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May 1, 2024

CEO Update - May 2024

After eight wonderful years, I will be leaving Modo at the end of June. This will be my last CEO Update.

We started this form of direct CEO to member communication when COVID arrived. The need for regular updates was imperative during the early COVID period in particular. Initially focused exclusively on COVID, the content evolved with time to speak to other important developments within our co-op: our increasing attention to diversity, equity and inclusion; our transition to a zero emission fleet; perspectives from the annual MemberSurvey; the celebration of our 25th anniversary; the introduction f the Member Advisory Council; and reflections on what has happened and looking ahead to what’s coming. And every time reminding us all why Modo exists and reinforcing the importance of that Purpose.

So let us yet again take a moment to remind ourselves and reflection our Purpose.

To transform communities by connecting people with places in a way that’s affordable, convenient, inclusive and sustainable.

This has been my north star during my eight years with you, set out in its current form within months of my arriving to Modo with the Board at that time.

Over the years we have evolved a way to hold ourselves accountable to that Purpose, using a set of indicators to help us to understand if we are behaving accordingly. We define success differently than most organizations, with realization of Purpose at the top of the list for understanding whether we are delivering on our promise to members. I spoke to that at our recent Annual General Meeting and would like to share the highlights with you.

Our co-op in 2023

2023 was another very good year for our co-op. Arguably oneof our best ever.  

Overall member satisfaction remained consistently and very high at 96%, with a slight uptick in the share of members that expressed they were very satisfied (61%).

  • Our membership reflects well the population in the areas in which we operate – part of our commitment to being inclusive. The data tells us we are trending very well in terms of gender balance and ethnic diversity. The diversity across new joiners matches very closely what we see in the census data. In combination with our strong satisfaction scores, that tells us that we are making good progress in terms of both diversity and inclusion.
  • You have told us that proximity of shared vehicles to where you live and/or work is your primary definition of convenience. The percentage of members living within easy walking distance of at least three Modo cars has increased to more than 75% during the year.
  • Employee engagement has also remained on a high level. From our annual employee survey, we saw that 98% of employees agree that they understand and support Modo’s Purpose, 100% agreed that Modo supports a balance between work and personal life and 98% agreed that our workplace policies, practices, and behaviours support a welcoming and inclusive employee experience.
  • From the countless messages we receive from members complimenting our frontline staff, we know that this high level of engagement shines through to the membership.
  • We also work to ensure that diversity amongst our staff and leadership is reflective of the areas in which we operate. While our racial diversity is consistent with the general population, in terms of gender we employ a larger number of men than women, primarily influenced by the team that cares for our vehicles.
  • Regarding leadership in particular, including the Board and management team, while there is always room for improvement, we are proud to have met and exceeded the 50-30Challenge set out by the federal government for organizations across the country. The bar it sets for business leadership is for gender parity and at least 30% of leaders identifying as a member of another equity deserving group.
  • In addition to recertifying as a Living Wage employer during the year, I am happy to report that our pay is quite equitably distributed. We look at this in terms of gender and in terms of employees that identify as part of a visible minority.
  • For affordability, we compare the cost to own a car with the cost to use Modo’s shared vehicles. In this case, it is not the absolute number but the trend in the relationship between these two values that we contrast. Again during 2023 the needle has moved in favour of sharing.
  • Thanks to the very large number of members that responded to our annual member survey. One of the questions we ask relates to whether you shed a car or decided not to buy a car as a direct result of being a member of Modo. We saw a very encouraging uptick in the percentage that said“yes” during 2023.
  • Car sharing in and of itself is inherently much less impactful to the environment than individual car ownership. Academic research tells us that each round trip shared car, the kind that Modo offers, eliminates from 9 to 13 vehicles, and their emissions, from the street. Our now approx. 1,000 vehicles have thereby replaced the need for about 10,000privately owned cars. I trust you share our pride in this environmental impact statistic.
  • Despite these benefits, we know we can and must do better, and so we measure the overall emissions of our fleet. During 2023, we once again reduced fleet emissions, which we measure as average gCO2 emitted per km travelled. With our improving ability to acquire the hybrid and zero emission vehicles we prefer, we expect to see this reduction start to accelerate.
  • We saw good growth in membership and realized solid financial results, supporting our ability to continue to invest inpeople, vehicles and systems and thereby increase our impact.
  • And we enjoy an increasingly strong balance sheet, with an increase in members’ equity that not only means that we arefully recovered from the challenging COVID period but in fact have a considerably larger buffer against future challenges than we had pre-COVID.

In aggregate, these indicators, including the referenced levels of members satisfaction, employee engagement, realization of Purpose andour solid financial results, allow us to conclude that 2023 was indeed a very good year for the co-op.

2024 and beyond…

Let us now look forward, into 2024 and beyond. Your co-op enjoys a strong leadership team and great people in every part of the business.I know them well and am confident in their knowledge of the business and their ability to execute. You are in good hands.

We all know that the need for what we do is greater than ever and can thereby expect to continue to grow our membership and impact as we extend the benefit of carsharing to more people in more places. I look forward to seeing all that the team, under new leadership, will achieve in the years ahead.

Thank you!

And finally, I will be forever thankful to the Board back in 2016 that gave me the chance to lead this remarkable organization. It has truly been an honour to serve the membership and I look forward now to transitioning to my new role as a Modo member at large.