Did you know? At Desjardins, each caisse has its own board of directors, made up of directors elected by the members. By representing the members and their communities, caisse directors use their skills in service of their financial cooperative and, in turn, benefit from an enriching and rewarding experience.
Caisse boards of directors
The 213 caisse Desjardins boards of directors1 currently rely on the efforts of 2,442 directors1, who are elected at the annual general meetings (AGMs) held in March and April. The board's role is to analyze and control the caisse's affairs and to make decisions in the interest of current and future members, while remaining true to Desjardins's values. The board takes the necessary steps to understand and meet the needs of its members. It ensures that the caisse is managed in a sound and prudent manner and contributes to the sustainable and responsible development of the community.
Like its members, the board's directors come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and represent different age brackets, genders and ethnocultural communities in the community. In fact, this diversity is the group's greatest strength. Many studies have shown that a group made up of people with different backgrounds made better business decisions, due to the group's diversity of perspectives, creative approach to organizational development and search for innovative solutions to the various issues that it faced.
Being a director: working for members and communities
"Enriching," "stimulating," "rewarding" ... These are a few of the words that directors from all over have used to describe their experience working on the board of their Desjardins caisse.
At 34, Alexandre Lajoie is a director at the Caisse du personnel municipal Québec. "I think it's important to get involved in my community and I like the idea of being able to help maintain a high level of service quality. My role is to make sure that member needs are always front and centre in caisse decisions. Being involved gives me a sense of accomplishment. So why not contribute to an organization that's helped me see my projects through? It's a way for me to give back."
Clément Pouliot has been a director at the Caisse de Bellechasse for many years. "Being on the board fosters qualities like integrity, honesty, loyalty and responsibility. It's an opportunity to share your knowledge and skills. Contributing to a major financial enterprise, especially a cooperative where the members elect directors democratically, is an enriching and rewarding pursuit."
Jacqueline Khayat is an administrator at the Caisse de Saint-Martin de Laval and takes great pride in her role. "My main motivation was really to get involved and get to know my caisse better so that I could influence its management and take its performance to another level. Then there's everything we do at the socioeconomic level and the ways in which we can help the local economy. It's something that I find very rewarding."
It was Joëlle Girard's attachment to her caisse and its cooperative aspect that convinced her to become a director at the Caisse du Sud de la Chaudière. "I think that Desjardins has a positive impact on everything it touches. In my small community, it's helping build momentum and enabling small organizations to pursue their mission with people in the community. My role as a director gives me a sense of accomplishment, because we represent our community and our members. It's stimulating and interactive, we tackle all sorts of topics, share ideas, have discussions, all in the interest of our members and clients."
26-year-old Saoussene Zair, director at the Caisse de Sainte-Foy, is driven by entrepreneurial and social interests. "We have the power to help projects geared towards members become reality—that's not insignificant! The diversity of the directors, their visions and their varied backgrounds are invaluable. There is significant room for the vision of youth. Everyone is open-minded and encouraged to think outside the box. Because if we want to change things, we must be bold."
Do you want to become a director?
Every year, starting in the third week of January, the caisses open their call for nominations to fill elected positions on their boards of directors. If you want to join the board of directors at your caisse, this is a great opportunity to contribute to your community's socioeconomic development.
1. As of October 24, 2022