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Co-op member Tina Hiscock shares experience and advice for those attending CHF Canada’s Annual Meeting

Published March 16, 2023

CHF Canada’s Annual Meeting is jam-packed with benefits for everyone who attends.

We spoke with Tina Hiscock about her experience attending  Annual Meetings. Tina lives with her husband and two children in Needham Housing Co-op (22 co-op homes) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 2013, the co-op took the advice of Karen Brodeur, CHF Canada’s Atlantic Regional Manager, encouraging the co-op to attend. Needham hadn’t sent anyone in several years, and Karen felt they would benefit from the networking opportunities. They sent two board members to Calgary, and Tina was one of them.

Tina wasn’t sure she would have anything in common with people from larger co-ops, but quickly learned, “we all have so much in common!” She learned ideas from other co-ops and brought them back to Halifax.

Even though it was ten years ago, she remembers the lessons learned in one workshop on mental health. “It was eye-opening. I still have the handbook from that workshop, and still use it!”

Tina has come a long way since her first AGM: she was the local coordinator for last year’s meeting in Halifax. Tina will not be at this year’s Annual Meeting in Ottawa, but wants to share some advice:

  1. “Your co-op will benefit by attending.” Co-ops should take advantage of all the available discounts.
  2. “Choose workshops that interest you,” If you do, you will get more out of it, and your co-op will benefit from what you bring back.
  3. “Networking is key,” says Tina. She has attended four live Annual Meetings. At each one, she went home with contact information of co-op folks who she texts and emails to this day.
  4. “Hang out near registration when you pick up your kit.” She remembers someone passing her, wearing the same nametag she had just put on. They smiled at her; that simple gesture made her feel welcome. “Just be there. So many people are arriving, and they start to chat. You might meet them later in a workshop or at an event, and you connect.”
  5. “Exchange contact info at your regional meeting.” These regional connections are important and useful, and don’t have to be just once a year. Stay connected with your local co-op members and keep the conversation going, living the principle of Co-operation among Co-operatives.
  6. “Report back to your co-op.” Write a short report on the business meeting, and workshops you attend, your impressions, what you felt was inspiring. Then follow up with a talk with the board or at a members meeting.

Thanks, Tina!

Register for CHF Canada’s 2023 Annual Meeting, happening in Ottawa from June 15-17. 

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