The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 08, 2009 08:00 ET

Tanya Gracie Named as Ontario's Young Co-operator to Watch

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2009) - A young woman who was introduced to co-operatives as agents-of-change during her summer internships is now being recognized as an outstanding leader in the movement.

Tanya Gracie, originally from Tillsonburg, ON, is to receive the Co-operative Youth Leader Spirit Award from the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) and its members at the Co-op Spirit Recognition Awards Gala on Oct. 14 at the Burlington, Ont. Royal Botanical Gardens.

Gracie, now a staff member of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) centered in Ottawa, completed a graduate degree this year in community economic development at Southern New Hampshire University, a leader of co-operative education in the United States. She is also an alumnae of Wilfrid Laurier University's global studies and psychology program. Gracie joined the co-operative system through a summer job at an agricultural FS Co-op in Southwestern Ontario which led her to a series of summer internships and opportunities in co-operatives and their associations.

"Tanya's dedication to co-operative and co-operative education underlines her remarkable maturity, passion and desire to provide leadership for other young co-operators," says Carol Hunter, executive director of CCA.

Gracie joined the board of the Association of Cooperative Educators in July, is president of her housing co-operative in Ottawa, and a director of the Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation (CASC). She was also helpful to On Co-op in its collaboration with York University to create the Co-operative Management Certificate Program that began this fall. She has been a long-time facilitator for Ontario's Co-operative Young Leaders program.

Her nominator, the On Co-op Youth Advisory Committee, remarked on Gracie's ability to accomplish so much in her short career, especially to raise the profile of youth. She was a moderator and co-ordinator of a youth panel that addressed North American researchers and educators on co-operatives in Minneapolis in July, and "garnered the attention of the audience (at the 2009 CASC Conference in June when) discussion focused on educating young people about co-operatives and involving them in the movement," says Catherine Leviten-Reid, CASC president.

On Co-op will also recognize the accomplishments of eight other co-operators and co-operative organizations during Co-op Week (Oct. 11-17). The late Bernie Daly will be acknowledged for his dedication to Ontario's agricultural co-operatives. La Siembra Co-operative, based in Ottawa, is recognized in the category of Co-op Social Responsibility, introduced last year. Toronto professor Jack Quarter receives an award for 25 years of promoting education and research of co-operatives and like-minded organizations. Retired Huron County dairy farmer Stuart Steckle becomes 2009 Distinguished Co-operator, and Diane Kocet, CEO of The Toronto Electrical Utilities Credit Union, will accept the 2009 Co-operative Innovator award. Local food pioneer Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative wins the New Co-operative of Distinction award, and CAIC (Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative) receives special recognition as a financial supporter of many co-op projects over its 25-year history. Carlene Frimer of United Communities Credit Union in Southwestern Ontario is receiving a Co-operative Youth Mentor Award for her advocacy of young co-operators.

The 11th annual Co-op Spirit Recognition Awards Gala is part of a day-long conference that draws up to 250 co-operative and credit union directors, employees, and supporters from across the province. Its theme is "Co-ops Work: Exceptional Solutions for Exceptional Times."

On Co-op, based in Guelph, Ont., develops, unites and promotes co-operatives throughout the province of Ontario. Its mission is to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives. Visit for more information on the Association, co-op conference and gala.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Co-operative Association
    Mark Ventry
    Membership and Communications Manager
    1-888-745-5521/519.763.8271 x30