Vancity

Kirsten Sutton, Chief Technology & Information Officer

Accessibility Leadership

Kirsten Sutton is an unconventional tech leader. From a professionally trained chef, Kirsten Sutton navigated a significant career pivot to become one of Vancouver’s most celebrated tech execs. As Chief Technology & Information Officer at Vancity, Kirsten oversees all of Vancity’s technology operations as well as drives the organization’s digital strategy linking technology, members and community.

Before her appointment at Vancity, Kirsten spent 25 years at SAP across a variety of roles, most recently as Managing Director for SAP Labs Canada, the 3000-strong development organization across the country. Her experience in the tech sector spans 25 years. But that only tells part of Kirsten’s story.

Apart from being regarded as an energetic, inspiring and authentic leader, Kirsten is a highly engaged community leader: Senior Vice-Chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and director of BC Tech and Science World.

A recipient of many awards, Kirsten has been recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction and received a Business in Vancouver Influential Women In Business award. She is also an in-demand speaker with more than 35 engagements a year.

An inquisitive thinker, Kirsten explored 24 different jobs early in her career before she set out on a technology path. The most interesting? You’ll have to ask her, but Private Investigator would be up there.

Our Organization

Who We Are

Vancity is a BC-based credit union whose vision is to redefine wealth in a way that furthers the financial, social and environmental well-being of our members and their communities.

Why We Are Involved

Beyond it being the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. We have experienced the positive effects on our business by hiring individuals with diverse abilities.

Distinction and Awards

  • 2020: Forbes #1 Bank in Canada
  • 2019: BC’s Top Employers
  • 2019: Canada’s Top Family Friendly Employers
  • 2019: Canada’s Best Diversity Employers
  • 2019: Canada’s Greenest Employers
  • 2019: Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • 2018: Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • 2016: Canada’s Top 100 Employers
  • 2016: UnTapped Large Business Champion
  • 2015: Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations

Accessibility Initiatives

  • Dedicated positions in Human Resources: Director Diversity & Inclusion, Diversity & Inclusion Consultants – specializing in Disability & Inclusive Employment, Disability & Wellness Consultant – specializing in disability leave management, and Wellbeing Consultant –specializing in employee wellbeing and mental health.
  • In 2008, began partnership with Focus Professional Services (FPS), an IT service company whose IT contractors are on the autism spectrum. Since then, we’ve continued to work with FPS for IT services.
  • Our Workplace Inclusion (WIN) pilot project ran at 22 branches and was focused on job carving, a process to carve existing responsibilities from other positions to create a new one. Today, we have 27 self-identified neurodiverse individuals in permanent Administrator roles across the organization, with three promotions to
  • Document Imaging Officer and Financial Services Representative roles.
  • Established a partnership with Partners for Mental Health and their “Not Myself Today” campaign addressing mental health in the workplace.
  • Established Employee Resource Groups for employees with disabilities to support ongoing improvements to both the member and employee experience. Coach and support managers on employees’ disability accommodations.
  • Web-based disability resource centre for employees.
  • Developed a braille booklet for the AGM including the agenda and CEO and Board remarks.

Accessibility Highlights

  • We have shifted the internal culture to encourage disclosure and focus on ability.
  • A fresh look at our recruitment and hiring practices to encourage innovation.
  • High retention from WIN – 21/22 employees secured permanent employment with us.
  • Developed partnerships with disability service organizations that we can continue to build on.
  • FPS contract for seven employees has proven successful and contract has been extended.