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Democratic member control is key to our success.

Representing the interest of our members, the board works closely with the senior leadership team to ensure First Credit Union's success as a financial co-operative.


Local Leadership

First Credit Union is governed by an elected Board of Directors, all of whom live and work in the communities we serve. Each Director uses their expert skills, knowledge, and abilities to help set the strategic direction of First Credit Union.



News from your Board of Directors

Stay in the know with quarterly updates from your elected Board of Directors.


Governance Reports

Find our Annual Reports, Financial Reports, and AGM Minutes.



Meet your Board of Directors



Guy Chartier, Chair

May 2015 - Current

As an executive leader with extensive experience in organizational management and innovation, Guy brings a strong knowledge base in strategy, finance and risk management to First Credit Union's board. He has been the Executive Director for the qathet Division of Family Practice since 2013.

Prior to healthcare management, Guy held various positions in international education in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. He earned a bachelor's degree in Education at University of Montreal, a master's degree in Business Administration at Royal Roads University and an International Masters for Health Leadership at McGill University.

Guy is an active member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD); he is passionate about community development for a sustainable future and also served on the board of Powell River Community Futures. Guy has completed all three levels of the Credit Union Director Achievement (CUDA®) program and holds the Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director designation.


Meet the rest of our Board of Directors


Catherine Bell, Director

May 2017 - Current

Catherine's deep-rooted history with credit unions dates back to her Grandfather, a founding member of the Courtenay Credit Union. Her family strongly supported credit unions as a means of investing in local businesses and community; a passion that she inherited. She received her first Credit Union book as a young child and has been a Member in Cumberland ever since.

Catherine brings strong governance and financial acumen to the First Credit Union board. Her diverse professional background includes Vice President for the BC Government and Service Employees Union, MP for Vancouver Island North, and owner of Zocalo Cafe in Courtenay.

In addition to experiencing the fiscal responsibilities of being a small business owner, Catherine's financial experience includes fiduciary responsibility of approving and monitoring her Union's multimillion dollar budget, and as a Member of Parliament, she participated in the federal budget process. Catherine has completed all three levels of the Credit Union Director Achievement (CUDA®) program and holds the Accredited Canadian Credit Union Director designation.


Ellian Bell


Ellian Bell, Director

May 2024 - Current

Ellian Bell’s journey has been dynamic and inspiring. Settling in Cumberland in 2014, she found a place to call home longer than any other—a significant feat considering her childhood was spent sailing through Europe. Her academic pursuits took her from England to the University of Victoria, where she fell in love with Vancouver Island. Despite a nine-year stint in Toronto’s vibrant music industry, the island’s charm beckoned her back.

As a mother of two, Ellian has a knack for entrepreneurship, evidenced by her ownership of Cumberland’s quaint village store, which she successfully managed until 2022. Her leadership skills shone as she helped establish and lead the Cumberland Business Association. Today, Ellian continues to make waves in the music festival scene, both locally and in Victoria, and has recently embarked on a new venture, managing a childcare centre in Courtenay which opened in April 2024.

Ellian is thrilled to weave her unique perspective into the fabric of this board.


Sean Dees


Sean Dees, Director

May 2024 - Current

Sean Dees’ two-decade-long relationship with Powell River is a testament to his commitment to community and leadership. Alongside his wife, he co-owned the beloved Breakwater Bookstore for 11 years, fostering a love for literature among locals. Their entrepreneurial spirit also led them to manage a Panago Pizza franchise in Surrey for eight years.

Sean’s dedication to service is evident through his extensive involvement in governance boards such as First Credit Union, PRISMA, The Sailing Club, and Rotary. His belief in community service is not just a statement but a practiced philosophy. As a former member of the First Credit Union Board, he led the Credit and Market Risk Committee and was among the pioneers to complete the CUDA program, enhancing his expertise in credit union governance.

Before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey, Sean gained foundational financial knowledge through an accounting course, which later translated into handling the bookkeeping for his bookstore.

His diversity of experiences will undoubtedly bring valuable insights to our board.



Fabien Gendron, Director

May 2022 - Current

Fabien is an entrepreneur and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) running a Canada-wide cloud-based accounting practice. His firm is a Certified Living Wage Employer, which reflects Fabien’s approach and views businesses’ social responsibility; views that align with the co-operatives model of credit unions and of the B-Corp Certification movement. 

Fabien has been a credit union member for close to 40 years, starting with his local Caisse Populaire Desjardins in Quebec when he was a kid. His involvement in the co-operative model took concrete form when, in 2011, he became a member of the Triple Rock Land Cooperative, a member-owned co-housing project on Denman Island. This was followed by taking on the role of director with the Union Bay Credit Union in 2015 and, now, First Credit Union.

