My Bologna has a first name, it’s E-M-I-L-I-A.

Next month I’m going to Bologna, Italy. Not on vacation, but on a business trip.

Why is the Web Director at a Vancouver-area credit union going to Italy on business? Good question, and in answering I will be asking you for help.

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University of BolognaMy trip will be to Bologna, which is the capital of Emilia Romagna, whose economy is driven in large part by cooperatives. Agricultural cooperatives, cooperatives delivering social services, artisan cooperatives and so on. Vancity has been sending delegates to this region to learn from other cooperatives and, in particular, from Professor Stefano Zamagni, Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna for several years. This year they opened it up to a dozen or so employees from across the organization, and I was lucky enough to be chosen.

My task is to bring the knowledge, ideas and inspiration about what it means to be a financial cooperative back to my work at Vancity, to our employees and to our members. I believe that by combining the web, which is essential to the future of our company, with our cooperative roots we can more fully live up to our potential as a credit union.

I reach out to you because many of my readers work at cooperatives, especially financial cooperatives. The sixth principle of the Seven Cooperative Principles is:

Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

One of the things I am excited about in going to Bologna is that I get to reach out to you, my blog readers and have a conversation with you all about what I am learning and experiencing. And what I want from you is to participate. Comment, leave your thoughts, tell me what you think.

Vancity is embarking on a new vision: Redefining Wealth. It is an evolving mandate to look at how we create wealth in our communities and how we can do that in a way that is sustainable and equitable. I look forward to hearing from you about this journey I am on to better understand our vision and interpret that vision for our members and explore what it means (and doesn’t mean) with you.

So that’s my invitation. What do you think? Will you help me?

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