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Danielle Ghai

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Danielle Ghai "The Servus Credit Union mandate resonates with me. I would love the opportunity to use my skill set as an advocate and my experience as a lawyer to support the work that the Servus Credit Union Board does both for the credit union and our community."


Statement of intent

I always knew, right from when I was a child, I wanted to become a lawyer. I was passionate about social justice and I wanted to feel a part of a greater purpose. I wanted my work to have meaning. Completing my degree in law at the University of Alberta and going on to work as counsel for the City of Edmonton was exactly what I was meant to do and so incredibly eye-opening. Now, several years later, my life has changed. I have raised 3 children and am not practicing law but I feel that same drive to contribute to my community in a way that is both meaningful and empowering.

The Servus Credit Union mandate resonates with me. I believe in the importance of relationship-building and the strength of a community that comes with shared bonds rooted in common goals. Our community is diverse and ever-changing and I am so excited to be a part of this growth. I would love the opportunity to use my skill set as an advocate and my experience as a lawyer to support the work that the Servus Credit Union board does both for the credit union and our community.

Servus’s vision is “Servus Credit Union builds a better world – one member at a time.” As a director, what would you see as your most important contribution to achieving this vision?

Servus’s vision to build a better world one member at a time echoes the metaphor of building blocks and the importance of a strong base. This is the same philosophy to which I have committed both personally and professionally. As a director I would bring the strength of this conviction to the Servus board. I would also bring a breadth of skills and education designed to contribute to achieving this vision of social responsibility. However, my most important contribution is my fierce desire to invest in myself and build social capital through my commitment to Servus Credit Union. Many people have the requisite skills for a job, but without the passion to learn and be better, there is no momentum to grow. I embrace the opportunity to grow with Servus, as both a member and a director.

What distinguishes a credit union from the chartered banks?

There are several key differences between a credit union and a traditional chartered bank.A credit union shares profits with its member owners while a bank operates for the purpose of maximizing its profits to benefit shareholders. A credit union is member-owned. That is to say that anyone who joins the credit union purchases a share and becomes an owner. The shared ownership of the credit union establishes shared goals and helps to further cement the bonds of community. The board members of a credit union are elected by other members, their peers, whereas a bank will maintain a board elected by shareholders. Credit unions are co-operative financial bodies working to provide service to their membership. Because credit unions are local, in the sense that they cannot cross borders, this membership remains local and community-focused by nature.

What are the key issues or challenges facing the financial services industry today and how could Servus deal with them?

The digital era has wrought huge changes in industry across the board. The financial sector has seen a demand by its consumers for increased and improved access to digital services however they are limited in their ability to provide service by aging infrastructure and the burden of regulatory compliance. Servus needs to keep pace with the industry’s rate of innovation by placing experts in technology into leadership positions to work in partnership with their financial experts. Specifically, Servus needs to ensure its core technology is modern enough to deal with today’s demands but also capable of supporting innovation and growth across all of its systems and services. The emergence of non-traditional service providers such as fin tech companies also needs to be accepted and embraced, as their role is not transient. The ultimate goal is improved corporate efficiency combined with member satisfaction.

What knowledge, skills and experience would you add to the collective board team to help Servus Credit Union into the future?

My degrees in Honors English and Law have allowed me to develop strong foundations in reading, writing, critical analysis, understanding of law and policy and the ability to discern key issues and apply theory to relevant circumstance, all of which are skills which enhance the ability of any prospective board member. I have been employed by the Municipal Government Board and have appeared before various boards as legal counsel. These employment experiences have provided me with a higher understanding of the workings of a Board as well as its administration and governance. My most recent coursework and certification as a consultant in immigration laws and policies have facilitated a greater global understanding and appreciation for the diversity within our community and amongst our board members. I believe my combination of education and experience is unique and would allow me to offer a new and valuable perspective to the board team.

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