Fabien has called the Comox Valley home since 2003, and he is delighted to be raising four wonderful kids here, with his wife and best friend, Jenn.


Sharon Hadden


Sharon Hadden, Director

July 2021 - Current

Sharon has been a resident of Buckley Bay since 1976, and a became a member of the credit union soon after. Sharon co-owned and managed Fanny Bay Oysters for 23 years, during which time the company grew from a small shucking shed with 3 employees to a multi million-dollar business exporting shellfish world-wide.  The company was sold in 2007. She has since earned her MBA in Executive Management at Royal Roads University in 2010, and her CGA designation in BC in 2012.  Sharon is an accountant with Cloutier Matthews LLP.

A credit union member since the late 1970s, Sharon enthusiastically accepted an invitation to join the UBCU Board of Directors in 2013. Sharon has also served as a board member for the Community Justice Centre of the Comox Valley.  She enjoys traveling, fishing and playing slo-pitch and golf, and she is the proud mother of three sons.

Kim Lowcay


Kim Lowcay, Director

May 2024 - Current

Kim Lowcay’s 30-plus years in the credit union industry make him a valuable asset to the First Credit Union Board of Directors. His experience will enhance the board’s understanding of complex reports and critical issues.

Kim's journey began at First Credit Union, which remains close to his heart, reflecting his belief in the pivotal role credit unions play in member and community success.

His professional background includes:

  • Lead Instructor for Micro Computers at Malaspina College.
  • Chief Financial Officer at First Credit Union.
  • IT and Treasury Manager at Comox Valley Credit Union.
  • IT and Finance Manager at Kingston Community Credit Union.
  • Lead Analyst and CFO roles at First Ontario and Auto Workers Credit Unions.
  • Consultant for Finance and IT at Lakeland Credit Union.

His governance roles span:

  • Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club.
  • Powell River Library Association.

He holds a CPA/CGA designation and is an Ovation Certified Business Analyst.

His community involvement includes tech support at Coastal Breeze Village and teaching junior golf, showcasing his commitment to community enrichment.

Kim's extensive professional background, educational credentials, and community involvement make him a valuable addition to the board.


Ryan O'Grady


Ryan O’Grady, Director

May 2024 - Current

Ryan, a seven-year member of First Credit Union, is set to enhance the board with his collaborative ethos and rich professional background. A Vancouver Island resident for ten years, Ryan’s academic achievements include an environmental engineering degree and an MBA in Sustainable Innovation, focusing on financial management and social responsibility.

His career spans international work in agriculture, environmental initiatives, and policy development, with a recent focus on governance in British Columbia. This experience aligns with his role as a First Credit Union Director, where he advocates for the cooperative model and inclusive community growth.

Ryan’s governance roles include:

  • Enhancing community life through the Buena Vista Community Association.
  • Advancing professional standards with Engineers & Geoscientists of British Columbia.
  • Contributing to community engagement with the Marda Loop Community Association.
  • Promoting sustainable waste management with the Solid Waste Association of North America.
  • Supporting recycling initiatives with the Recycling Council of Alberta.
  • Fostering cultural enrichment with the Saskatoon Symphony Society.

Ryan’s dedication to community service and financial stewardship position him as a valuable contributor to the First Credit Union board.


Michael Tymchuk


Michael Tymchuk, Director

May 2024 - Current

Michael, a Calgary native and Cumberland stalwart for 12 years, has been a First Credit Union member since his arrival. His entrepreneurial journey began with Riders Pizza in 2011, followed by the launch of Cumberland Brewing Co. in 2014 with partner Darren Adam. In addition, he has over 30 years of business experience, including founding On Tap Brewing Services and co-managing Wild Rose Brewery Ltd.

His governance roles include chairing the Bobcat Club of Alberta Junior Forest Wardens and the Cumberland Heritage Commission, and serving as a director for his own businesses and local committees. His educational pursuits range from culinary arts to linguistics, complemented by a business startup program.

His community spirit shines through his volunteer work with the Junior Forest Wardens, landscape restoration projects, and various roles supporting the Cumberland Community Forest Society. His businesses are known for backing local initiatives, reflecting his commitment to community.

Michael's blend of business acumen, leadership in governance, and community dedication positions him as a valuable contributor to the board.


Your Board is elected by you and works hard to represent you.

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Interested in a role on our Board of Directors?

As a financial services co-operative, First Credit Union is a jointly owned and democratically controlled business that supports the needs of its members and strives to build financial healthy communities. The Board provides critical guidance and oversight for the Credit Union by determining strategic direction, setting policies, representing members' interests and working with management to maximize the Credit Union's impact.

