Alberta Central is the central banking facility and trade association for Alberta’s credit unions.

We offer credit unions in Alberta innovative products and services, thought leadership, research and analytics from The Intelligence Centre , advocacy on priority system issues, leading lending and liquidity management products, and much more. We also support increasing awareness of the credit union difference with the Credit Unions of Alberta brand.

Our Team

Meet the leadership team who serves credit unions in Alberta. Our executive team is focused on effective strategy development and execution, thought leadership and encouraging a strong culture of innovation as part of our commitment to credit union system success. Our board of directors consists of representatives from across the credit union system, each of them bringing unique experiences and perspectives to ensure sound board oversight.

Executive Team

Executive Team

Benjamin Chappell

President and CEO

Executive Team

Jason Anderson

Chief Financial and Governance Officer

Executive Team

Loree Gray

Chief Strategy and People Officer

Executive Team

Kate Hill

Chief Risk and Compliance Officer

Executive Team

Sean Lesy

Chief Investment Officer

Benjamin Chappell

President and CEO

Ben brings broad experience from a variety of executive and governance roles. He is currently President and CEO Alberta Central, the central bank and trade association for Alberta’s credit unions. He is also Vice Chair on the board of the Prairie Payments Joint Venture (PPJV), a technology and payments company, and Vice Chair on the board of Celero Solutions, a digital banking and information technology company. Previously, Ben was the President and CEO of the Balancing Pool, a major crown corporation in Alberta’s electricity sector, and he sat on the board of an Alberta credit union.

Ben has a Bachelor of Commerce in finance and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Calgary, and he holds an Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Jason Anderson

Chief Financial and Governance Officer

Jason joined Alberta Central’s Executive team in April 2022 and brings more than 20 years’ experience to his role as Chief Financial and Governance Officer. An experienced financial leader with knowledge in managing large and geographically diverse teams, he has built a solid professional reputation centred on strong corporate governance and controls. Jason is a passionate leader and an advocate for strong corporate governance and planning and is committed to continuous improvement.

Previous to Alberta Central, Jason was with Shell where he served in various positions over a 13-year career working in markets in India, North America and Canada. Most recently, Jason was the Vice President and Controller for Shell Canada Limited, leading the Canadian operations across several disciplines with a focus on governance and risk mitigation. Jason also has extensive board experience, having served on the boards of SPARK The Energy Credit Union, Shell Energy North America (Canada) Inc and Shell Canada Limited. He is currently a director on the Social Venture Partners Calgary board.

Jason holds his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation, his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation from the Rotman School of Management and has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary.

Loree Gray

Chief Strategy and People Officer

Loree joined Alberta Central in 2020 and brings to the organization a passion for driving transformational change and building highly engaged and productive teams, partnerships and networks. As Chief Strategy and People Officer, Loree leads transformation at Alberta Central by implementing the methodologies, programs and processes needed to help achieve our vision.

Loree has more than 30 years of experience in financial services, spanning a wide range of roles including retail banking, wealth management, insurance and operations. Previous to Alberta Central, she was the President and CEO of the Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C., where she was responsible for the regulatory body that administers and enforces the legislation governing personal vehicle sales in the province. Her leadership experience across industries and provinces provides value to the credit union system, something she is enthusiastic about supporting.

Loree has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and holds certifications with the Institute of Canadian Bankers, the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning, Canadian Securities Institute and Lean Sensei International and holds her Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation. She has served as selections committee chair for the Loran Scholarship Foundation since 2012 and assessor/interviewer since 2006.

Kate Hill

Chief Risk and Compliance Officer

Kate joined Alberta Central in 2013 and is the current Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, where she is she is responsible for external-facing services for credit unions including regulatory compliance, risk management, government relations and research. She joined the system because she believes in the credit union governance model and the value proposition that comes from everyone collaborating and solving problems together.

With previous experience that includes working in federal politics, for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and within the credit union systems in British Columbia and Ontario, Kate’s background gives her the ability to view issues from multiple perspectives and to represent the interests of Alberta credit unions with government, system partners and other centrals.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Queen’s University and a Master of Public Policy and Public Administration from Ryerson University. She also holds her Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation and a Masters Certificate in Risk Management and Business Performance from York University.

Sean Lesy

Chief Investment Officer

As Chief Investment Officer with Alberta Central since 2012, Sean provides oversight to Alberta Central’s financial activities. He possesses the business acumen and credit union expertise required to lead a team that provides a wide array of financial products and services to credit unions. He and his team manage over $3 billion in credit union funds along with the corresponding loans and investments that those funds are placed in. Sean joined Alberta Central because he believes in the important role it plays in ensuring credit unions are positioned for success. To further this goal, Sean is deeply engaged in key system initiatives including payments modernization and project evolution, and actively serves on the boards of CUCC and CU CUMIS Holdings. He is also currently chair of the Group Clearing Joint Venture Management Committee.

