COOPERATIVE MAINE

Building a democratic economy rooted in community.

P6 2015 Descriptions and BIOs

April 25, 2015 | PRINCIPLE SIX Conference | PDF

Workshop DESCRIPTIONS & Presenter BIOs

1st workshop session 9:30-10:20am:

1) Cooperative Governance with Thane Joyal of CDS Consulting Co-op

The International Cooperative Alliance’s Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade presents a challenge: how can cooperatives become the preferred business model? In an effort to support cooperative boards in achieving this goal, colleagues from the CDS Consulting Co-op have developed the Four Pillars Model of Cooperative Governance (Teaming, Accountable Empowerment, Democracy and Strategic Leadership). The model reflects the complexity of cooperative governance by acknowledging that everyone involved in the cooperative has a role in its governance. How we view governance will of course depend in part on the type of cooperative we are engaged in (consumer, worker, producer), and will also depend on the circumstances around our cooperative. In this workshop I will describe the Four Pillars Model and invite participants to discuss how governance can be elevated within our cooperatives to achieve the ICA’s objectives.

2) Growing Worker and Producer Ownership in our Food System with Jonah Fertig of Cooperative Fermentation & Cooperative Development Institute (CDI)

Cooperation has always been essential to feed our communities. With the growth of the local foods movement, there is a great potential for worker, small producer and hybrid cooperatives to create new democratic farms and food production. Consumer food co-ops and larger farmer cooperatives are more common in the Northeast and there is a growing movement of worker and small producer cooperatives that are creating innovative solutions to rebuilding our food system. We will share existing examples of worker-owned farms, food distribution, food hubs, food processing, restaurants, and look at start-up food co-ops and conversions from existing food businesses.

3) Marketing the Cooperative Difference: “I’m Not the Preacher and You’re Not the Choir” with Jane Livingston of Cooperative Maine

This workshop will be an interactive discussion centered on cooperative values-based marketing principles and practices. Participants are encouraged to bring examples of co-ops marketing their Cooperative Difference, especially those showing a benefit to their triple bottom line.

2nd workshop session 10:30-11:20am:

1) Financing Food Cooperatives with Gloria LaBrecque of the Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE)

Starting with how to navigate the sometimes confusing world of financing in general, followed by brief overview of how the Cooperative Fund of New England works. We will discuss specific examples of food co-op financing situations. You will come away with a better understanding of the resources available for financing start-up or expansions. Plenty of time for Q&A.

2) Island Employee Cooperative (IEC): A Case Study for Converting Traditional Businesses to Worker-Owned Cooperatives with Rob Brown of CDI, Alan White of IEC, and Mark Sprackland of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative

This newly formed worker cooperative in Stonington owns two grocery stores, a variety and hardware store, and a pharmacy, and is the largest worker cooperative in Maine and the second largest in New England. The panelists will tell the story of how this conversion happened, including incorporation and writing of bylaws, structuring the Purchase & Sale Agreement, crafting a cooperative business plan for an existing business, securing financing, and beginning the long process of building an ownership culture within an existing business. There will be time for audience questions about how this deal came together and how it might be replicated for other businesses and workers, and for a brainstorming discussion of ways that other co-ops, as well as state and local governments, can assist workers trying convert their places of work.

3) Housing Co-ops with Jessica Pooley of CDI, and Vanessa Stasse and Matt Dyer of RaiseOp housing co-op in Lewiston

Jessica will share her work with Resident Owned Communities in Maine, assisting owners of manufactured homes gain long-term control over their communities, and the founding of the Resident Owned Neighborhood Association of Maine. Vanessa and Matt will introduce Raise-Op, a new cooperative housing project led by a coalition of low-income tenants, housing advocates, New Americans, and property managers to address the housing crisis in Lewiston-Auburn. The mission of the Raise-Op is to provide housing where Social and Financial Equity can be developed and sustained for all current and future members.

3rd workshop session 1:10-2pm:

1) Role of the Board with Thane Joyal of CDS Consulting Co-op

In cooperatives role clarity can be profoundly important since it is not uncommon for one individual to have more than one relationship to the cooperative. The board of directors holds a fiduciary relationship to the cooperative. Understanding this role, and the associated duties of care and loyalty not only helps the board to do it’s job better, but also makes service on the board more fun! Come to this workshop for some plain talk about the legal role of the board of directors as a whole and the responsibilities of individual directors, and to discuss ways that cooperative boards can overcome common challenges.

2) Financing Worker Cooperatives with Gloria LaBrecque of the Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE)

Starting with how to navigate the sometimes confusing world of financing in general, followed by brief overview of how the Cooperative Fund of New England works. We will discuss specific examples of worker-owned co-op financing situations. You will come away with a better understanding of the resources available for financing start-up or expansions. Plenty of time for your Q&A.

