Manager, Global Citizenship and Strategic Planning, John Deere
Geoff Andersen was raised in the Kansas City area and began working for a local agri-business consulting company during high school and college internships. In 1989, he joined ARI Network Services, Inc., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, spending 10 years with the provider of technology solutions to agribusiness and equipment channels. When Deere & Company acquired AGRIS in 1999, Anderson began serving as director of John Deere Information Systems, where he led a reorganization and helmed the company for seven years. In 2006, he assumed the leadership of John Deere’s Frontier Business Unit based in the Agricultural Marketing Center in Lenexa, Kansas. In 2009, he accepted additional responsibilities for establishing strategic partnering units in Deere markets around the world. Anderson became Manager of Global Citizenship and Strategic Planning at John Deere in 2012. In this capacity, he leads the globalization of citizenship programs and investments to align with the company’s growth aspirations. A significant focus area is creating self-sustaining agricultural development models in Sub-Saharan Africa. Anderson holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University.
Senior Director, Knowledge Exchange Division, CoBank
Terry Barr, a nationally recognized agricultural economist, is Senior Director for CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division, an information- and knowledge-sharing initiative created in 2009. Previously, Barr served as Chief Economist for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, DC. Prior to joining NCFC, he held several positions during a 14-year tenure at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He served as chairman of the World Agricultural Outlook Board, which is responsible for coordinating USDA's commodity forecasts and for publishing its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Barr has also served in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture as director of economic analysis, where he prepared economic analyses and assessments of the impacts of alternative farm policy options and decisions. Barr holds a doctorate in economics from Washington State University.
Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund
Cornelius Blanding is Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. He has more than 10 years of experience managing diverse, rural development projects that include recruitment, volunteer mobilization and measurement and evaluation. Prior to serving as the Federation’s Director of Marketing and International Development, Blanding was a development project manager for nearly a decade, spearheading special initiatives in Africa, the Caribbean and the southern U.S., including disaster relief initiatives after Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Blanding also directed a U.S. Department of Labor funded rural workforce development project, and headed a project with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on conservation practices and easements for Federation member farmers. Blanding works closely with the Federation’s Cooperative Development Team in nationally and internationally promoting the cooperative movement.
President and CEO, CBI Global Inc.
David Brown is President & CEO of CBI Global Inc., a Westerville, Ohio-based company focused on sustainable agriculture and serving customers in the areas of niche tropical commodities. Before joining CBI in March 2017, Brown served as Vice President of Commodity Price and Risk Management for Mondelez International. With a global commodities portfolio in excess of $6 billion, Brown and his team provided strategy and execution for Mondelez’s commodity risk profile in concert with its go-to-market strategy for its world class consumer food products. Brown’s background in commodities trading and supply chain management spans leadership roles in leading organizations such as Ingredion, Sara Lee Corp and ConAgra Foods. From feed ingredient P&L management to end-to-end integrated supply chain responsibilities, Brown has either directly traded or managed organizations involved in nearly all grain-based, soft commodity, energy, specialty food ingredients and foreign exchange over the course of his three-decade career dedicated exclusively to food and agribusiness. A native of Decatur, Illinois, Brown holds a BS in Agriculture from the University of Illinois, as well as an MBA from Auburn University. He is active at both universities as a member of their respective alumni advisory boards. He also recently served as Vice Chairman of Advancement for the Board of Directors of Loaves and Fishes Community Services—a Naperville, Illinois based organization that enables local resident to escape hunger and poverty.
Director, Business Ownership Solutions
Rob Brown is the Director of Business Ownership Solutions (BOS), a program of the Cooperative Development Institute that promotes employee ownership and works with business owners and their employees to facilitate conversions. He was part of the advisory group that successfully converted three retail businesses into the Island Employee Cooperative, which is now the largest worker co-op in Maine and the second largest in New England. He has also organized mobile home park residents to convert investor-owned parks into resident-owned cooperatives. Brown participates in several national networks promoting the strategy of employee ownership conversion and best practices in the field, including as a 2015 DAWI Cooperative Developer Fellow and as a member of the Workers to Owners Collaborative. He studied economic development policy at the University of Maine and College of the Atlantic, and has a diverse background in policy research, advocacy and organizing, as well as non-profit and for-profit business development. Over the years, he has been a featured speaker at many national events, including as a William Jefferson Clinton Distinguished Lecturer at the Clinton Presidential Library and School of Public Service. Brown lives with his wife and son in Northport, Maine.