Sean prides himself on the role he and his team play in helping credit unions build strong capital foundations that will ensure their increasing prominence in Alberta’s future financial landscape. With more than 20 years of executive-level experience – and 11 of those in credit unions – Sean has led teams in the areas of finance, accounting, technology and deposit-taking and lending operations. He possesses a deep understanding of credit unions and brings a strategic perspective to all that he does.

A thoughtful and results-oriented leader, Sean holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Business Administration from York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

John Veldkamp

Chair

Board of Directors

Robert Bhatia

Vice-Chair

Board of Directors

Randy Allarie

Director

Board of Directors

Michelle Belland

Director

Board of Directors

Kelso Brennan

Director

Board of Directors

Darlene Harris

Director

Board of Directors

Kendra Holland

Director

Board of Directors

Jon Holt

Director

Board of Directors

Ron Pilger

Director

Board of Directors

Kellen Snelgrove

Director

Board of Directors

Atul Varde

Director

Board of Directors

Mark Wiltzen

Director

John Veldkamp

Chair

John joined the board of Alberta Central in 2017. From 2019 to 2023, he was Chair of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee and Conduct Review Committee, and was elected Chair in 2023. As the CEO of Christian Credit Union since 2008, John’s experience makes him aware of the past, present and future challenges facing credit unions. Striving to be a servant leader, John uses his analytical skills to understand all sides of an issue before taking a position and strives to ensure that any decision he makes has a positive impact on the people involved.

John believes his role on the board is an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with an exceptionally qualified group of directors and to lead Alberta Central in the promotion and support of credit unions in Alberta. He believes that the co-operative model is still the best way to ensure that Albertans get fair and competitive financial services and that this model will also allow us to meet the opportunities and challenges of the future.

John has a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta. His focus is on encouraging excellence and motivating those around him to develop their potential. John enjoys spending time with his wife and their five boys and volunteering at various non-profit organizations.

Robert Bhatia

Vice-Chair

Robert joined the board of Alberta Central in 2019 because he believes in the importance of community based financial institutions like credit unions. He has extensive financial leadership experience and is known for asking thoughtful questions and working collaboratively to solve problems.

Inquisitive and analytical, Robert is an executive coach and consultant. He is also an instructor and regular examiner for the Institute of Corporate Directors. A Deputy Minister for more than ten years with the government of Alberta, he led four major portfolios: Finance and Enterprise, Revenue, Seniors, and Community Supports and Government Services. He has a strong interest in supporting the Alberta financial sector and has experience as a member of the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation board, Alberta Investment Management Corporation, the Alberta General Insurance Council and the City of Edmonton Audit Committee. He is also a member of the Local Authorities Pension Plan Corporation board.

Robert has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Alberta and a Master of Arts in Economics from Queens University as well as his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation. Passionate about running and travel, he currently lives in Edmonton.

Randy Allarie

Director

Randy joined the Alberta Central board in order to support the continued success of the Alberta credit union system. He feels that the strength of credit unions comes from their member-owner structure: while banks benefit shareholders, credit unions benefit members.

With his 25 years of experience in banking and finance, Randy brings a diverse background to the board that has included member-facing roles, management at large accounting firms, enterprise risk management leadership, governance, compliance, and internal and external audit expertise. A collaborative leader, he is the Senior Vice President of Risk and Audit at Servus Credit Union. Randy has worked in Canada and the United Kingdom in both customer-facing and leadership roles in banking, and as a Chartered Accountant.

Randy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Alberta, Chartered Accountant designations in both England and Canada, and holds his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation. He also has a Master Certificate in Risk Management and Business Performance from York University. Randy enjoys Taekwondo, cycling, mountain biking, running, water sports, traveling and going to the gym.

Michelle Belland

Director

Michelle joined Servus in 2010 and has been instrumental in transforming Servus into a modern, sustainable financial co-operative that is well-positioned to thrive in the fast-moving financial services sector.

Prior to joining Servus, she held executive roles in a number of different industries that have experienced significant disruption including telecommunications, media, transportation and real estate development. As a Board Director, she served the Alberta Motor Association for six years and currently sits on the board of Alberta Central since 2021. She earned her Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation in 2016.

