- How We Help
- About Us
- Giving Back
Kenny Nicholls is the President and CEO of Western Financial Group. He became a Foundation board director in 2016 to support Western’s giving spirit and his own values — giving back to the community has always been important to Kenny.
A move to insurance from accounting, where he started his career, highlighted the value and importance of businesses helping customers and communities — it forms meaningful connections, positive change and a sense of pride in protecting what customers value the most. For Kenny, that’s exactly what the Foundation does. He recalls the Foundation’s outreach efforts during the 2013 High River floods, and to the city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan in 2018 after the tragic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. He’s proud the Foundation represents the real character and DNA of Western — making a difference and saying “thanks” to the customers and communities that support us.
Originally from Montreal, Kenny moved to Alberta in 2011 with his family when Desjardins acquired Western. After serving as Western’s CFO, Kenny became Western’s President and CEO in 2017. The move to Alberta turned a family dream of having an acreage into a reality. During the week, he’s steeped in the workings of Western. On the weekend, he tends to his horses and spends time with family.
Kenny hopes the Foundation will grow to a point where each community Western serves will get a yearly bursary and infrastructure grant.
Chairman of Western Communities Foundation Scott Tannas, is a proud Albertan born in High River, Alberta where he resides with his wife Taryn. Together, they have four adult children and three grandchildren.
Scott founded Western Financial Group in 1996 and served as CEO until 2014. Scott’s interest in public service was inspired by his father, Don Tannas, who served as MLA of Highwood for many years. Scott Tannas was elected to the senate by Albertans in a province wide election and took his seat on March 22,2013. Scott also serves as an honorary board member of SOS Children’s Villages – Canada.
Scott’s passion for charity and his communities was the driving force to launch Western Communities Foundation in 2001, the Foundation was created to express appreciation and show support to the western communities where Western Financial Group employees live and work.
Since 2007, Nancy has been a volunteer, admirer and supporter of the Western Communities Foundation. In 2013, her son’s school was destroyed by the floods that impacted High River, Alberta. The Foundation made a significant contribution to restore the school’s playground bringing joy and excitement back to children who had been displaced for most of the year; an event that solidified Nancy’s commitment to the Foundation.
“Seeing the happiness, the Foundation brings to our community, and in this case children, makes the Foundation’s work so rewarding,” said Nancy. “I’m proud to be part of a community of passionate and dedicated individuals.”
In 2018, Nancy took her deep-rooted passion for giving back to the next step and joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Foundation, Nancy has held many leadership roles with Western Financial Group, including her current role as their Chief Financial & Risk Officer; guiding the financial strategy and governance of the company. Her extensive financial background and inspired leadership contributes to the financial health of the Foundation.
Nancy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary and holds her CPA and CMA designations.
The Foundation has a long-standing history of creating strong and vibrant communities and as Western continues to expand its reach across Canada, Nancy looks forward to positively impacting many more communities.
As the Chief Business Development Officer, Grant provides the overall strategic management of Commercial Insurance as well as Employee Benefits services at Western Financial Group.
Grant started at Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, formally HED, over 24 years ago as a sales representative. Since that time, Grant has successfully developed and implemented several group insurance programs with various associations across Canada. His leadership has been fundamental in driving strategic initiatives that have increased the growth and profitability of the company.
Grant received his Economics degree from the University of Manitoba.
Joe is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Western Financial Group and became a Foundation board director in January 2018. He joined Western in 2012 as the Vice President of Business Development. From that year onward, he has held many roles within Western, including Executive Vice President of Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Central Alberta. He also led the financial services, marketing as well as learning and development groups. He became the COO in 2018.
Joe’s journey to Western and the Foundation began with a desire to work for a company which gave back to the local community. With that in mind, Western was a perfect fit — the Foundation was a built-in charity dedicated to local communities. For Joe, the generosity of corporate donors and the stories that come from the Foundation are what stand out for him. One story he recalled was a branch which helped their local curling rink raise money for a new ice-processing machine. The rink’s machine had broke, which meant curling slid to a halt. He was impressed by how the branch came together to fundraise, which they kicked off with a $5,000 Infrastructure Grant through the Foundation.
Joe’s hope for the Foundation is to increase the level of participation in every branch — it all goes back to supporting the community and continuing the spirit of giving back. Outside of Western, Joe enjoys spending time with his kids, Samantha and Matthew (who are currently in University), and his partner Diana.
As Chief People & Culture Officer, Lisa Osachoff leads Western Financial Group’s Human Resources, Learning and Development, and Internal Communications teams.
Lisa has been an integral member of Western since 2012 and has held various key roles throughout her tenure with the company. Prior to her current role, Lisa led the Human Resources team and was instrumental in developing strategic career pathing, facilitating corporate succession planning, and reinforcing the Western employer brand.
Lisa has a strong background in retail sales and human resources. She combines strong business acumen with an intuitive leadership style that is key for our support teams.
Lisa holds a Bachelor of Sociology from the University of Lethbridge.
As Chief Strategy Officer, Mark Rouleau leads our Business Systems and Technologies and Customer Experience teams, guaranteeing that our customers and technology are front and centre in all our strategies. Together, his teams develop new tools to enhance our customers’ interactions with Western and improve work efficiencies for our insurance experts.
Mark joined Western Financial Group in 2019 after 13 years as a senior leader with Aviva, responsible for underwriting, distribution management and business development. His insurance career has spanned over 29 years.
Mark holds an MBA with Distinction from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He completed his Fellow, Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) from the Insurance Institute of Canada in 1998. Mark also holds a UBC/DAA Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics. Mark has sat on the operating committees of the Insurance Bureau of Canada for BC & Alberta and was the Chair of the Alberta Facility Operating committee.
Jennifer Huard joined the Western Communities Foundation as a Director in March 2016 after being anonymously nominated for the position by a Foundation’s senior executive. Jennifer began her career with Western Financial Group in 2006 as a receptionist. Her career trajectory has moved quickly and within a couple of months she was licensed to sell personal lines and continued to develop her talents to sell commercial and financial services. In 2011, Jennifer became manager of Western’s Bassano office, going on to lead our Bow Island and Brooks locations in 2015 and 2017 and adding the Okotoks branch in 2020. She was promoted to Director Personal Lines AB late 2020.
On top of her growing career within Western Financial Group, Jennifer has been married for 23 years and is a loving mother of two sons who are both currently attending the University of Alberta.
She believes that our people are extremely lucky to have access to the Foundation, to give back to causes we care about and supporting the communities where we live, work, and play.
Her hope for the future of the Foundation is that it continues to grow and have a positive impact in our communities. Jennifer has made it her personal goal to rally as many Western employees as she can to support the Foundation’s efforts.