3) How can co-ops in Maine work together more effectively? Exploring the creation of a Cooperative Network, Association, Federation or Alliance with Jonah Fertig & Rob Brown of CDI

This workshop will explore the ways that we can put Principle 6 into action throughout the year by forming a strong alliance of cooperatives in Maine. We will examine what is being done in Maine by individual co-ops, Cooperative Maine, the Cooperative Development Institute, the Cooperative Fund of New England and others to build connections and collaborations between co-ops. We will share examples of similar organizations in other parts of the country and discuss what they provide to their co-op movements. We will then discuss steps we can take to launch an alliance, association, federation or network.

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Presenter BIOs:

Rob Brown (10:30am – Case Study for Converting Traditional Businesses to Worker-Owned Cooperatives, 1:10pm – How can co-ops in Maine work together more effectively?)

Rob is the Director of Business Ownership Solutions (BOS), a program of the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) that promotes worker ownership in Maine and works with retiring business owners and their employees to facilitate conversion to worker-owned cooperatives. CDI is the USDA-designated Northeast Center for Cooperative Business Development. He has also organized mobile home park residents to convert investor-owned parks into resident-owned cooperatives. Prior to his work with CDI, Rob was the founding Executive Director of Opportunity Maine, a statewide organizing, research, and advocacy nonprofit focused on education and workforce development, energy policy, and economic development. He has a background in community organizing, communications, non-profit and for-profit business development, and public policy development and advocacy. Rob lives with his wife and son in Northport, Maine.

Matt Dyer (10:30am – Housing Co-ops)

Matt lives in Turner but has worked as a lawyer in Lewiston for 20 years, mostly representing members of the community with limited income. Matt hopes to bring useful legal skills to the Raise Op project. In conjunction with his fine law expertise, Matt has been a home brewer and mead maker for over 25 years. The mission of the Raise-Op is to provide housing where Social and Financial Equity can be developed and sustained for all current and future members. The four principles that support this mission are: Respect for other people and cooperative property; Accountability to the cooperative and to each other; Integration across different social groups; Solidarity with individual members who face various social and economic challenges, and Solidarity with the movement for safe and affordable housing. The Raise-Op is a new cooperative housing project led by a coalition of low-income tenants, housing advocates, New Americans, and property managers to address the housing crisis in Lewiston-Auburn.

Jonah Fertig (9:30am – Growing Worker and Producer Ownership in our Food System, 1:10pm – How can co-ops in Maine work together more effectively?)

Jonah Fertig is working as a cooperative developer with the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) in their rural cooperative services program. Jonah is a cooperator, organizer, cook, teacher, facilitator, farmer, artist, and father. He co-founded Local Sprouts Cooperative in Portland, Maine and helped to develop it from an idea into a successful worker-owned cafe, catering business and learning program. He also started the People’s Free Space, a community space and project in Portland, and the Burdock Gathering, a community learning gathering in Central Maine. He most recently co-founded the Machigonne Community Land Trust in Portland and the Portland Urban Agriculture Sub-Committee that is part of the Mayor’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System, as well as Cooperative Fermentation, a project of the Resilience Hub in Portland, Maine. He teaches cooking, gardening, cooperatives, and visionary art at the New School, a democratic high school in Kennebunk. He loves to cook, play with his kids, play music and create projects in communities. He lives at Neverdun Farm, a cooperative organic farm in Arundel, Maine.

Thane Joyal (9:30am – Cooperative Governance; 1:10pm – Role of the Cooperative Board), CDS Consulting Co-op

Thane has been working with the boards of retail food co-ops since 2007. She has served on the board of her home co-op, the Syracuse Real Food Co-op, for all but 3 years since 1998, including several years as board president. Thane grew up in Maine and graduated from the University of Maine and the University of Maine School of Law. She has practiced environmental law since 1989, first with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and then with the State of Connecticut, and now maintains a small private practice representing the Onondaga Nation in environmental and cultural resource matters. Thane lives with her family in Central New York.

Gloria LaBrecque (10:30am – Financing Food Co-ops; 1:10pm – Financing Worker Co-ops), Northeast New England Loan and Outreach Officer for the Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE)

Gloria manages the marketing and social media systems for the Fund and visits current and potential borrowers, providing technical assistance, administration of the loan portfolio, and marketing the Fund in northeastern part of New England. Prior to joining CFNE, Gloria worked with credit unions as a performance consultant for the Northeast region of CUNA Mutual Group and CUNA’s Center for Professional Development. She has a BA in Mathematics from Boston University, has been certified by the State of Connecticut in Elementary Education and has taken graduate courses in Educational Technology Integration at Penn State University and Human Performance Improvement at Marymount University in Virginia. She is an active member of the Board of Trustees at Immanuel United Church in Portland, ME where she currently serves as Vice-Moderator. She also serves on the board of the Portland Food Co-op, Cooperative Development Institute and is a member of the Gardiner Food Co-op.