Vice President for Policy Programs, Aspen Institute
Maureen Conway is Vice President for Policy Programs at the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program (EOP). Conway founded EOP’s Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI) and has headed up workforce research at the Aspen Institute since 1999. She leads a team of researchers and consultants in a variety of initiatives to identify and advance strategies that help low-income Americans gain ground in today’s labor market. A featured speaker at numerous national and regional conferences, she is a nationally recognized expert in industry-specific workforce development and has been quoted in a variety of news media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Journal and National Public Radio’s Marketplace. Under her leadership, EOP’s Workforce Strategies Initiative has investigated the outcomes of sectoral workforce development, provided innovation seed grants to leading programs in order to illuminate promising practices and explored key operating features of programs in specific industry sectors. Recently, Maureen led the creation of the Working in America and Reinventing Low Wage Work speaker series at the Aspen Institute, bringing together voices from business, worker advocacy, media, academia and others to discuss the challenges experienced by many in today’s labor markets and new ideas for addressing these challenges.
Chief Operating Officer for International Programs, NCBA CLUSA
Amy Coughenour Betancourt
Amy Coughenour Betancourt is NCBA CLUSA’s Chief Operating Officer for International Programs. She oversees a $220 million portfolio in 19 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia in the areas of food security and nutrition, cooperative development, agriculture and resilience, civil society and community strengthening, and democracy and governance, focused on building the capacities of vulnerable populations, including women and youth. Prior to joining NCBA CLUSA, Coughenour served for nine years as the Deputy Director of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), working in over 20 countries on social and economic development and disaster response efforts. She serves on the boards of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council and Interaction, the premier INGO association in the United States. She recently served as Executive Committee member of the International Co-operative Alliance Board of the Americas Region. She also was a board member of Cooperative Business International (CBI Global) and a donor advisor for the Cooperative Development Foundation’s Innovation Fund. She has also served in a number of leadership and volunteer positions for community-based organizations serving girls, immigrants and low-income populations. Coughenour holds an master's degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a bachelor's degree in German from Central College in Pella, Iowa.
President and CEO, Humentum
As president and CEO of Humentum, Tom Dente is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s strategy and ensuring its overall performance as Humentum evolves to support the needs of its members, clients, customers and partners in a changing and dynamic sector. Before the merger of InsideNGO with LINGOs and Mango to create Humentum, Dente had been serving as InsideNGO’s President and CEO since early 2016. He joined InsideNGO in January 2011 as Chief Operating Officer. Dente has worked extensively in assisting global organizations to realize their full potential. He was previously a partner at both Bain & Company and A.T. Kearney, two leading global management consulting firms, where he worked with senior leaders on strategy development, organizational effectiveness, and performance improvement in a 20+ year career as a management consultant. Dente currently serves on the board of directors for InterAction, the alliance of more than 180 U.S.-based NGOs, as well as the board of directors for PM4NGOs, a global nonprofit focusing on project management in the development sector.
Director, U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund
Annie Donovan, Director of the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, has deep roots in community development and finance. She was most recently CEO of CoMetrics, a social enterprise that provides high quality, affordable business intelligence tools to co-ops, small businesses and nonprofits seeking to improve financial management, better measure their social impact, and increase their capacity for innovation. Prior to CoMetrics, Donovan was Senior Policy Advisor to the White House, working collaboratively with the Office of Social Innovation and the Council on Environmental Quality. She was part of a team focused on advancing impact investing, social enterprise and impact data as key strategies for improving the social sector. Donovan has also served as COO of Capital Impact Partners, a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a 30-year history delivering strategic financing, social innovation programs and capacity building to create social change and deliver financial impact nationwide. Donovan is also a thought leader and has been a board member of many of the highest performing organizations in the community development sector, including serving as President of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition. She has published papers and articles for the National Academy for Public Administration, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Forbes, and the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. She has an undergraduate degree in Economics and an MBA in Finance.
President and CEO, National Information Solutions Cooperative
Vern Dosch is President and CEO of the nearly fifty-year-old technology business National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC). An industry leader in providing advanced, integrated IT solutions, NISC develops and supports technology solutions that enable its member-owners to excel in customer service, maximize diversification opportunities and compete effectively in the changing utility and telecommunications industries. The compelling story of NISC’s three-pronged approach to success—the cooperative business model, servant leadership and shared values—is the subject of Dosch’s 2015 book, Wired Differently. Before assuming the role of President and CEO at NISC, Dosch served as its General Manager. From 1986 to 1993, he served as Business Manager of NISC. Prior to that, he served as General Manager of North Central Data Cooperative (NCDC) for seven years. From 1979 to 1985, he was employed with Basin Electric Cooperative in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he served as a Financial Analyst and a Leverage Lease Management Analyst. His utility business career began in 1975 with a distribution cooperative in Bismarck. Dosch holds a bachelor’s degree in Science and a master’s degree in Management from the University of Mary in Bismark.
