Dr. Carol Prejean Zippert - Keynote Speaker
Dr. Zippert is a self-described “Community Worker.” She dedicates her education, training, community organizing and development experience to assisting grassroots community groups in social transformation. Her work with cooperatives and activism in promoting racial, social and economic justice earned she and her husband, John Zippert the highest USA honor bestowed to cooperators: Induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame (May, 2017).
Carol’s work spans more than 50 years. She helped organize the Southern Consumers Cooperative and the Grand Marie Farmers’ Marketing Cooperative in Louisiana. Carol was among the founders of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (FSC) in 1967, and these cooperatives were among their first member co-ops. FSC has been pivotal in southern endeavors to save, protect and expand the landholdings of Black family farmers in the South.
Leadership training is a crucial area of Carol’s work, which she has used in her dedication to young people. She has been involved with the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement since its inception in 1986. She has assisted in designing and implementing curricula and training for young people from a community-directed perspective and has conducted or secured youth leadership training in the areas of conflict resolution, economic development, environmental justice, and cultural appreciation and celebration.
Carol is a founder of the newly established Black Belt Community Foundation, which serves 12 counties in the Alabama Black Belt region. Carol and her husband, John, are co-publishers of the Greene County Democrat newspaper, a community based weekly publication and the paper of record for the county. Carol earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Supervision and Curriculum Development from the University of Alabama,
Kim Arnone is the Vice President at Cutting Edge Capital which specializes in helping ventures (coops, nonprofits and social enterprises) raise capital from their community of supporters, both wealthy and community investors. Kim believes that community led offerings help enterprises stay mission-aligned and build a more just, equitable and sustainable economy. Kim has worked with member and worker cooperatives to raise capital from their communities by designing compliance strategies to meet the co-ops' goals including consulting on member loan programs and offerings of preferred (non-voting) equity.
Vanessa Bransburg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and emigrated with her family to San Diego, CA in 1988. She studied Sociology and Spanish literature for her Bachelors at UCLA and later received her Masters in Social Work at Columbia University in NYC. She was the Director of Cooperative Development at the Center for Family Life (CFL) in Brooklyn, NY from February 2008 to August 2015. While at CFL she helped develop and grow the program to have 10 staff members, support an ever-growing worker cooperative incubator program for immigrant and low-income residents, establish the NYC Cooperative Development Initiative to support NGO in become cooperative incubators, and was one of the founders of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. She is the Director of Startup Initiatives at the Democracy at Work Institute where she leads the Immigrant Cooperative Initiative and consults on various projects across the country.
Linda Brockway is currently the Treasurer of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC), and has served on the Board of Directors since October, 2000. Linda is a national speaker for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and has spoken for the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives, The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, NCBA, CCCD, and numerous local associations. Ms. Brockway has also worked to develop the governance, strategic planning training courses, and Resident Cooperative Manager Classes, which are offered by NAHC.
Mariela Cedeño is the Director of Business Development & Lending at Mandela MarketPlace, a non-profit organization that works to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low-income communities. Guided by Mandela MarketPlace’s equity driven framework, Mariela develops strategies that build the assets of community entrepreneurs engaged in cultivating our local economy and food system. She manages Mandela incubated economic development projects, as well as entrepreneurship development programming. Additionally, Mariela oversees Mandela MarketPlace’s Community Capital program - offering low-cost, relationship driven lending products.
Mariela was born in Venezuela, grew up in California, and has lived, worked, volunteered, and traveled all over the world. She brings with her a wide breadth of in the field experience in business development, microfinance, social enterprise, and community development.
Mariela holds B.A. degrees in Economics and International Relations with honors from the University of California, Davis, and a M.A. in Latin American Development from Vanderbilt University. She is a Sustainable Alliance of the East Bay Advisory member, and sits on the West Oakland Bart Community Advisory Committee.
Kim Coontz Executive Director, California Center for Cooperative Development, has been working with cooperative enterprises for over 20 years. She has assisted in the start-up of more than 25 cooperatives, authored and co-authored more than 10 publications about cooperatives and written numerous articles. Prior to her employment with CCCD, Kim was Executive Director of Yolo Mutual Housing Association, a nonprofit developer of cooperatively-governed affordable housing in Davis, CA. She also spent 14 years working for the Center for Cooperatives at the University of California at Davis (prior to its closure in 2004).
