Board of Directors

All directors of FaithLife Financial are Christians. None are employees and none are involved in its day-to-day business operations, with the exception of the President and CEO. Except through their individual insurance and/or annuity contracts which give them Membership in the organization, directors have no material interest in any contracts with FaithLife Financial.

Sheryl Teed Callum

Sheryl A. Teed Callum, Chair

Toronto, Ontario

Sheryl Teed Callum has been a valued Director since being elected to the FaithLife Financial Board in 2011. She is a retired partner of Ernst & Young LLP and a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCA), a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Her primary focus during her 35-year career was serving clients in the financial services sector including life insurance companies. Her experience includes serving as an Audit Partner and an IT Audit Partner, advising on governance and risk management practices, assessing the governance of major capital expenditure projects including IT system implementations and evaluating IT risk. She has presented at numerous professional conferences, seminars webcasts and client sponsored events, and has served on a number of industry task forces and advisory committees. She has over 25 years of experience on not-for-profit boards serving in various capacities.

Currently, Sheryl serves as FaithLife Financial's Board Vice-Chair, Audit and Finance Committee Chair and as a member of the Governance Committee. She has also served on ad hoc committees of the Board. Sheryl and her husband John Callum have two children and five grandchildren. Sheryl's Christian affiliation is with the United Church of Canada.

Geoff Bellew

Geoff R. Bellew

Waterloo, Ontario

Geoff Bellew is a business executive with over 40 years' experience in the financial services, technology and consulting services industries. He has extensive business skills at senior executive levels and has served in a senior executive capacity with Scotiabank, Manulife, ING, Aegon, Dspfactory and Mechworks Systems. He most recently served as President and CEO at Southbridge, a Waterloo Region-based investment management firm, guiding the assets of the Bridgeway Foundation.

Geoff is an active community volunteer. He has served many not-for-profit and faith-based organizations and is currently a Director on the Board of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, Waterloo Public Library Grand River Hospital and Lutherwood Homes KW (Trinity Village). In business and in the community,
Geoff has established himself as a passionate, trustworthy and responsible collaborator.

Karen C. Bjerland, President and CEO

Karen Bjerland

Kitchener, Ontario

Karen is President and CEO of FaithLife Financial. Since joining FaithLife Financial in 1980, Karen has played pivotal roles in a number of areas where she assumed increasingly senior roles including Regional Sales Manager, Director Field & Branch Services, as well as Vice-Presidential roles in Member Services, Field Services, Brand Development, Fraternal and Sales. She became the organization's first female President and CEO in September 20, 2010.

Karen is known for her leadership skills, her strong communication and organizational development skills, as well as her ability to manage change. She's passionate about stewardship and servant leadership, which she expresses through her work on several non-profit boards, such as Koinonia Homes and the Canadian Fraternal Association.

Julie A. Halgren

Julie Halgren

Plymouth, Minnesota

Julie Halgren is the Director of Long Term Development at Thrivent Financial, appointed to our Board in 2012 as the Thrivent representative. She has over 25 years' experience in the marketing arena; with expertise in developing and implementing marketing strategies for financial services and insurance organizations. Prior to joining Thrivent Financial she worked at Fair, Isaac & Company in the capacity of Account Manager and Market Offering Director. She also has experience as a surety bond wholesaler and underwriter.

Julie contributes her time, life experience, and skills as a mentor to other professionals. She has chaired the Greenwood Elementary Grant Committee and volunteers at the House of Charity and Habitat for Humanity. She is a member of St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth MN. Julie received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College, Iowa. She earned the Chartered Life Underwriter designation from the American College.

R. Paul Hogan

Paul Hogan

Ajax, Ontario

Paul Hogan brings 30 plus years of experience as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he served a diverse portfolio of clients, including companies in finance (banks), technology, broadcasting, entertainment, energy, mining, real estate, manufacturing, the non-profit sector and government. He is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCA) a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and a Certified Public Accountant, Illinois. Paul has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA, and has also completed the Institute of Corporate Directors course. He specializes in synthesizing data, seeing the big picture and understanding future business directions, with particular skills in the areas of strategic thinking, human resources matters, risk management financial analysis and projections, customer satisfaction, internal controls and computer risks and controls.

