The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 08, 2009 08:00 ET

Diane Kocet of Toronto Electrical utilities Credit Union named Co-operative Innovator

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2009) - Embracing social media helps to make The Toronto Electrical Utilities Credit Union CEO Diane Kocet a Co-operative Innovator, deserving of recognition at the 11th Annual Co-operative Spirit Awards Gala to be held at the Burlington, Ont. Royal Botanical Gardens on Oct. 14.

Kocet's credit union, whose roots reach back 70 years, serves the employees of Toronto Hydro and the Plant Electrical Engineering Department of the Toronto Transit Commission and its families. It is owned by 2,500 members, and staffed by several full time employees.

Even though it isn't a huge credit union, it provides big financial services and convenience, says Mark McDonald, the credit union's loan officer. He attributes that to Kocet's ability to, "implement ideas that create value in everything that our credit union does."

The credit union launched a new website (, a corporate blog, has a FaceBook presence and offers podcasts in addition to online banking and information services. The website also features "Our Imprint" to discuss environmental responsibility, community involvement and wellness that interest members. The website garnered a 2009 CUES (Credit Union Executives Society) Golden Mirror Award - Website. The credit union has also created a non-financial site, (, "which includes games, jokes, polls, and staff blogs to show members the less stuffy side of the organization," adds McDonald.

The success of the credit union's outreach is due to Kocet's ability to mentor her staff, McDonald says; "she empowered staff to make decisions and to give ideas into the look of the new website, while maintaining overall leadership of the project." Earlier this year, she received Central 1 Credit Union's Allan Lanctot Award for Mentorship for her support of staff and member development. In 2008, Kocet received the CUPA/Level V, 2008 Professional of the Year Award. In a fitting tribute, the nomination was submitted by her staff.

Eight other co-operators, and co-operative organizations, will be recognized at the Spirit Awards Gala during Co-op Week. The late Bernie Daly will be acknowledged for his dedication to Ontario's agricultural co-operatives. 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. Tanya Gracie of the Canadian Co-operative Association receives recognition as a youth co-operator and 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. Toronto professor Jack Quarter receives an award for 25 years of promoting education and research into co-operatives and like-minded organizations. La Siembra Co-operative, based in Ottawa, is recognized in the category of Co-op Social Responsibility, introduced last year. Retired Huron County dairy farmer Stuart Steckle becomes 2009 Distinguished Co-operator.

The 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."

The Ontario Co-operative Association (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