Executive Director, Cooperative Development Services
Kevin Edberg is the Executive Director of Cooperative Development Services, a nonprofit organization providing organizational and business development support to new and existing co-ops in the Upper Midwest. Over the past 17 years, his work has included a focus on creating regional and national systems of development, with particular attention to issues of revenue diversification including federal, state and foundation grants, fee for service, and tax-advantaged philanthropic gifts. Edberg believes passionately in the ability of people to address important personal and community issues through cooperative action. He has provided leadership to a number of boards in the non-profit, cooperative and public sectors, including CooperationWorks!; the MSC Fund of the Cooperative Development Foundation; Food Alliance; and 28 years of elected service on the school board and city council in his home town of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Senior Vice President, Land O' Lakes International Development
John Ellenberger leads the Land O’Lakes International Development organization, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1981 by Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies and a member-owned cooperative based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills, Minnesota. He assumed the role in January 2017 after leading U.S. Dairy Foods and dairy foods teams since 2008. Before joining Land O’Lakes, Ellenberger led corporate marketing at American Medical Systems and spent 15 years in various marketing leadership roles at General Mills. Ellenberger serves on the boards of ServeMinnesota and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Managing Director, Specialty Finance Division, National Cooperative Bank
Ann Fedorchak is the Managing Director of the Specialty Finance Division at the National Cooperative Bank (NCB). Since 2011, Fedorchak has lead the Specialty Finance Business Unit to develop and implement NCB’s cooperative and community development strategy with a focus on cooperatives, healthcare, nonprofit, education and affordable housing. Fedorchak joined NCB as a Vice President in 1994 to develop the bank’s senior living business portfolio which included creating relationships with leading financial institutions, and building portfolios for not-for-profit continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and assisted living and skilled nursing providers. In 2006, Fedorchak was named Senior Vice President of Mission Banking to provide overall coordination, oversight and strategic planning for business activities across the NCB Financial Group serving low and moderate income and underserved communities, and fostering cooperative expansion and development. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in Finance and concentration in Economics.
Executive Vice President, Regional Agribusiness Banking Group, CoBank
Amy H. Gales
As head of the Regional Agribusiness Banking Group, Amy Gales is responsible for the bank’s middle market U.S. agricultural cooperative customers and lending relationships with Agricultural Credit Associations. She oversees the delivery of credit and other financial services to these customers, and is in charge of building CoBank’s business relationships with Farm Credit System partners. Gales is a member of CoBank's Management Executive Committee and serves on the Farm Credit Leasing board. Prior to assuming this role, Gales was responsible for managing the agribusiness lending operations of CoBank’s Central Region, supporting lending in eight Midwestern states. She began her career with the former St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives, working directly with local cooperative customers in a variety of positions over a 14-year period. Subsequently she served as the chief executive officer of a grain and farm supply co-op in southern Minnesota and as executive director of an agricultural development center in South Dakota. She returned to banking in 2002, working in leadership posts at both Commerce Bank and Wells Fargo. She returned to CoBank in 2007 as regional vice president in the Minneapolis banking center. Gales also serves on the Retirement Trust Committee that oversees the retirement programs for CoBank and several other affiliated Farm Credit partners. She is a member of the board of directors of Food Bank of the Rockies and serves on its executive and audit committees.
Executive Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center
Diane Gasaway is the Executive Director for the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC). NWCDC is a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting new and existing cooperative businesses, from daycare centers to renewable energy. The Center's primary focus is cooperative education and business development. Gasaway became involved with the cooperative movement in 2000 through her work with the Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association (WRECA) as their Office Manager/Legislative Assistant. In 2003, she joined NWCDC. Since then, the organization has grown from two to ten employees, tremendously increasing its capacity to provide technical assistance to new and existing cooperative business ventures. Prior to WRECA, Gasaway spent 13 years in the banking industry. She received her Masters of Public Administration program from The Evergreen State College.
