Reaching for the stars: Nova Scotia Co-operative Council’s Dianne Kelderman

Posted on July 05, 2022 | By Alec Bruce | 0 Comments


Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council


Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council since 1995, thinks she may still be a little too green to merit a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“That was quite a surprise,” says the nowhere-near-senior-citizen Kelderman—voted one of Atlantic Business Magazine’s (ABM) 25 most powerful women in business this year—about her lifetime achievement nod from the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce in April. “I’m feeling far too young for this. But I guess I’ve just packed a lot into a short time.”

No kidding. In 2012—two years before she won an ABM Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame Award—the magazine described her as a “Type A who thrills to take on more than anyone thinks she can handle, and who actually enjoys burning the candle at both ends.” Back then, her idea of living the dream was managing assets and projects worth more than $50 million, including: A small business financing program for Nova Scotia’s credit unions; the nation’s first online health care clinic; and a $2-million equity investment fund.

Scant years later, she noted in the Co-operative Council’s 2018 annual report: “A few decades ago, [this] was a small organization with $900 in assets; today it is an economic powerhouse with over $160 million under management. Year after year, we imagine plausible new ways that we can make the lives of individuals better, businesses stronger and our communities more prosperous.”

Like that time she managed to persuade, almost single-handedly, former U.S. President Barack Obama to be the Council’s keynote speaker at its 70th birthday party. “I floated the idea with our board,” she told ABM following the 2018 event. “I’m sure they thought ‘yeah, right, whatever, go for it, but what is your plan B?’ I didn’t have a plan B.”

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