Among the conference tracks we’ll be presenting this year are housing, consumer, worker, and multi-stakeholder. A number of workshops will be presented in Spanish or offer Spanish translation. Workshops will focus on the following general areas:
- Building the Cooperative Ecosystem: topics include promoting co-ops as tools for economic development and social equity, current local and state policy efforts, and trends in co-op conversions.
- Co-op Start-up and Management: topics range from member engagement and growth to governance, communications, and ownership culture.
- Legal and Financing: topics include navigating common legal challenges, entity creation, and approaches for raising capital. MCLE credit is offered for select workshops.
Building the Cooperative Ecosystem
One Person, One Vote: Emergence and Success through the Practice of Democracy - Mary Sutton, Collective REMAKE
From Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Lafayette, Louisiana; from Mondragon, Spain, to San Francisco, California; from Los Angeles, California to Naples, Italy, this mind map presentation reviews an extensive 200-year history of the origins, intersections, and philosophy of successful cooperative enterprises around the world. We’ll touch on the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the southeast United States and the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the growing network of social cooperatives in Europe. Be ready to not only explore the lesser known histories of some of the most prominent global co-ops but to also discuss how their experiences can support the advancement of younger co-ops. Attendees will participate in an inquiry exercise to incorporate their knowledge into the presentation.
Co-op Start-up and Management
Have No Fear! Co-op Finances for Worker-owners - Daniella Preisler, MAPU Cooperative Development Consultants, and Deb Goldberg, Independent Consultant
Using popular education and interactive tools, this workshop will dive into a mix of essential financial activities that LLC members and developers need to pursue for the operation of a successful co-op. Content will touch on financial tracking and reporting, member training, start-up and feasibility, reserve needs, owner equity accounts and taxation, and tax preparation. Our aim is to help you increase your knowledge and resources on these topics so you can avoid pitfalls that might affect the healthy development of your business. Come with questions as we’ll be leaving time for discussion! This workshop will be presented in Spanish.
Organizational Culture: Creation and Maintenance - Kate Sassoon, Sassy Facilitation
The culture of our organizations is the primary road map we follow when participating in our group endeavors. It is the container which tells us 'how we do things here' for literally everything we do. In this workshop, we excavate the functions of culture in our organizations, identify sites where it is reproduced, and troubleshoot culture transmission models. We'll explore the challenges and opportunities in your organization's culture, and equip participants to engage with culture as a tool for creating and maintaining organizational excellence.
Managing Uncooperative Behavior - Kate Sassoon, Sassy Facilitation
Uncooperative behavior runs the gamut from breaking small group-process rules to outright criminal actions. When that behavior begins to negatively affect the health and/or existence of a member, a work-team, the organization, or the community as a whole, your group has a big, and often urgent, problem. In this workshop, we break it all down, and co-create a proactive plan to prevent, manage, and recover from the effects of uncooperative behavior in our communities. This workshop will be translated into Spanish.
Self-care for Collective Well-being and Solidarity - Mayerling Castillo and Daniella Preisler, MAPU Cooperative Development Consultants
Gathering together during this workshop, we will open a space of trust for exploring accessible self-care tools and healthy lifestyle habits. Through dynamic and interactive activities, you will be able to analyze the evolutionary stages of individual well-being. Our objective will be to invite reflection on how to integrate self-care practices and tools into your workplaces to achieve collective well-being and solidarity. This workshop will be presented in Spanish.
Organizing Ourselves to Get Things Done: An Introduction to Sociocracy - Sheella Mierson, The Sociocracy Consulting Group
Learn about an innovative and deeply democratic way to run organizations and meetings. Sociocracy is a whole-systems approach to decision-making, governance, and project management applied by many worker and consumer co-ops. It creates more inclusive, resilient, and effective organizations in which all stakeholders have a voice in the policies that affect their work. In this experiential workshop, you’ll understand how to run more productive meetings, free up individual creativity and initiative, and streamline decision-making.
Legal and Financing
Tax and Accounting Considerations for Cooperative Conversions and Start-ups - Bruce Mayer, Wegner CPAs
When converting an existing business to a co-op or starting a new co-op, there are a number of tax and accounting issues to navigate which are important to ensuring a smooth launch of your enterprise. Conversions require a review of the tax consequences for the owner, the existing business structure, and the desired co-op structure. In a start-up, the final step of establishing a co-op entity is the key issue. This workshop will include a review of the features of various co-op structures and identify how to arrive at these structures. The tax attributes of several types of co-ops will be highlighted in addition to the differences between co-ops and other traditional businesses. MCLE pending approval.
Navigating the Legal Landscape of Mobile Home Park Conversions to Limited-Equity Housing Cooperatives - Karen Tiedemann and Jeff Streiffer, Goldfarb & Lipman
According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California contains 5,257 active mobile home and RV parks with over 450,000 lots. Of these parks, fewer than 200 are resident-owned. A limited-equity housing cooperative can preserve affordable housing while also avoiding the type of exploitation caused by private speculators purchasing these communities. This workshop will outline the legal considerations for park owners who are seeking to convert their park into a limited-equity housing cooperative, and highlight some of the legal traps and challenges in the process. Mobile Home Residency Law, Limited-Equity Housing Cooperative Statutes, Homeowner's Association Law (Davis-Stirling), and Department of Real Estate regulations will be integrated into our discussion. MCLE pending approval.
Getting the Green Without Getting in Trouble - Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
How do you raise money for a cooperative? This workshop provides cooperative entrepreneurs, members, and technical assistance providers with an introduction to the legal hurdles businesses encounter when trying to raise money for their cooperative. In this training, we cover what laws co-ops should understand before raising money for their business, what a security is and why you should care, and what alternative ways exist for funding the growth and operations of a cooperative. MCLE pending approval.
Think Outside the Boss: When to Form a Legal Entity for Your Cooperative - Ricardo Nuñez, Sustainable Economies Law Center
Think Outside the Boss provides community members an introduction to the nuts and bolts of starting and running a worker cooperative. We go over legal issues in an accessible way to help you understand the relationships between cooperatives, employment, and community wealth-building. In this session, we’ll cover cooperative principles and values, what a legal entity is and why you should form one, and what options exist for worker cooperatives and multi-stakeholder cooperatives with a worker-owner membership class. MCLE pending approval.