Associate Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, Department of Africana Studies, John Jay College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Jessica Gordon Nembhard
A cooperative ambassador, political economist and community economic development expert, Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014). The result of 15 years of incisive research, the book solidifies Gordon Nembhard as a historian of cooperative empowerment and transformation within low-income and minority communities. Gordon Nembhard is Associate Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, City University of New York (CUNY); Director of John Jay's McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program; and an affiliate scholar with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is also a 2016 inductee to the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
Research Director, U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council
Judith Hermanson Ogilvie
Judith Hermanson Ogilvie, PhD, is the Research Director of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) where she designs, supports and advises on original cooperative development research across sectors. OCDC's research seeks to provide evidence-based findings meant to inform both national and global cooperative policy and on-the-ground practice. She is also President and CEO of IHC Global (formerly the International Housing Coalition), a global membership coalition for education, awareness and advocacy focused on meeting the challenges of rapid urban growth and urban inequality. With 30 years of international experience in both the development and humanitarian space, her sector specialties include cooperative development in rural and urban contexts. Her expertise includes community-based development, participatory approaches and civic engagement, gender and equity, and program design and aid effectiveness. She is a graduate of Smith College and holds advanced degrees from George Washington University.
Founding Executive Director, Democracy at Work Institute
Melissa Hoover is the founding Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute, the think-and-do-tank that expands worker cooperatives as a strategy to address economic and racial inequality. A leader in the worker ownership movement for over 15 years, Melissa helped start and grow the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the national grassroots membership organization for worker-owned businesses. She was a cooperative business developer for many years with the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives in Oakland, doing business and capital planning, training cooperative members, and serving as CFO in the first year of each startup's operations. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of The ICA Group/Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, The Working World and Safe Passages, and serves as a strategic advisor to foundations, investors, nonprofits, unions, local governments and other organizations that want to incorporate worker ownership into their economic development and community wealth-building programs.
Associate Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Brent Hueth is associate professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he directs the Center for Cooperatives and Federal Statistical Research Data Center. His teaching focuses on cooperative organizations, agricultural markets and applied microeconomics. Hueth is currently leading research projects on cooperative governance, behavior and performance, and on the economic impact of cooperatives on the U.S. economy. Other recent research topics have included incentive pay for CEOs in cooperative firms; cooperative conversions, failures and restructurings; and the role of the cooperative bargaining association. His research has been published by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Journal of Regulatory Economics, among others. After receiving his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland-College Park, Hueth spent two years at the University of California-Berkeley as a Research Economist. He was an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University for eight years prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Associate Director, The ICA Group
Camille joined The ICA Group as its Associate Director in June of 2016, where she partners with community-based organizations, labor unions and worker centers, local governments, CDFIs and other organizations to design and implement scale-oriented business development initiatives to effect meaningful change for low-wage workers and the communities where they live. Since its founding, ICA has helped start more thirty worker co-ops and social enterprises, helped dozens of companies convert to worker ownership, and saved or created over 10,000 jobs. Previously, Kerr worked at the Democracy at Work Institute and the National Center for Employee Ownership. She writes and speaks frequently on ESOPs, worker cooperatives, democratic governance, platform cooperatives and other topics related to alternative ownership structures. She earned a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College Of Law, where she graduated cum laude.
Executive Vice President, Member and Association Relations, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Martin Lowery is Executive Vice President of Member and Association Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Prior to being named Executive Vice President, he was Manager of NRECA’s Consulting, Training and Market Research Division. Lowery has been employed with NRECA since 1982. Previous experience includes five years as manager of the Engineering and Technical Services Division for a Washington-based management consulting firm. In 2014, he was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, the highest honor that the U.S. cooperative community bestows on people who have made heroic contributions to the cooperative community. Lowery serves on the board of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International. He is chair of National Cooperative Bank's Board of Directors and also serves on the Executive Committee of the Consumer Federation of America Board. He is the elected U.S. representative to the International Co-operative Alliance Board of Directors. Lowery received a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) degree from DePaul University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Duke University.
President and CEO, Opportunity Finance Network
Lisa Mensah is President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, the leading national network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). A veteran leader of economic development, Mensah's experience includes serving as the Under Secretary of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and leadership positions at the Aspen Institute, Ford Foundation and Citi. As Under Secretary of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mensah managed a loan portfolio of $215 billion, directing annual investments of $30 billion in critical infrastructure for rural America, and generating $120 million in private grants and loan guarantees for persistently poor communities in rural America. She achieved record levels of productivity by developing new partnerships with private and philanthropic partners. During her tenure, she also worked to provide 40-year capital for CDFIs serving rural communities through the USDA’s Community Facilities Relending Program.
