October 30, 2023

SPP’s Shannan Corey — “we get to impact individual members’ lives”

Recently, Shannan Corey, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan’s Executive Director, was interviewed by Benefits Canada magazine.

The article speaks to Shannan’s back story — her father was an actuary, the magazine reports, and “after earning her mathematics degree at the University of Saskatchewan, she became an associate actuary, spending a few years in consulting with a focus on pensions,” the article continues.

“What resonated with me from a young age was how you got to impact people’s lives. I saw the impact on individuals and on employers being able to [improve recruitment and retention] by offering a pension and it just felt like a strong connection for me,” Shannan tells Benefits Canada.

After her time as a consultant, Shannan “spent some time working in total rewards in the private sector,” the article notes. She later became a chartered professional in HR, the magazine reports, before a move to the public sector, the article adds — and in 2021 she joined SPP as its Executive Director.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to see many different avenues and I keep gravitating back towards that member perspective. So that’s why I ended up with the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. We get to impact individual members’ lives, not just in Saskatchewan, but for anyone across Canada who can join our plan. That really resonates with my personal value system,” Shannan states in the article.

Her role at SPP involves “overseeing the entire pension program, facilitating digital transformation and keeping the operations teams running,” Benefits Canada reports.

“The SPP is very regulated so there’s a lot of compliance. There’s no other plan like ours in the world, as far as I know, so we have a very unique and complicated governance structure. We spend a lot of time on governance regulations. Thinking about changing our products requires a lengthy foundation setting with the regulators in order to move towards changes. So that’s a big part of what I do,” she states in the Benefits Canada article.

Another key duty for Shannan, the magazine continues, is overseeing “business development and marketing, which is unique department to the SPP because it’s a voluntary plan and it actively recruits members,” the article notes.

Our former Executive Director Katherine Strutt is also quoted in the article.

“I noticed right away Shannan was a quick study, so that allowed her to do what she needed to take over in the brief timeframe,” says Katherine. “She’s very qualified and brings a wealth of experience to the position. And I’m grateful the board chose such a qualified individual to take over the SPP,” states Katherine, who was with SPP since 1990 before retiring a couple of years ago.

The article remarks on the fact that we are seeing more women in leading roles in the pension industry these days than in the “male-dominated” past.

“It certainly wasn’t a traditional field for women when I started out. I was fortunate to have great mentors and I think that’s key. Switch to today, the SPP has a primarily female workforce. I think it’s a great privilege and an important responsibility for me to hopefully continue with mentoring women and all the staff here,” Shannan tells Benefits Canada.

SPP has been helping Canadians save for retirement for more than 35 years. As the article notes, SPP is a voluntary plan — any Canadian with unused registered retirement savings plan room can choose to become a member. And once you do, SPP becomes a do-it-yourself retirement program, offering professional, pooled investing at a very low cost. At retirement, SPP will help turn your savings into income — including the possibility of a lifetime monthly annuity payment. Check out SPP today!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


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