We provide our members with a range of financial products and services to help them meet their financial goals, while at the same time strengthening our communities by turning our members' deposits into millions of dollars of credit, shared profits, and community investments to support local economic, social and environmental initiatives. Co-operatives differ from other businesses in some important ways. For example:

  • They are values-driven businesses
  • They have social and economic objectives that put profits at the service of people
  • They are owned and controlled by their members
  • They create jobs and financial benefits that stay in the local community
  • They are guided globally by seven co-operative principles.

If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we invite you to learn more about becoming a Director with First Credit Union!

Links to PDF reports, financials, governance docs, credit union rules


Executive Leadership Team

We focus on the well-being of members, employees, and communities by bringing our vision of creating financially healthy communities to life.


Linda Bowyer, President & CEO

Linda is responsible for leading the development and execution of First Credit Union's long term strategy to create value for our members.

With experience as a Senior Executive at TD Canada Trust, CIBC and the insurance division of BCAA, Linda specializes in building high performance results-based teams, change management, leadership, sales & service distribution, and operations & process improvement. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration and a MBA from Simon Fraser University, as well as a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. Linda is also a Director on the Boards of Stabilization Central Credit Union, the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), and the World Council of Credit Unions.


Meet the rest of our Executive Team

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Adam Fraser, Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer Adam oversees technology and innovation, the member facing teams in retail banking, commercial banking and wealth management at First Credit Union. Adam has over a decade of experience in the credit union system having worked in progressively senior leadership roles within commercial banking with Coastal Community Credit Union. Adam holds an MBA from Royal Roads University, a BBA with a concentration in Finance from Vancouver Island University, and is a Fellow of the Credit Union Institute of Canada and an Accredited Commercial Lender granted through CCUA and Dalhousie University. Adam is a past winner of the Canadian Credit Union Association's National Young Leader Award and has been recognized as a winner of the Top 20 Under 40 Award on Vancouver Island. In his time off Adam enjoys spending time with his young family, mountain biking, running, and golfing.

Marty Cattermole

Marty Cattermole, Chief Risk Officer

Marty is responsible for identifying, analyzing and mitigating internal and external risks. Furthermore, he is responsible for oversight of retail and commercial credit risk. He provides leadership in the management and execution of the Credit Union’s enterprise risk management framework. Marty has been a member of our senior management team for over 25 years with experience in all areas of branch operations, commercial and retail credit. As a member of our Asset Liability Committee (ALCO) he is involved in the financial management of our company with an added focus on our Loan Syndication and securitization programs. Marty has a degree in Business and Economics, numerous accreditations in Finance and a passion for continued education and learning. Marty is a father, grandfather and an active participant in the Powell River community. Using his experience and knowledge he has been able to support and provide direction to other organizations including many years on Economic Development Committees and the Canadian National Lenders Committee.


Godfrey Van de Leur, Chief Financial Officer

Godfrey’s responsibilities include the oversight of all areas of finance. He has five years of experience in the Credit Union system, most recently as Senior Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis at Coastal Community Credit Union.  Godfrey has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Simon Fraser University with a major in Accounting and a minor in Economics and Godfrey holds a Chartered Professional Accountant Designation (CPA, CMA).  Godfrey has financial management and operations management experience in the energy, wholesale distribution and grocery industries and has served overseas with the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency. Godfrey has extensive experience with budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, regulatory reporting and mergers & acquisitions.  Outside of work Godfrey enjoys curling, golf, snowboarding and hiking with his wife and daughter.

Charlene Reinisch

Charlene Davidson, Chief People Officer

Charlene oversees the human resources and governance functions for the organization. In her role, Charlene leads the People & Culture team, helping to create a supportive, enriching, and rewarding experience for our First Credit Union team, and also works closely with the CEO and Board of Directors in ensuring effective and compliant governance practices within the organization.

Charlene is a current CPHR Candidate, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University and a Certificate in Advanced Management from UBC Sauder School of Business, and is Lean Green Belt Certified. She is a current member of both local and national credit union DEI & Reconciliation working groups, was a former member and chairperson of the First Young Leaders committee, and is an active volunteer with Powell River & District United Way. In her time off, Charlene enjoys camping and boating in the beautiful qathet region, and loves to get creative when cooking & entertaining with friends and family.

Tara Chernoff, First Credit Union

Tara Chernoff, VP Impact & Marketing

Tara leads the Impact & Marketing team which is responsible for creating positive social and environmental impact in the communities we serve and building a social purpose brand ecosystem. Tara has filled various roles in the marketing department at First Credit Union since 2009. She holds a Master's Degree in Cooperative and Credit Union Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, a Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation, and a Certified Marketing Specialist designation with the Canadian Marketing Association. Tara is passionate about the cooperative model and creating sustainable communities. She is a member of the Canadian Credit Union Association Community Impact Committee and co-founder and co-chair of the 100+ Women Who Care - Powell River Chapter.