Our Leadership Team
Nicole Benson, a prominent business woman, is the President of CRI Canada. Nicole became President of CRI Canada in 2006, since then, Nicole’s leadership and passion have been a guiding force in the expansion that has occurred in the organization over the last 5 years. Nicole has over 12 years experience in delivering client-focused technology and Financial Solution in the financial services industry.
Nicole is a strategic visionary with a clear sense of purpose and urgency when faced with diverse situational challenges during periods of both declining markets and rapid growth. Nicole is skilled at establishing operational excellence within culturally diverse environments, known for her exceptional ability in translating conceptual models into specific growth strategies, and planning/executing multi-faceted national business development campaigns. She is a hard working, ambitious leader and motivator of people, recognized for flexibility, adaptability, and for a high degree of expertise in the Technology and Financial field.
Nicole’s fundamental values of relationships, responsiveness, collaboration and innovation are the foundation of her corporate excellence. They are her guidelines for her choices and actions. Nicole believes in sticking to some surprisingly simple principles—like integrity, client focus, extraordinary service and a commitment to quality assurance.
Nicole graduated from the Australian Catholic University and from the University of Western Sydney, where she obtained degrees in Science, Technology and Education. She is currently undertaking an Executive MBA whilst maintaining her involvement within numerous groups and associations. Nicole is a current board member of the MS Society Manitoba and is involve with the Credit Union Executive Society, The Executive Committee (TEC group) and The Financial Advisors Association of Canada. Most recently Nicole was recognized into “Strathmore’s Who’s Who” for outstanding business and professional achievement.
Karen Wells has held the position of controller at CRI Canada since early 2003. In this capacity she is responsible for consolidating financials, negotiating contracts and managing expenses. Karen has more than 20 years' experience in the insurance industry. Prior to Karen's appointment with CRI Canada, she held the position of Controller for Academy Alliance, CRI Canada's Insurance agent in Alberta for 15 years. Karen has also held positions at Empire Financial Group and AIB Associated Insurance Brokers in Edmonton, Alberta. For both companies Karen administered insurance applications, developed proposals and was involved in the underwriting process. Karen is currently enrolled in the Certified General Accountant program through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is on her way to completing her third level Life Office Management Association course.
Claims and Operations Manager
Claims Manager and Operations Manager, Anne Bjornson, is responsible for the operation of the claims department as well as the day-to-day activities of the CRI Canada Service Centre. She offers more than 25 years of life and disability claims experience. Since joining CRI Canada in 1995, Anne has been instrumental in setting up the claims, underwriting and mortgage administration areas as well as establishing policies and procedures to provide and maintain the highest level of service in the industry. Anne entered the insurance field in 1982, where she held various positions before specializing in claims. Anne has completed her International Claims Association education program, Life Office Management Association and Health Insurance Association of America in both Individual and Group Insurance. As a strong supporter of professional and personal development, Anne continues to participate in Claims and Underwriting continuing education, Insurance Industry studies and leadership development.
VP & Solutions Officer
Sara Mazhar is the VP & Solutions Officer for CRI Canada. She joined CRI Canada in 2008 as a Product Manager. In 2011, Sara’s role grew to Director of Product Management and Development – her key concentration was to streamline the team’s focus and priorities into a single vision, striving to understand and meet the business needs of our credit unions. As CRI Canada continued to evolve from providing technology products, to providing customized financial and technology solutions, Sara was placed in the VP & Solutions Officer role. Before joining CRI Canada, Sara spent 6 years in the banking and asset management industry, where her key focus was product launch, development and management for consumer lending and investment products.In her current role at CRI Canada, Sara is driving the operational and cultural changes necessary to deliver the CRI Canada service model. Every engagement, every solution we deliver must be of the highest quality and have a meaningful impact on our credit unions’ business. Sara has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, from Kean University New Jersey. In terms of her goals, she is currently looking to move forward with a CMA accreditation.
VP of Sales & Marketing
Marco DeiCont is the National Relationship Manager. His role is to lead the execution of CRI Canada’s strategic sales, marketing and training initiatives through the Account Executive and Training teams on a National basis. Marco is a tested professional with 25+ years’ experience building and managing high performance sales and service teams. He has worked with RBC and the Investors Group and has managed dozens of team members across multiple regions. Marco has a proven record building effective plans, delivering results and deepening partner relationships.