program with many cooperative leaders around the world. So far, Alliance members offered very positive feedback about the three priorities that I am proposing. Many have mentioned that they like that my priorities are in line with the Blueprint for a Co‐operative Decade. They also like the fact that they are targeted, concrete and provide a clear strategic direction, which would be executed according to an action plan that we would develop together after the election.
Member engagement: build on the strength of local cooperatives, increase member participation, and take advantage of new technologies to better connect.
Leadership and commitment: continue and enhance the international lobbying and sustainable development efforts, and exert influence to increase cooperative education and prepare future leaders.
Growth and solidity: continue to promote the cooperative identity, develop new cooperative business sectors, facilitate cooperative partnerships and stimulate cooperative entrepreneurship.
More specifically, I would like to share more about some of my proposals for the Sectors:
A better representation of the sectors on the Alliance’s board of directors: If I am elected as president, one of my first actions would be to hold a meeting with all of you to get your perspectives on the Alliance’s governance strengths and areas for improvement and to agree together on the best representation formula for sectors.
Improved communications processes: I strongly believe there is a need to establish a more cohesive interaction process between the Alliance and its members, regions and sectors. During each board meeting, more time would be allowed for the sectors to present updates of their strategies and action plans, and to identify synergies that could be leveraged across the sectors as well as the regions.
Increase the Alliance’s revenues and the budget dedicated to the sectors: The Alliance needs to increase its revenues by increasing membership and getting financial support from national and international organizations. This way, more financial resources would be available and allocated to the sectors. In Quebec, we were able to secure a $20 million grant from the Quebec government. Why wouldn’t we be able to the same at the international level?
Greater emphasis on the sectors at the next International Summit of Cooperatives: The program we are developing for the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives has a greater focus on cooperative sectors. For example, we are organizing half‐day thematic round tables on specific topics.
These are not empty promises; my feuille de route demonstrates that I am a person of action focused on results. I strongly believe in the power of the sectors and I am fully committed to ensure that they will be engaged to their full potential and recognized at the highest level of the Alliance.
My Profile and Experience
It is important to underline that I have the full support of Desjardins Group, which means that I will have the necessary financial and human resources to fulfil my mandate as president of the Alliance. As the chair of board of Desjardins Group as well as of the CQCM (for 3 years, 2012 to 2015), and as a board member of CMC (2 years, 2013 to 2015), I have developed a solid experience in governance and in multisector organizations. At the CQCM, we were able to secure a $20 million grant for the Quebec government based on a strategic plan crafted by all members. In return, the CQCM was able to commit to the creation of 20,000 jobs over 5 years.
Secondly, I have a strong and broad international experience and an extensive cooperative network, with Desjardins International Development, our international development arm. We are active in more than 30 countries. I have also been a committed board member of the Alliance, the EACB and the CIBP for many years. I am delighted to report that for the first time in the history, we have been able to have a cooperative representative nominated on the IFRS Advisory Council.
Thirdly, both at Desjardins and the Canadian apex, we developed a specific service offering as well as financing and capital tools tailored to cooperatives from all sectors. We support close to 3000 cooperatives with $3.5 billion in financing. I also regularly meet with cooperative leaders from various sectors and of different sizes which allows me to understand their specific reality and needs.
I have a strong financial background, with deeply rooted cooperative values. I am a rigorous person and I am very focused on action and results. Desjardins Group’s results speak for themselves. Finally, on numerous occasions, I was asked to represent Canada and the cooperative movement on international forums like the B7 in Germany and the B20 coming soon in Turkey.
During 2015, I had the stimulating opportunity to visit many countries, including the United States, Argentina, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Japan and India, to name a few. I was also involved with sectoral cooperative networks, namely Proxfin, EACB and ICMIF. It has been a great privilege to meet such great cooperative leaders around the world.
I hope to have the honour to serve the Alliance and to work with all of you.
Monique F. Leroux
1CQCM: Conseil Québébois de la Coopération et de la Mutualiaté (Canadian regional apex). CMC: Co‐operatives and Mutuals Canada (Canadian apex). EACB: European Association of Cooperative Banks. CIBP: Confédération Internationale des Banques Populaires. Proxfin: international network of thirty community finance institutions and Desjardins International Development. ICMIF: International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation.