CoFED has secured commitments from the following advisors and allies to field questions from CoFED member teams! Thank you mentors! If you would like to get in touch with any of these wonderful people, email Ruby@cofed.org.
Courtney Berner – University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Courtney Berner is the cooperative development specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives where she provides various types of technical assistance and counsel to existing cooperatives and to groups interested in pursuing cooperative business activities. Courtney has policy, research, and outreach experience in a range of issues related to food systems, environmental sustainability, community economic development, and the cooperative business model. Prior to graduate school, she spent five years at the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington, DC, where she worked in communications and development. She holds an M.S. in agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University where she majored in biology, French, and environmental studies. She recently joined the board of the Willy Street Cooperative in Madison. Courtney originally hails from Oregon but is proud to be living in America's Dairyland.
If you'd like to learn about starting a new co-op, cooperative structure, incorporation, bylaws, etc., governance and finance issues facing co-op start-ups, or regional food system development, ask to be put in touch with Courtney.
Karen Lehman – Fresh Taste
Karen Lehman is the director of Fresh Taste, a collaboration formed by several Illinois foundations and the City of Chicago to relocalize Chicago’s food system and improve equity of access to good food. Karen comes to Fresh Taste with 30 years of food system experience. She directed both the Food System and Regional Economy programs at The Minnesota Project; co-founded and was co-director of the Youth Farm and Market Project in Minnesota; and directed the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Food and Agriculture Program. Karen held the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota and consulted for the Ford Foundation on rural development in Mexico. She attended Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as a Bush Foundation Leadership fellow and subsequently was a Senior Associate at Cambridge Leadership Associates. She has worked professionally as a leadership consultant and has extensive experience in local food system development.
If you are looking for help on cooperative organizational development, anti-oppression, campaign planning, or local food systems, ask to be put in contact with Karen.
Emily Lippold Cheney
Emily Lippold Cheney began her work in the cooperative movement with the founding of a community cooperative housing network, followed by years of managing and developing others on national and regional scales. Her service as the Executive Director of North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), a federation of housing cooperatives rooted in social justice and anti-oppression, equipped her for her current work building a national cross-sector organization for cooperative youth, USA Cooperative Youth Council. USACYC seeks to both strengthen the engagement and amplify the voice of youth in the national and international cooperative communities. She also serves on the Board of CooperationWorks!, a US network of cooperative developers, and on the inaugural Board of the Data Commons Cooperative, an international movement-building organization seeking to maintain robust, accurate, and useful technological platforms for sharing information. As a cooperative organizer, Emily also spends her time as an educator and trainer, provides development consultation, and serves on various national and international working groups in a range of fields.
Emily is a good person to talk to about the specific challenges youth face in the co-op movement, about the many facets of starting up a cooperative, or about how to do cooperative education effectively.
Dan Nordley – Cooperative Grocer Network
Dan Nordley is the executive director of Cooperative Grocer Network, is in his 15th year as a director on the Seward Community Co-op board, and was the recipient of a Co-op Service award from Cooperative Development Foundation in 2009 in recognition of a vast and unusual array work he has done with co-ops. These have included store front management, warehouse distribution, governance, branding, communication design - print & web, and trade association management.
Sarah Moffitt Pike – Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE)
Sarah is the executive director of the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE), a membership organization that brings together cooperative educators from across North America to highlight programs and practices that increase understanding and innovation in cooperative education. Sarah has 15 years of community, economic and business development experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She received her Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University.
If you need help with cooperative education or business plan development, ask to be put in touch with Sarah.
Stuart Reid – Food Co-op Initiative
Stuart Reid is the Executive Director of Food Co-op Initiative, a non-profit foundation providing technical assistance, information and resources to groups organizing new retail food co-ops across the United States. He served as the Food Co-op Development Specialist for Food Co-op 500 (the pilot project that grew into FCI) for three years. Stuart has an extensive background working with a variety of cooperative and investor-owned businesses. Most recently, he served as General Manager of Just Food: Northfield Community Co-op in Northfield, Minnesota where he had full operational responsibility for its opening and then led the store through its first two successful years. Prior to joining Just Food, Mr. Reid was General Manager of Seward Co-op, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also worked for other cooperatives and food service businesses in Minneapolis over a 30-year career.
If you have questions about community co-op creation or retail and food service businesses, ask to be put in touch with Stuart.
Keith Taylor – The Coop Research Project
Keith is a researcher, focusing on community development vis a vis the co-operative institutional model. He is a PhD Candidate, studying Human and Community Development, an interdisciplinary field combining elements of economics, political science, and sociology.
His interest stems from understanding proper (proper being a proxy for alignment with pre-defined desired outcomes) institutional fit for addressing critical social dilemmas for the identified policy and development outcome, with an emphasis on optimal community and individual wellbeing. From this perspective, community and economic development initiatives as well as public policy can be seen as originating from and stewarded by a number of actors, not just elites within “the government” or “the market.”
Keith's specific research interests pertain to governance, institutional design, fit, and the externalized impact upon the host community (questions of development and experiential learning). Ask to get in touch with Keith if you would like to explore those ideas.
Leslie Watson – Cooperative Development Services
If you want to know more about starting up coops, especially grocery coops, cooperative economic theory and practice, or legal challenges faced by cooperatives, ask to talk to Leslie.