Tamara Vrooman

President & Chief Executive Officer, Vancity

“A leader taps into the fullest capacity in a group of people, paints a picture of what's possible and supports the team in making it come to life.” Tamara Vrooman

As president and chief executive officer of Vancity, Canada's largest community credit union, Tamara Vrooman believes that banking has a vital role in developing a healthy society—building the well-being of people and, at the same time, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the communities in which they live and work. This summarizes Vancity's vision of redefining wealth.

Tamara views the economy as much more than what is written on a balance sheet; it includes the social and natural economies in which we all live. Understanding the interdependence of these three means that Vancity takes a very different approach to banking, ensuring its products, services and advice deliver financial, social and environmental results for the more than 534,000 members it serves.

As a member-owned financial co-operative, Vancity is ideally suited to operate in an economy that is ever changing because it is through its close connection with members that Vancity sees what is required to meet their changing needs. This 'member-led innovation' guides Vancity in its business strategies to use the $27.4 billion in members' assets and assets under administration it holds to create community impact.

Under Tamara's leadership, Vancity has gained international recognition for its values-based banking model. Vancity was the first Canadian financial institution invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of the world's leading sustainable banks and banking co-operatives. Tamara's voice is also sought internationally—she has been invited by Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, as well as other government and business leaders to share Vancity's business model at various summits and conferences.

Tamara's achievements include leading Vancity to become the first carbon-neutral financial institution in North America, to become the largest private-sector living wage employer in Canada, and to tackle the shadow financial system by launching an alternative to predatory payday loans for its members—the Vancity Fair & Fast Loan™. Vancity was named Canada's Best Corporate Citizen in both 2016 and 2017 by Corporate Knights, and has also received many national and international awards for its business leadership.

All of this was achieved while growing the assets plus assets under administration of the credit union 61 per cent to $27.4 billion and achieving the highest profits in the organization's 70-year history. Under Tamara's direction, more than one-fifth, or $5.4 billion, of Vancity's assets plus assets under administration are invested in impact.

Prior to joining Vancity, Tamara served as Deputy Minister of Finance for the Province of British Columbia and as Secretary to the Treasury Board and CEO of the Public Sector Employers' Council where she oversaw the government's annual $100 billion borrowing and cash requirements and developed its $36 billion fiscal plan. Her prior portfolio was as Deputy Minister and Executive Financial Officer for the Ministry of Health.

Tamara pursued post-secondary education at the University of Victoria, earning a Master of Arts in History in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts with honours in 1991. She also received an Honorary Doctorate (Laws) from Simon Fraser University in 2016 and an Honorary Doctorate (Technology) from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2013.

On a personal level, Tamara lends her voice and leadership experience to issues related to women, families and children with a particular focus on issues related to equality, inclusion and empowerment.

Current Board Appointments

  • Vancity Community Investment Bank (Chair)
  • Global Alliance for Banking on Values
  • Academic Health Sciences Network
  • Aga Khan Foundation Canada
  • Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference National Executive Committee
  • International Co-operative Alliance Co-operative Roundtable
  • Peter B. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics
  • Province of BC Minister's Council on Employment and Accessibility (Co-chair)
  • Rick Hansen Foundation (Chair)
  • Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Steering Committee
  • University of Victoria's School of Public Administration Advisory Board
  • Vancouver Airport Authority

Awards & Recognition

Tamara is recognized for her leadership in many sectors and is frequently invited to speak at local, national and international events. Tamara has been recognized for her community contributions through such awards as:

  • 50 Most Powerful People in Vancouver – Vancouver Magazine (2011, 2014, 2016, 2017)
  • Peter Lougheed Award for Leadership in Public Policy (2016)
  • BC CEO of the Year Award – Major Private Company, Business in Vancouver (2015)
  • BC's Most Influential Women – BC Business Magazine (2015)
  • University of Victoria Celebration of Excellence Anniversary Award (2012)
  • YWCA Women of Distinction Award – Business and the Professions (2011)
  • Women's Executive Network: Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Business in Vancouver: Influential Women in Business Award (2009)
  • University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award (2008)
  • Association of Women in Finance: Knowledge and Leadership PEAK Award (2007)
  • Canada's Top 40 Under 40™ (2005)
  • Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Public Service (2003)