Ra Criscitiello is a Research Coordinator at SEIU-UHW in Oakland, California, a union of 80,000 healthcare workers. She is also a union-side labor attorney. In partnership with organized labor leaders and worker cooperative developers, she is building an innovative employment model that collectivizes the employment status of unionized allied healthcare workers on scale. In the new worker-driven democratic landscape, her model allows for on-demand labor without compromising traditional union values.
Ross Culverwell is Director of Lending at the Northern California Community Loan fund (NCCLF). NCCLF started lending to worker and consumer cooperatives in 2011. Ross joined NCCLF following nine years with Moody’s Investors Service in New York City, where he served as Analyst with the International Subsovereign Group and as an Assistant Vice President with the International Department. He was previously a Research Associate at Zemi Investments, a venture capital firm, and Assistant to the Vice President at the Americas Society. Ross holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
Yassi Eskandari is the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Policy Director, and leads the organization’s city and regional policy campaigns to cultivate community resilience and economic empowerment. She is currently most excited about her ongoing work to promote local worker cooperative development policies in Oakland, Berkeley, and the broader San Francisco Bay Area. She has co-authored influential publications including Regulating Short-Term Rentals: A Guidebook for Equitable Policy, and Policies for Shareable Cities, a playbook for cities seeking to embrace grassroots sharing economies in the areas of transportation, food, housing, and work. Yassi received a B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies U.C. Berkeley (2011), and is currently reading the law to become a lawyer without going to law school. While a student, Yassi received numerous leadership awards and was proud to be part of a group of students who started Berkeley’s first student-run food collective.
Mary Jane Evans, Owner and CEO of Veritable Vegetable (VV), has over 35 years of management experience in the produce distribution industry. Mary Jane joined Veritable Vegetable in 1976, drawn to the complexity of the food system and the desire to support organic farmers and has directed VV’s growth from a small collective with $5,000 annual revenue, to a company of over 135 staff, and annual revenue of over $50 million. VV is the preferred distributer to California food co-ops.
Elizabeth Heins-van der Weide is a senior accountant in Wegner CPAs’ Assurance Department. Since joining the firm in January of 2013, she has worked on audits of non-profits, cooperatives, and employee benefit plans, giving her knowledge and experience of working with a variety of organizations. Elizabeth primarily works on audits, tax return preparation, and related engagements of cooperatives nationwide. She annually attends continuing professional education seminars on accounting, auditing, compliance, and tax issues, specifically concerning cooperatives.
Tim Huet, Attorney at Law and Co-founder, Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, a cooperative composed of seven member businesses: six cooperative bakeries and a development and support collective. As part of the Association’s Development & Support Cooperative, Tim participates in writing business plans, raising start-up capital, negotiating leases, and training workers in democratic business management; he also serves as in-house legal counsel. The Association is currently launching a repair/construction cooperative. Tim serves other cooperatives as an attorney as organizational trainer/consultant. Tim is Chair of CCCD’s Board of Directors. Tim completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and his law degree from UC Hastings College in San Francisco. He lives at a housing cooperative in Oakland.
Sushil Jacob represents consumer cooperatives, worker-owned cooperatives, internet-based platform coops, and business owners who want to transition their business to cooperative ownership. Prior to joining the Tuttle Law Group, Sushil worked at the East Bay Community Law Center, where he founded a legal clinic for cooperative development. Sushil received his J.D. in 2011 from Berkeley Law. Prior to attending law school, Sushil worked in India for two years on community economic development projects, including Just Change, a cooperative of small farmers and indigenous peoples groups in South India. Sushil serves on the board of the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
Christina Jennings Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative, a national CDFI loan fund specialized in financing cooperative businesses and housing. Shared Capital is democratically owned and governed by more than 200 cooperatives in 35 states. Since its founding in 1978 Shared Capital has provided financing to more than 800 cooperative projects. Christina has over 17 years of experience in community development and micro finance in the US and internationally. She holds an MA in Community and Economic Development and Management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a BA in Gender and International Development from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Georgia Kelly Founder and Executive Director, Praxis Peace Institute. She has produced several multi-day conferences in Europe and California and also leads groups for a week-long seminar at the Mondragón Cooperatives in Spain every year. Georgia creates educational programming for Praxis as well as leading workshops in Conflict Resolution. She is editor and co-author of Uncivil Liberties: Deconstructing Libertarianism, a critique of libertarian ideas and laissez-faire capitalism. She writes a blog on Huffington Post and enjoyed a previous career as a harpist, composer, and recording artist.
