BCB MayJune 2022_LR

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1468031

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 83

16 BCBUSINESS MAY/JUNE 2022 W I N N E R CHRISTINE BERGERON P R E S I D E N T A N D C E O , V A N C O U V E R C I T Y S A V I N G S C R E D I T U N I O N T aking charge of Canada's largest community credit union would be a daunting task at the best of times. Christine Bergeron was named interim president and CEO of Vancity in mid-2020, with COVID in full swing. She rose to the occasion. "Early on in the pandemic, it was about standing up as much as we could to help our members, from small busi- nesses to individuals," says Bergeron, who's been with Van- city for more than a decade and officially got the top job in Janu- ary 2021. "And then we shifted into, OK, how do we start think- ing again about our strategy for the next few years?" Bergeron, who grew up in Cornwall, Ontario, in a French Canadian family of six, origi- nally thought she'd be a teacher. But after earning a sociology degree from the University of Guelph, she moved to B.C. for an MBA at UBC Sauder School of Business. She later became vice-president of Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, a Vancouver-based firm focused on cleantech, before co-found- ing a hedge fund that invested in sustainable companies. Join- ing Vancity in 2011, she scaled CORPORATE LEADER R U N N E R - U P JUDI HESS C E O , C O P P E R L E A F T E C H N O L O G I E S TO CALL JUDI HESS a leader in the B.C. tech sector is an understatement. Armed with a math degree from University of Waterloo, the Toronto native started her career in 1982 as a software engineer with B.C. aerospace company MDA, where she headed major projects and programs. Joining Creo, she became president in 2002, steering the local digital imaging pioneer through its landmark US$1-billion sale to Eastman Kodak Co. Hess then got recruited as CEO of Copperleaf, a struggling Vancouver provider of decision analytics software. Taking over in 2009, she sta- bilized the company by raising capital. Hess also collaborated with her team to create the right culture. "It's how you think, act and interact," she says. "It's about behaviour, both inside the company and outside." Under Hess, Copperleaf has grown into a global player with more than 400 employees as its rivals got bought out. "I think we had bigger ambitions than just taking it to $50 million and then selling it," she says of the business, whose customers oversee critical infrastructure such as electrical and water utilities. "The objective was to build this culture, build this team, make a difference in the world with our product." Copperleaf, which now manages $2.6 trillion worth of infrastructure for clients in 25 countries, went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange last fall. It was the TSX's lone debut by a woman-led tech company in 2021–and just its second such IPO ever. (For the first, see page 23.) Looking ahead, Hess is keen to work with Copperleaf's clients, who are mainly in the energy sector, as they seek to reduce carbon emissions. "We can help companies put real plans in place to get to net zero." –N.R. the ranks to become chief member services officer. Bergeron has led her team of 2,600 with a steady hand. Vancity grew its total assets and assets under administra- tion by nearly 9 percent last year, to $33.2 billion, and membership topped 560,000. Bergeron says she respects the value that each employee brings: "My approach is always about remembering and really appreciating the work that the teams are doing." To get everyone on board, she's also taken steps to articu- late and further strengthen the credit union's social purpose, which she calls its "essence." Besides creating a three-year plan for the organization, Bergeron hired its first chief equity and people officer and reset its Indigenous banking strategy. In early 2021, Vancity became the first Canadian bank or credit union to commit to net-zero emissions—a target it aims to hit by 2040. Bergeron's influence ex- tends much further. She's chair of InBC Investment Corp., a $500-million provincial gov- ernment fund that invests in companies making an environ- mental, economic and social impact. She also sits on the fed- eral Sustainable Finance Action Council and is the only North American board member of the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Banking. For Vancity, which just released its new vision, the pandemic added urgency to the battle against climate change and inequality, Bergeron main- tains. "I think COVID showed that a lot of this work needs even more momentum." –N.R. WOMEN YEAR OF THE 2 0 2 2

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of BCBusiness - BCB MayJune 2022_LR