Paul has served the boards of various charities including the United Way, Plan International Canada, World of Science and the Guelph Bible Conference Grounds. Over the years, he has provided governance and strategic planning expertise to many church-related institutions and is currently the Board Chair for Youth for Christ GTA. Paul and his wife Patricia live in Ajax, Ontario.

Bruce D. Ratzlaff

Bruce Ratzlaff

Calgary, Alberta

Bruce Ratzlaff has had a successful 28-year career in both the Insurance and Banking industries where he served as a Senior Officer for more than twenty years. Bruce was the President and CEO of Western Life Assurance Inc., where his responsibilities included liaison with Federal and Provincial regulators. He was then President and CEO of Bank West. Bruce has also held the position of President and Board Director of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CWBC) where his role was to oversee operations, asset management, loan portfolio oversight and leadership of the volunteer Board of Directors.

Bruce is currently serving as an independent advisor to the Investment Committees of the CBWC Foundation and the Trellis Foundation. Bruce is also an independent director of an Alberta based public company and has an MBA. Over the years, Bruce has served on several Boards for his church, a Christian school and a local chapter of a Christian Business Men's organization. Bruce and his wife Verna live in Calgary, Alberta.

Walter S. Rugland

Walter Rugland

Appleton, Wisconsin

Walter Rugland retired in 2002 as Executive Vice President of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Thrivent is among America's largest non-stock life insurers. In the 23 years prior to service at Thrivent he was a Consulting Actuary and Principal of Milliman, an international consulting and actuarial firm. Walter is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He holds honorary Fellowships in the actuarial associations in England and Scotland. He received a Bachelor's degree from Luther College, Iowa, and a Masters of Business Administration in Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan. He has received Luther College's Distinguished Service Award, as well as recognition for lifetime service by his profession.

Walter also serves as past-chair of the board of ThedaCare, a not-for-profit health provider, chair of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value and vice president of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation. He has served as treasurer of the Hartford Stage Company, chairman of the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region and is secretary/treasurer of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. A Rotarian, he is also past chair of the Luther Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Actuarial Foundation, and is an emeritus governing regent of Luther College.

Stephen A. TaylorStephen A. Taylor

Heidelberg, Ontario

Stephen Taylor dedicated 30 years of his career to Lutheran Life Insurance Society of Canada (now FaithLife Financial). He served as the organization's President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors from 1990 to 2004. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), as President of the Canadian Fraternal Association (CFA), as a member of the Board of Governors of Wilfrid Laurier University (also Chair of its Pensions and Benefits Committee), and as a member of the Board of Governors of Lutherwood, a social service agency.

After retiring from Lutheran Life, Steve served on the Board of Directors of the Alberta-based Western Life Assurance Company from 2005 to 2011, and as a member of both of its Governance, Conduct, Management and Resource Committee and Audit and Risk Committee. Steve is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and established himself as one of the first actuaries in Canada from the First Nations community. He is active in the Canadian faith community as a layman and a musician, where he sings bass with The Revelations, a southern gospel quartet. Stephen attends Hope Lutheran Church in Kitchener, ON.

Ronald WalterRonald W. Walter

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Ron Walter was elected to the FaithLife Financial Board of Directors in 2010. He offers expertise to the FaithLife Financial Board in the areas of board governance, policy development and fiscal discipline in varying economic climates. A life-long resident of Saskatoon, Ron graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Ron worked with the Saskatoon Public School Division for 13 years gaining experience in insurance, pensions, board policy and finances. He holds an Advanced Class A certificate in local government administration. Ron is a life long member of St Paul's Lutheran Church in Saskatoon and is currently serving as President of the congregation.

Dale E. Wilcox

Dale Wilcox

Waterloo, Ontario

Dale Wilcox is President and co-owner of WATMEC Ltd., a workplace training and development company, dedicated to increasing employee performance in organizations throughout Canada. A business entrepreneur, Dale provides expertise in marketing, human resources and organizational development and has over 20 years of boardroom experience. Dale has been a FaithLife Financial Board member since 1999.

Originally from Chesley, Ontario, Dale is past-president of the Canadian Society of Training and Development and has served on various church committees. Currently, she is on the advisory board of eLearn Campus. A founding member of the International Alliance for Learning, Dale is also a member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association and the American Society for Training and Development.