Ria Lancaster is a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and co-owner and board member at NursesCan, a platform co-op of LVNs that can be dispatched on-demand to patients’ homes through a mobile or online device. Ria and her co-owners founded the cooperative in 2016 with the support of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West. The purpose of the cooperative is to provide high quality jobs where LVNs can use their full set of skills and training, which is increasingly difficult in a hospital setting. As hospitals and clinics increase the amount of care they provide outside of the institutional setting, there is a market for LVNs to secure meaningful, dignified work by contracting with these institutions for home health services. The cooperative has started delivering on its first contract with a clinic system in south Los Angeles, and is currently in conversation with other potential institutional clients.
Alison Lingane is the Co-founder of Project Equity, a nonprofit which runs a Cooperative Business Incubator to support businesses transitioning to worker ownership. She started her career in community-based work, designing and leading micro-enterprise programs for urban youth. In the 15 years prior to co-founding Project Equity, she held leadership roles in mission-driven companies designed to have human impact at scale, including Benetech (where she built and launched their first product, a digital book service for individuals with reading disabilities), GreatSchools (the 6th largest parenting website), and InsideTrack (a venture-backed scaled services company delivering 1:1 coaching to students to increase college completion rates). Alison co-founded the world’s largest triple bottom line business plan competition (Global Social Venture Competition) while getting her MBA at the Haas School of Business. She brings her experiences of scaled human impact and business development together with her founding partner Hilary Abell—a national expert on worker coop development—to tackle the core economic issues of our times.
Sue López, a longtime San Francisco resident, has been a worker owner of Arizmendi Bakery 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset of San Francisco since 2000. In 2010 she worked with the DSC (Development Support Cooperative) to help open both Arizmendi San Rafael and Arizmendi Valencia bakeries. Recently Sue became a member of the DSC providing finance and organizational support for the Arizmendi Association, including the development of our newest endeavor, Cooperative Construction.
Marc Mascarenhas-Swan AORTA Collective, has many years of experience as a participant, facilitator, educator, and organizer in political collectives, housing cooperatives and squats, worker cooperatives, childcare collectives, and activist groups. He has organized and participated in many multi-racial, feminist, and left study groups to which he owes much of his political development. Marc has worked for over 20 years as a professional chef, and converted his long term catering business into a worker owned cooperative. He has two amazing kids that he tries to spend as much time as possible with. He really wishes that he liked to garden.
Bruce Mayer joined Wegner CPAs in 1988 and currently serves as a Partner in the Assurance Department, working primarily on audits of nonprofits, cooperatives, employee benefit plans and commercial businesses. With over twenty-seven years’ experience, Bruce performs audits of all kinds and provides consulting services on taxation of nonprofits and cooperatives. Bruce enjoys helping clients solve problems and providing clients advice on strategies to structure and record transactions to meet their needs within the relevant rules and regulations.
Annie McShiras is committed to strengthening the economic justice movement through her roles as investment associate, fundraiser, researcher, writer and organizer. Passionate about cooperative and democratic economics, Annie has been promoting movements for economic justice, the solidarity economy, and systems change for the past ten years. Annie has worked in organizations on issues ranging from worker cooperative development to homelessness prevention to impact investing. Prior to joining the Self-Help team as Investment Associate, Annie served as Director of Development and Strategic Growth at The Working World and as Development Director at the Responsible Endowments Coalition.
Michael McCary began his career in cooperatives in 2009 as a Utility Clerk at BriarPatch. In 2011 he became the Front End Manager and in 2016 the Assistant Operations and Customer Service Manager. In addition these roles, he has provided consulting support to various cooperatives around the country as a Front-End Systems Consultant for CDS Consulting Cooperative.
Sheella Mierson, founding member of The Sociocracy Consulting Group, LLC (www.sociocracyconsulting.com), is known for presentations that are engaging, thought-provoking, and fun. She helps organizations implement Sociocracy in support of their strategic goals, and to create adaptive and effective organizations where all members’ voices matter. In addition to being a Sociocracy Consultant, she is a Certified Facilitator for the Blueprint of We Collaboration Process, used to build trust, creativity, effortlessness, and resilience in relationships. Sheella has a long term interest in the cooperative movement and is delighted to present at this conference.
