Board of Directors Election
February 20, 2020

Members, your voting package is in the mail with your equity cheque! You have a say in the 2020 Red River Co-op Board of Directors Election! This year there are 2 easy ways to vote, either by mail in ballot or online (NEW). Voting runs from February 20th / 2020 until April 13 / 2020.

Learn more about the candidates


Gary Timlick

Vote for me as a Red River Co-op Director because my skill set and work experience will allow me to provide meaningful impact to the overall good corporate governance of Red River Co-op and help deliver services of Red River Co-op for the betterment of our members, employees and communities. With over 20 years of my career spent working in co-op/mutual organizations holding senior management position I have a deep understanding of the benefit members receive from community owned companies.

Biographical Resume: (125 Words)
In 2019, I retired from Wawanesa Mutual Insurance after 11 years as Senior VP & CFO. I have almost 40 years of financial and management experience in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, public accounting and financial services industries gain through working with numerous Manitoba companies.
I hold a hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba and achieved my CPA, CA designation in 1985. I also hold the ICD.D designation form the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada. In 2014, awarded CPA Manitoba Fellowship Honour.
Currently Chair the Investment Committee of the Winnipeg Civic Employees' Benefit Plan. I am member of the CPA Canada Professional Liability Committee and have been a Board Member of numerous for profit and non-profit organizations in Winnipeg and nationally.

Tell the members what interests you most about serving on Red River's Co-op's Board of Directors
By serving on the Board I would have an opportunity to give back to my community. Having worked in the co-op/mutual industry for over half of my career I have a deep understanding of how important the role of the Board is in insuring the continued longevity of Red River Co-op.

What would you suggest your unique contribution to be?
My unique contribution to the Red River Co-op Board would be my skill set as a experienced financial executive with leadership experience and business acumen. For much of my career I have held senior leadership positions both in the companies where I worked and on the Boards that I was a member of.

Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co-op
My understanding of the role of the Board of Director in a business like Red River Co-op is to firstly represent the interest of the members and to ensure that there is superior corporate governance. The role of Board of Directors can be summarized as nose in fingers out since it is not the Board Directors' responsibility to oversee day-to-date activities of the organization. This is the role of management.

What experience have you had working with co-operative organizations? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
I have spent 20 years of my career in senior management positions working at co-ops/mutual organizations and I understand the co-operative structure and the balance between financial stability, community sharing and member benefits.

How do you relate to the Red River Co-op Mission statement?
I have lived most of my life in Winnipeg with my wife and 3 adult children. Winnipeg is one of the best cities in Canada to live in and one of its greatest strengths is the existence of so many strong co-op/mutual organizations that give so much back to the community and its members.




Sonia Taylor

Vote for me as a Red River Co-op Director because the Co-op has always been a valuable part of my family's life, growing up on a small farm near Rossburn, the Co-operative was where we purchased our groceries and farm supplies. Today, 30 years later, I continue to be a member of the Co-operative, and I believe that our member-owners, our community and the employees can work together to make our Co-operative thrive for everyone.

Biographical Resume: (121 Words)
As a long-time advocate for working women and men, I have made it my career to help everyday people. I grew up on a farm near Rossburn before my family moved to Brandon, where I graduated high school and attended Brandon University. While in University, I worked part-time at a nursing home and Safeway. While working at Safeway, I became active in the labour movement and learnt that when employees and management work co-operatively, great things can be accomplished. I was elected to the UFCW Advisory Board and later hired as a full-time Union Representative, where I received training that greatly benefits our members. As a mother of three, and grandmother of seven, I volunteered and fundraised for many school activities.

Tell the members what interests you most about serving on Red River's Co-op's Board of Directors
I want to serve because I am a strong consensus builder and believe that all voices need to be brought to the table to ensure the success of the Co-operative. I want to see the Co-operative succeed and thrive in our community through growing the public’s awareness about a Co-operative, and the value it can bring to everyone.

What would you suggest your unique contribution to be?
My knowledge of the Co-operative system, experience at UFCW and the Manitoba Labour Board representing employees is my unique contribution. While the current board represents a wealth of business experience, I believe my invaluable contribution will be the opportunity to add the employees perspective. After all, a business succeeds on the strength, engagement and commitment of its workforce.

Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co-op
The role of the board is to participate in the review and decision-making process pertaining to the financial reality of operating the Co-operative, and long-term planning for future growth. The board also needs to ensure that the direction given to senior management aligns with the Co-operative Mission statement.

What experience have you had working with co-operative organizations? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
I have over 30 years of experience working with Co-operative organizations. This experience is from being a Co-operative member, Credit Union member and Union member which includes servicing and negotiating collective agreement for Co-operative employees. I have the leadership skills for building consensus to get the goals accomplished.

How do you relate to the Red River Co-op Mission statement?
Working together, we can accomplish great things. Making sure every voice is heard is so important to the future of our Co-operative. When the community, the member-owners, and the employees all work together, we all benefit. The business thrives, and in turn, our member-owners get to benefit and be proud of our Co-operative.




Kristen Wittman*

Incumbent

Vote for me as a Red River Co-op Director because As a corporate/commercial lawyer with experience advising cooperatives, I bring a strong legal background to the board of directors. I believe the cooperative model is the best way to provide
top quality products and services and return profits to its members.