Michelle leads a number of Servus teams that are focused on fueling Servus' growth strategy. These include Data Analytics, Digital Sales & Banking, Product & Rewards, People & Culture, Strategy & Transformation, Marketing, and Communications.

Kelso Brennan

Director

Kelso has been a credit union member for more than 25 years, after obtaining his first business start-up loan at the age of 14. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he firmly believes in the co-operative principles and how credit unions can add value to the small business community. Passionate about the system and its long-term success, Kelso was on the board for Lakeland Credit Union from 2013 to 2017 and is a current board member of Servus Credit Union.

Kelso holds a Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Alberta, a Professional Project Management (PMP) designation, and was named valedictorian of his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation program. He also studied Computer Systems Technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, where he received Lean Six Sigma certification.

Kelso lives in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife Ashley and three children. He and his wife have started several businesses over the past 15 years and successfully divested in recent years. Kelso enjoys investing in real estate, and spending time at Pigeon Lake, Alberta with his family.

Darlene Harris

Director

A credit union member for more than 30 years, Darlene believes in giving back to the system and that is why she has joined Alberta Central’s board as a director. Presently a director on the board at connectFirst Credit Union and Topaz Energy Corporation, she also has prior director experience with SPARK The Energy Credit Union and as Co-Chair of the Shell Canada Pension Plan. Her work experience includes more than 30 years with Shell Canada Limited, with positions of growing responsibility including Assistant Treasurer, Pension Manager, and finally as the Senior Manager of Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Finance. She believes in the values-based approach of credit unions that keeps members top-of-mind in all decisions and activities.

With extensive merger and acquisition experience and expertise identifying value and managing risk, Darlene brings an open mind and results-oriented approach to her role with the board. She isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues, but always aims to be approachable and respectful in all she does. She understands the importance of being transparent and practicing good governance and is looking forward to adding value to the Alberta system.

Darlene has her Business Administration degree with Honours from Mount Royal College, Chartered Professional Accountant designation and Managing Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments training from INSEAD Business School. She’s also completed her Level A and B training with the Credit Union Director Achievement Program. A resident of Calgary, she enjoys gardening and biking, and volunteering as a financial coach in her community.

Kendra Holland

Director

Kendra currently serves as Interim CEO and Chief Merger Officer with connectFirst Credit Union. Kendra brings over twenty-five years of progressive experience in financial services encompassing sales, credit, risk, strategy and executive leadership roles across  chartered banks, credit unions, and federal crown corporations.

Recognized as a collaborative, innovative and future-focused leader, Kendra is deeply passionate about the co-operative financial services sector. She believes in the transformative power of co-operative principles, particularly in values-driven approaches, local support, and community engagement, which she considers pivotal differentiators for the credit union system. Kendra emphasizes the importance of sector-wide collaboration to achieve shared objectives and fuel the growth and prosperity of Albertans.

In her leadership capacity, Kendra prioritizes mentorship and team empowerment, fostering proactive and results-oriented environments. She is known for her inclination to pose challenging questions to shift the status quo.  As a risk management expert, Kendra is dedicated to converting risks into opportunities for optimization and enablement.

Kendra considers herself a life-long learner and holds multiple degrees and designations, including an Agriculture Business degree with a major in Finance from Olds College, a Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation and she holds a Masters Certificate in Risk Management and Business Leadership from the Schulich School of Business. She lives in Airdrie and enjoys curling, hiking, and biking.

Jon Holt

Director

Jon is very familiar with the credit union system and with Alberta Central and its Board. Having served as a board member with Servus Credit Union since 2011, and before that in 2008, Jon also served as a member of Alberta Central’s board from 2013 to 2018 and was a delegate with the Canadian Cooperative Association from 2014 to 2015. Currently the CEO of SurgeROI Loyalty, Jon recognizes that the credit union system is in a state of transformation and wants to provide his valuable experience to the Alberta Central board to help guide the way forward.

Jon is a firm believer in the value of seeing the system as a whole and understanding that by working together in a coordinated fashion, all credit unions benefit. He is a collaborative and thoughtful individual who brings active listening skills and high emotional intelligence to his role. He is very experienced at working on boards for organizations ranging from other co-operatives to private organizations to clubs in the community. His expertise as a leader running a software-as-a-service technology company also ensures that he will approach the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the Alberta credit union system with an eye on how to be innovative, creative and forward-thinking. Jon believes in the power of effective communication and will look to bring new perspectives to the board table.

Jon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and Computing Science with Distinction from the University of Alberta. A resident of Okotoks, he is a three-time finisher of the Ironman triathlon.