Morris Older has been involved with collectives, cooperative and non-profits for many years. A founder of Uprising Bakery in Berkeley, he helped produce organic Food For People, Not for Profit, serving in many capacities including as bookkeeper, and coordinate three national conferences of cooperative whole grain bakeries. As bookkeeper for Inkworks Press, he helped to supply posters, magazines, newsletter, mailings and much more for a wide variety of progressive groups in the Bay Area. Currently the bookkeeper for the San Francisco Mime Troup, he also serves on the Boards of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, Bay Area Barnes and Trails and is a project coordinator for Volunteers for Outdoor California, which maintains and builds trails in Bay Area parks and open spaces.
Brenda Latvala Pfahnl Director of Programs & Senior Loan Officer, Shared Capital Cooperative, a national CDFI loan fund specialized in financing cooperative businesses and housing. Shared Capital is democratically owned and governed by more than 200 cooperatives in 35 states. Since its founding in 1978 Shared Capital has provided financing to more than 800 cooperative projects. Brenda has over 20 years of experience in community development and cooperative finance in the US and Central America. She holds an MS in International Community Economic Development and an MBA with a concentration in Finance. She has worked with consumer, worker, producer and housing cooperatives across the United States.
Olivia M Rebanal is Director of Loan Programs at Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a CDFI that has deployed over $2 billion to serve 5 million people in our communities’ critical sectors: health care, education, elder communities, healthy food, cooperatives and affordable housing. Olivia manages CIP’s Healthy Food Financing strategy, initiatives and partnerships. Through programs like the California FreshWorks Fund, Michigan Good Food Fund, and the National Cooperative Grocer Fund, CIP increases access to affordable healthy food, supports neighborhood retailers, and expands food distribution, processing and production. Olivia was a lender within the CDFI community for over 10 years and holds an AB in Bio-Medical Ethics from Brown University and an MPA in Public Finance from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Stuart Reid Executive Director, Food Co-op Initiative (FCI), a non-profit providing technical assistance, information and resources to groups organizing new retail food co-ops across the United States. FCI’s mission is to promote the efficient and successful start-up of new retail food co-ops. Before taking on the leadership of FCI, Stuart served as the Food Co-op Development Specialist for Food Co-op 500, the pilot project that grew into FCI. Stuart has worked at five retail food co-ops in a variety of roles, served on several co-op boards, written for the Cooperative Grocer magazine, written and edited training manuals, and presented at workshops and conferences. Stuart holds a Lifetime Certified Purchasing Manager accreditation from the Institute for Supply Management where he was also recognized as top Membership Committee Chair of the region. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Howard Bowers award
Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, is author of Other Avenues Are Possible: Legacy of the People’s Food System of the San Francisco Bay Area which chronicles the collaborative efforts in the 1960’s and 1970’s for “Food For People: Not For Profit.” This movement to bring healthy food to The People, built a strong foundation for the cooperative business models today. Shanta is a founding member of Other Avenues Natural Food Cooperative, a worker cooperative that has served San Francisco for over three decades. Worker-owners of Other Avenues govern the business with direct democracy using a consensus model of decision making and actively supports sustainable organic agriculture. Other Avenues has become a thriving business, largely due to its deep connection with the surrounding community. The coop publishes a quarterly newsletter, has an active website, and provides community space for educational events about nutrition, cooking, health and sustainability. In return, the community supports Other Avenues by shopping there regularly and enthusiastically contributing to projects such as solarizing the coop.
Karen Salinger is a second-generation native to San Francisco, began her career in the produce industry in 1978. After three years at Veritable Vegetable, Karen took a ten-year leave to launch her own fresh salsa business, selling salsa in six western states. She returned to Veritable Vegetable in 1991 as Sales Manager and later as Co-Owner and Sales Director, positions she still holds today. As an organic produce distributor with over 40 years of experience, Veritable Vegetable purchases, transports and supplies the highest quality organic fruits, vegetables and fresh perishables. Veritable Vegetable builds an equitable food system by supporting organic farmers, increasing access to fresh produce, strengthening communities, and cultivating a fair and dynamic workplace. The organization is unique in their commitment to make every business decision based on core values. Veritable Vegetable is a certified B Corporation, using the power of business to solve social and environmental challenges. Veritable Vegetable's Sales Department consists of a team of ten Account Managers, who maintain over 400 accounts in six states. The company keeps its green fleet of trucks on the road seven days a week, 365 days a year, and distributes organic fruits and vegetables in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.