Biographical Resume: (125 Words)
I practice law at Taylor McCaffrey LLP in the commercial department, focusing on cooperatives. I assisted the Cooperatives Registrar in identifying changes to The Cooperatives Act and developing a new Cooperative Model By-law. I have advised members and boards with fundraising efforts, drafting articles and by-laws and governance matters.
I am President of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival where I have volunteered since 2015, and I previously volunteered as a director of Bookmates Inc., a charity promoting family literacy.
I am skilled in understanding financial statements, assessing and managing risk, and problem solving. I am familiar with and a proponent of the 'one member, one vote' model of cooperatives. I am keen to bring my experience to the Board of Directors of Red River Co-op.

Tell the members what interests you most about serving on Red River's Co-op's Board of Directors
Red River Co-op is a dynamic business with its head office in Winnipeg and I want to be a part of its growing importance within Manitoba as a profitable provider of goods and services. It is managed by excellent people who draw out the best in their employees and I am proud to have been a part of this organization for the past three years. I see many challenges in the upcoming years with the competitiveness of the food industry, consumer changes in fuel consumption, and changes to the federation, that will require energy and attention from both management and the board.

What would you suggest your unique contribution to be?
I am uniquely positioned to contribute to the Board's overall expertise given my legal training and experience. I have provided legal advice to all types of cooperatives, as well as providing legal advice to many non-cooperative business clients. As a result, I bring a perspective that is well-founded in laws applicable to Red River Co-op.

Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co-op
The board should be supportive of management and should challenge management to continue to strive to overachieve its objectives. Directors should be prepared to be actively and energetically engaged in strategic planning and have the time and desire to reach out to members and act as the liaison between members and management.

What experience have you had working with co-operative organizations? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
I have advised many business clients and have sat on several boards of companies, both non-profit and private, for profit. This experience has taught me to be inquiring of the activities of management without interfering in their implementation of the objectives of the business.

How do you relate to the Red River Co-op Mission statement?
The mission statement speaks to the need to listen to members and respond to their needs. This requires a delicate balance, however, which is found further in the mission statement in relation to driving profits. The profitability of the Co-op is dependent upon satisfying its members that it is responsive to their needs. I believe a dynamic and energetic board of directors is best suited to ensure that the Co-op has the ability to respond to the needs of its members.




Marlene Boersch*

Incumbent

Vote for me as a Red River Co-op Director because as part of the strong RRC management team, I have the experience and commitment to help lead RRC through this time of significant changes. I would work to ensure that we maintain a consistent and strong position in relation to FCL to the benefit of the RRC members.


Biographical Resume: (125 Words)
I grew up on a farm and have been highly committed to the cooperative movement since then. I studied agricultural economics – an MSc from U Sask (1983) and my first professional work was with Cargill Grain, XCAN, then Berdex Can Ltd. At Berdex I served as Executive VP for 8 years. I have developed a strong business and management background, underlined by the idea that an economy has to be balanced amongst all participants (corporations and farmers/consumers). In 2003, I co-founded Mercantile Consulting, a professional services company specializing in market intelligence, risk management solutions and project consulting. The company is active in Canada, Australia and Europe. Other Board experience: Pulse Canada; Canadian Special Crops Association. I cross country ski competitively and have an Airedale terrier.

Tell the members what interests you most about serving on Red River's Co-op's Board of Directors
I am seeking another term on the RED RIVER COOP Board because the energy business is changing quickly and RED RIVER COOP must stay ahead of the curve in the energy business and also diversify to avoid becoming obsolete. Currently we have a strong leadership team. Part of my role will be to ensure the strategies we have devised for the food business are implemented effectively. On the energy side, complacency is our enemy. Change is coming rapidly and we have to find a way to be prepared, if not leading in those changes. In this, we will need a more mutual planning process between RED RIVER COOP and the Federated Coop Ltd. so that our interests are aligned.

RED RIVER COOP’s commitment to giving back to local community groups and organizations through its community relations work is very important to me. I would like to see this strengthened.

Within the Coop environment and, more specifically, with the Federated Cooperatives network (FCL), my work on the board will help ensure we maintain a consistent and strong position in relation to FCL to the benefit of RED RIVER COOP members.

What would you suggest your unique contribution to be?
• Help RED RIVER COOP understand global changes impacting the company in the Winnipeg trading area.
• Provide consistency on the RED RIVER COOP board during a time of big changes.
• Help strategize how to stay relevant to members.

Explain your understanding of the role of the Board of Directors in a business like Red River Co-op
• Stewardship of the Company and strategic planning.
• Risk identification and establishment of risk management systems.
• Regular review of company financial data and monitoring of management’s control systems.

What experience have you had working with co-operative organizations? How has this prepared you for the position you are seeking?
• My 8 years with XCAN Grain gave me insight into the workings of Coop management and boards. It educated me on the importance of good board leadership.
• My RED RIVER COOP Board experience began with me as an outsider willing to add my skills to the RED RIVER COOP. Now I am an insider working hard to maintain and grow the RED RIVER COOP.

How do you relate to the Red River Co-op Mission statement?
• To me it means: to create a different kind of company in the marketplace - one not tilted to shareholders but to the members of the coop community.
• It means doing business well - in a way that is community oriented.
• If run well, the profits go directly back to the members.