Ron Pilger

Director

Ron was elected to Alberta Central’s board of directors in 2015. Ron is no stranger to the credit union system, both as a life-long member in Camrose and by serving on the board of Vision Credit Union since 1993. He has held key roles including Audit & Finance Chair and Risk & Governance Chair. Ron served on each of the merger committees for this prosperous credit union, dating back to the days of Battle River Credit Union.

Ron is a graduate of the Mouser School of Advertising in Crewe, Virginia. Throughout his 45-year career in publishing, Ron has earned an impressive variety of honors and awards in advertising, marketing, and photography. Ron is the Associate Publisher for Camrose Booster Ltd. and has moved the company in a variety of new directions for growth and sustainability.

As part of his ongoing commitment of giving back to his community, Ron served on the board of St. Mary’s Hospital for 11 years. As board chair, he was a driving force in locally raising $1 million, to purchase the first CT scanner for the rural hospital. Ron resides in Camrose with his wife and three children.

He is active in song-bird conservation. In his limited spare time, he restores and maintains a fleet of early Ford automobiles and vintage Honda and Suzuki motorbikes.

Kellen Snelgrove

Director

Kellen became a member of Alberta Central’s board in 2022. He is a vocal advocate for smaller and rural-based credit unions and wanted to join the board to ensure their needs are heard. Currently a Manager at R. Snelgrove & Sons construction and member of the Board for Vermilion Credit Union for the past five years, Kellen brings a common-sense perspective to all that he does and is interested in learning more about the credit union system. He sees the value of the services offered by Alberta Central and wants to work with the board to ensure these services continue.

Kellen brings a wide skill set to the board, with previous work experience with Natural Resources Canada and a background in research focused on natural resources, energy and the environment. He believes in the importance of recognizing the strengths of those around him and always aims listen, gather information and work with the team to determine the best plan forward.

Kellen has his Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Commerce focused on Business Economics and Law also from the University of Alberta. He is an active volunteer with the Vermilion Agricultural Society and lives in Vermilion.

Atul Varde

Director

Atul is an accomplished technology leader who has worked with some of the largest co-operative financial institutions in Canada. Currently with Servus Credit Union as the Chief Information and Payments Officer, Atul has expertise leveraging technology to drive outcomes, implementing risk management solutions, and developing strategic plans to successfully lead change. Elected to the Alberta Central board in 2023, Atul looks forward to bringing his skills to the role and continuing to grow and learn.

Driven by a desire to improve the experience of members, Atul is focused on developing the products and features that users want. With a focus on innovation in all that he does, he has a long track record of bringing new systems, programs and services to credit unions and intends to bring this same focus on growth and transformation to the board. His previous board experience includes CUCC, as well as advisory roles for the Interac and the Prairie Payments Joint Venture (PPJV) boards. Atul brings balanced insights and a focus on good governance to his board work with a goal to make a difference for Alberta’s credit union system.

Atul has a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications from the University of Poona in India. He also holds additional certifications from the University of California Berkeley, The Wharton School of Executive Education and the THNK School of Creative Leadership. A resident of Edmonton, Atul is an avid volunteer and frequent speaker at conferences and events.

Mark Wiltzen

Director

Mark joined Alberta Central’s board because he believes in supporting a vibrant credit union system. For Mark, it’s the co-operative, member-ownership model and commitment to giving back to the community that positively differentiates credit unions from other financial services organizations.

With more than 35 years’ business experience, Mark was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of EPCOR Utilities Inc. from 2001 to 2013. He brings to the board expertise in finance, governance and the financial services industry as well as risk and people management skills. His board and committee work includes time leading multiple executive committees while at EPCOR and serving on corporate boards.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta and is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) and member in good standing of CPA Alberta. Mark is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holds his ICD.D designation. He has completed the ICD-Rotman Directors Development Program and is a graduate of the Queen’s University Executive Development Program.

Our Annual Reports

Read our Annual Reports below. Our annual reports include our financial statements, strategic objectives and messages from our President & CEO and Board Chair.

Alberta Central’s organizational structures, policies and controls are designed to ensure that, through the diligence of knowledgeable and capable directors and senior management, we are making effective decisions and demonstrating good corporate citizenship.

Our processes and procedures include:
  • Succession planning process for the chief executive officer and senior management
  • Leadership development programs for management
  • Individual performance scorecards for management
  • Established performance management processes
  • Board evaluation of senior management
  • An annual board evaluation process
  • An annual strategic planning process
  • Governance committee oversight of board governance practices
  • Regular board and committee meetings
  • Ongoing director development and training
  • A comprehensive director orientation program
  • Director qualification and competency criteria