VANCOUVER – Three leaders in the credit union system will be honoured with Distinguished Service Awards during the Credit Union Foundation of BC (CUFBC) Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 11. The recipients are:
- Anita Braha: Vancity Savings Credit Union board director, Stabilization Central Credit Union board director
- Gene Creelman: SVP Member & Community Engagement, Interior Savings Credit Union (now retired)
- Gus Hartl: President, Gulf & Fraser Credit Union (now retired)
The BC Distinguished Service Awards, jointly presented by the CUFBC and Central 1, are awarded to individuals in recognition of outstanding service in the BC credit union system and the co-operative movement.
Award recipients have extensive background and practical experience in the development and operation of credit unions, demonstrated leadership in the preservation and extension of the philosophy of “people helping people”, awareness of the role of credit unions as co-operatively developed socioeconomic institutions and the ability and willingness to speak forthrightly on credit union challenges and opportunities.
A leader in strategic and governance issues, Anita Braha has served on the Vancity Credit Union board for four terms, acting in the role of Chair for two of those terms. She has also sat as Vice-Chair on the board of Stabilization Central Credit Union, and as Vice Chair on the board of Central 1 Credit Union. While serving as Director in Residence (now Lead Instructor) for the board Chair’s course at the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Anita presented on the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an international organization made up of financial institutions around the world committed to putting finance at the service of people and the planet. Recently, she has been asked to speak at the National ICD Conference in Montreal on ESG issues.
As a lawyer committed to social and economic justice, Anita worked with clients to develop respectful working and learning environments. She conducted test case litigation to advance the public interest on human rights issues, and held appointments to the BC Employment Standards Commission, the Galiano Parks and Recreation Commission and the City of Vancouver Women’s Task Force. Anita was the consulting editor for the Annotated British Columbia Human Rights Code for Canada Law Book, the National Coordinator of the National Association of Women and the Law, and the co-chair of the human rights section of the BC Canadian Bar Association. Anita sat on the board of the BC Industrial Relations Association and is currently the President of the Galiano Loan Fund Society.
Gene Creelman’s career spanned 41 years in both the Saskatchewan and BC credit union systems. Serving in various senior marketing, communications and governance roles, his most recent time was spent as the SVP Member & Community Engagement at Interior Savings. Prior to his retirement, Gene served on the board of the Credit Union Foundation of BC, as well as on provincial and national Marketing committees through which many marketing awards were received.
Gene feels honoured to have been a part of a business philosophy that focusses on helping people flourish, and his commitment and insight into the co-operative movement led to many successes during his long career. During a merger between Envision and Valley First, Gene led the development of a multi-branded model and was instrumental in the name First West. He led the national negotiations for credit unions in the transition from what was CUETs, to MBNA and then TD to ensuring pricing, functionality, service and choice were retained and enhanced. He also led an innovative bursary program, ensuring post-secondary students in the province would be supported with 10 million dollars in funding from 2014-2024.
Gene has been a long-time supporter of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) and worked overseas in Ghana as part of the Canadian mentoring team. After his recent retirement he returned to Ghana on assignment with the CDF working to strengthen credit unions there.
Gus Hartl’s career in financial services spanned over 40 years but he found his home when he joined the credit union system in 1985. He especially enjoyed his time as the CEO of Aldergrove Credit Union (ACU) for the last 15 years of his career before he assisted ACU in a successful merger with Gulf & Fraser Credit Union in 2021, where he assumed the role of President until his retirement in 2022. During his time in the credit union system, Gus was an advocate for the cooperative financial services model and represented his community, his credit union and the industry on many committees and boards. Gus will tell you that some of his most rewarding work was during his time on the Credit Union Foundation of BC Board, where he had the privilege to act as President and work with many other wonderful system people. Gus also enjoyed his time on the Stabilization Central Credit Union Board and took pride in helping the credit union system stay strong.
Now enjoying retirement, Gus intends to improve his golf game, travel, spend time with his family and grandkids, and continue to be an active member of his community.
The Credit Union Foundation of B.C. would like to offer both congratulations and thanks to these award recipients who have helped to shape BC’s credit union system through their passion and service.
The 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Credit Union Foundation of BC will take place virtually on Thursday, May 11 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm via Microsoft Teams. Join us as we recap a successful year and celebrate the recipients of the BC Credit Union Distinguished Service Awards.
If you would like to attend the CUFBC AGM please fill out the registration form. Once submitted, you’ll be added to the Teams meeting invite.
About the Credit Union Foundation of BC
Founded in 1958, The Credit Union Foundation of British Columbia is the province-wide philanthropic organization of the credit union system founded and funded by British Columbia credit union members. The foundation’s primary purpose is to provide education awards to BC resident post-secondary students in need of financial assistance for academic, technological or vocational training at accredited schools within the province. The foundation also provides international support for co-operative programs and oversees the Distinguished Service Awards given to those industry leaders who have furthered the credit union movement in BC.
For more information please contact:
Nicole Eich, Program Manager
Credit Union Foundation of BC