Kate “Sassy” Sassoon is the founder of Sassy Facilitation, a consultancy which provides facilitation, education, mediation, and group process design to innovative organizations. In her 20 years of membership in various democratically owned and run organizations, Sassy has seen many faces of the co-op sector, including: housing, childcare, worker-owned enterprises, arts and manufacturing collectives, and intentional communities. She strives to bring lucidity, productivity, and humor to her classes and her clients. You can download free tools, learn more about co-ops, and explore Sassy's work at www.sassycooperates.org .
Estee Segal is a Loan Officer, Capital Impact Partners, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution with a 30-year history delivering strategic financing, social innovation programs and capacity building to create social change and deliver financial impact nationwide. Estee is based in Portland, Oregon, where she focuses on lending to non-profits in the healthcare, education, healthy foods, and cooperative sectors. Prior to Capital Impact, she worked as a project manager and lender for the city of Portland for over 10 years, managing complex, mixed-use, mixed-income real estate projects in the urban core. Estee has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BA in Economics & Social Science from the University of Michigan.
Victoria Sprong, caregiver coordinator at Circe of Life Caregiver Cooperative in Bellingham, Wash., began working as a caregiver when she was a young, single mother. She found empowerment, stability and leadership opportunities by joining a cooperative.
Sara Stephens, Housing and Cooperatives Attorney, Sustainable Economies Law Center. Sara provides legal support to worker cooperatives and also leads the center’s effort to create and implement a model city ordinance to support worker cooperative development. Sara coordinates Co-opLaw.org, a legal resource library for cooperatives, as well as Think Outside the Boss, a legal workshop for cooperative start-ups. As a Housing Program Co-Director, Sara facilitates policy advocacy, education, and client support for more just and affordable housing, at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Sara received a J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2014. Prior to attending law school, Sara supported community organizing and environmental justice efforts in Bangkok, Thailand and Pomona, California.
Stephen Switzer is a co-founder of ABC Bookkeeping Cooperative. Stephen has extensive experience with cooperatives, non-profits, and small businesses. Stephen holds a B.A. in Geography from Middlebury College and is pursuing a M.S. in Accountancy at Baruch College. Stephen has been living and working in cooperatives for the last 15 years. Outside of crunching numbers, he is a co-owner of the community health center Thirdroot. Stephen comes from a family of accounting professionals, and continues this work because quality accounting is crucial for organizational success.
Karen Tiedemann is a partner with Goldfarb and Lipman Law firm, where she practices in the areas of real estate transactions, affordable housing, nonprofit organization, and environmental law. She has formed many limited equity cooperatives, and represents numerous housing cooperatives, providing advice on compliance with Davis-Stirling, limited equity cooperative law, HUD financing, Department of Real Estate regulations, and other laws and regulations impacting cooperatives. Karen has served on CCCD’s Board of Directors since 2008. Her affordable housing work includes advising clients on compliance with fair housing laws. Ms. Tiedemann is a frequent speaker on housing cooperatives, relocation, and fair housing issues. She is also Karen is co-author of Between the Lines: A Question & Answer Guide on Legal Issues in Supportive Housing and A Legal Guide to California Redevelopment. Karen's education includes an A.B. from the University of California, Berkeley. J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, Order of the Coif honors; she also holds a Masters in City Planning from University of California, Berkeley.
Thérèse C. Tuttle specializes in the representation of California consumer cooperatives, agricultural cooperatives and worker cooperatives. She also advises clients on business formation and estate planning matters. In 2000, she founded Tuttle & Van Knonynenburg, LLP, a firm focused on cooperative and agricultural law, with her law partner Frank Van Konynenburg; in 2001 the firm successfully defended the 400 members of Tri Valley Growers, a processing cooperative, from claims of creditors in the cooperative’s bankruptcy. Prior to founding the firm, she worked for California Farmers Union and served as Director of Cooperative and Economic Development for National Farmer’s Union, managing cooperative project requests from 23 state-based member organizations. In 2013, she drafted amendments to California’s cooperative law that enabled preferred-share financing and capitalization of cooperatives. She has spoken on this topic at annual meetings of the California Center for Cooperative Development and has been awarded USDA’s “Great Cooperator” Award. She serves on the non-profits committee of the California State Bar Association.