Jane Livingston (9:30am – Marketing the Cooperative Difference)

Jane was one of the four-person team who developed the “Marketing Our Cooperative Advantage” (MOCA) concept, and the one who marketed it in promoting the first Marketing the Co-op Difference Leadership Forum in Cambridge in 1995. Since 1993, she has been studying active co-op businesses and co-op history, interviewing hundreds of co-op managers, directors, development professionals, educators and other leaders around the world. She created the first online weekly regional co-op update for the Cooperative Development Institute and the newsletter of the international Master of Management – Co-operatives and Credit Unions program at St. Mary’s University, as well as the Co-op Development Action feature in USDA’s Rural Cooperatives magazine. She has helped plan and lead four co-op study tours to North Dakota, Atlantic Canada, and Maine, and is a co-founder of Cooperative Maine. In 2007-08 she designed, produced and marketed–with help from friend Jim Cook of Crown O’Maine–four half-day teleconferences called Maine Feeds Maine, which brought 150 stakeholders to 15 high schools to discuss cooperative strategies for a robust local food system. One of many results of that event was the rapid growth of local buying clubs. Another was the decision by the Cook family to convert Crown O’Maine into a worker-owned cooperative. Jane has spoken and presented workshops at numerous co-op events in and outside of Maine. She is available for consulting: Jane Livingston, 33 Oak Grove St., Veazie ME 04401 (207) 947-4117 janehlivingston@gmail.com .

Jessica Pooley (10:30am – Housing Co-ops)

Jessica is a Housing Program Organizer in Maine with the Cooperative Development Institutute (CDI)’s New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) program. She has a background in administration – particularly in
healthcare, disaster preparedness and real estate. She co-founded R.O.N.A., the Resident Owned Neighborhood Association of Maine. There are currently four resident-owned communities in Maine. Two are serviced by
Technical Assistance (TA) through CDI – Brunswick Bay in Brunswick and Medomak in Waldoboro, combined have preserved affordable housing space for up to 100 families. Greystone in Veazie is serviced by TA through the Genesis Community Loan fund, and she is well acquainted with their TA, Mary Terry, who is supporting the R.O.N.A. project and bringing Greystone on board, which has preserved affordable housing space for up to 70
families. The most recent addition is Deer Ridge Mobile Home Cooperative in Augusta.

Mark Sprackland (10:30am – Case Study for Converting Traditional Businesses to Worker-Owned Cooperatives)

Mark is the Executive Director & Founder of the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative. He is a leader and veteran of the grocery retail and wholesale business with a 35-year track record of growing sales and profits for a range of retail and wholesale businesses throughout New England. From 2007-2010 Mark served as Chairman of the Board of Northeast Wholesale Food Distribution Association (NEWFDA), the nation’s oldest food association providing a forum for industry research, education, professional development and exchange of best practices among all levels of the food industry. A long-time champion of smaller businesses and independent retailers, Mark’s vision for the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative includes a retail learning center focused on bringing these same values, lessons, hands on training and growth opportunities to local independents.

Vanessa Stasse (10:30am – Housing Co-ops)

Vanessa arrived from the province of Québec in 2002 to establish a rural collective in Greene, Maine. After a decade dedicated to the creation of the JED Collective, she moved to Lewiston, and to the Faire-Op housing co-op on her birthday, March 31, 2013. Vanessa likes to build bridges across cultures and as a fluent French & Portuguese speaker, is happy to offer her knowledge of languages to do so. She works in the community as an interpreter, and teaches French classes for adults. She is also a Kundalini yoga instructor. Vanessa is passionate about relationship and communication, and recently finished a two-year training program in relational communication. She is currently homeschooling her two children, Fanek & Manis, bringing them to karate, cultural events, and social protests whenever she can.

Alan White (10:30am – Case Study for Converting Traditional Businesses to Worker-Owned Cooperatives)

Alan is the president of the Island Employee Cooperative and the meat manager at Burnt Cove Market. A lifelong resident of Stonington, he has worked at Burnt Cove Market for 33 years. He was part of the founding cooperative steering committee that explored the possibility of forming the worker co-op and was elected president of the board once the co-op was formed. His 15 years of experience as a chairman of the Deer Isle-Stonington School Building Committee and 8 years of experience on the school board have been strong assets for helping the cooperative establish a strong governance structure and system.

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