Principal, Mahoney Consulting, LLC
Rosemary Mahoney works as a consultant on international cooperative development projects as well as on nonprofit and cooperative business development projects in the U.S. She is the former CEO of CoMetrics and currently serves as a Senior Adviser with the company. She was a founding partner of MainStreet Cooperative Group, LLC, director of New Venture Development for Cooperative Solutions, LLC, executive director of Cooperative Development Services (CDS) and Regional Director for Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. At present, Mahoney serves on the board of directors for National Co+op Grocers, the National Cooperative Grocers Development Cooperative, Thanexus, Inc., KBF, LLC, The Cooperative Foundation, CoMetrics and Capital Impact Partners. She currently serves as Board Chair for both CoMetrics and Capital Impact Partners. Mahoney formerly served on the boards of directors of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, the National Cooperative Bank, Cooperative Development Institute and CooperationWorks!. She was raised on a family farm in the Midwest and has her master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois.
Co-director, Cooperative Conversions, Democracy at Work Institute
Joe Marraffino is the Co-director of the Cooperative Conversions Program at the Democracy at Work Institute. Before joining DAWI, Marraffino served as the Finance Manager for the 12,000 member GreenStar Cooperative Market in Ithaca, New York, a $20 million consumer-owned grocery. Previously he was a worker-owner of Arizmendi Bakery in San Francisco and worked as a business developer for the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives to help launch two new worker-owned bakeries. Marraffino was a founding organizer of the New York Cooperative Network and the Democracy at Work Network. He has sat on the board of the California Center for Cooperative Development and the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives. He has a master's degree in Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Communities from the New College of California.
Founder and Director, The Working World
Brendan Martin is Founder and Director of The Working World, a cooperative financial institution and business incubator based in Argentina, Nicaragua, and the U.S. Martin moved to Argentina in 2004 to work with a group of Argentines in support of the “recovered factory” phenomenon, which spurred the launch of The Working World. Despite dire predictions of investing in the recovered factory movement, The Working World achieved a 98 percent return rate across over 715 loans—all with repayments only from profit sharing and without guarantees. This experience demonstrated both that grassroots cooperative movements can be economically viable and that finance can be non-extractive. After this success, Martin helped open a second branch in Nicaragua in 2009, followed by another in the U.S. in 2012. The same grassroots cooperative efforts have proven effective in the context of the U.S., where The Working World has already funded 20+ cooperatives, including New Era Windows. Martin is a 2009 Ashoka fellow, a two-time Ashoka Globalizer, a 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellow, a nominated Prime Mover, and a frequent speaker on the solidarity and cooperative economy.
Academic Director, Cooperative Management Education Program, Saint Mary's University
Dr. Sonja Novkovic is the Chair of the International Co-operative Alliance's Committee on Co-operative Research. She is the Academic Director in the Co-operative Management Education Program and Professor of Economics at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, and engages in research and teaching on cooperative and self-managed firms, social economy and comparative economic systems. Her edited books include Co-operative Innovations in China and the West (Palgrave MacMillan 2014), Co-operatives in a Post Growth Era (ZED books 2014) and Co-operatives for Sustainable Communities: Tools to Measure Co-operative Impact and Performance (U.Sask. Press, 2015). In 2015 she co-edited a study for the International Co-operative Alliance titled Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity.
Vice President of Global Sustainability and Packaging Innovation, McCormick
Michael Okoroafor is currently Vice President of Global Sustainability and Packaging Innovation for McCormick. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic direction, policies, development and execution of agricultural, ingredient, product and packaging sustainability, as well as packaging innovation capabilities globally. Prior to this role, he was Vice President of Global Packaging Innovation and responsible for creating an aligned global packaging function focused on execution of new platforms that drove both innovation and efficiency goals across all business units, and highlighting the importance of packaging as critical lever for growth. Most of this work culminated in McCormick being named as transformational company of the year by Packaging World. Previously he was Vice President for Packaging R&D at H.J. Heinz Company. In that role, he was responsible for setting overall global strategy and direction for the packaging organization, as well as leading the External Innovation Organization across North America. Under his leadership, Heinz launched several major packaging initiatives including; Dip N’ Squeeze, the first major change to the condiment pouch in the foodservice industry in over 40 years, which won the 2011 DuPont Award for Packaging Innovation. He led Heinz strategic partnership with Coca Cola to launch PlantBottle™, a revolutionary plastic that is 30 percent plant-derived. This partnership between Coca Cola and Heinz continues to be a model for collaboration in the CPG industry. His work also culminated in Heinz being named the 2011 Food Packager of the Year. Okoroafor is a veteran keynote speaker at major global conferences.
U.S. House of Representatives, Maine's 1st District
Rep. Chellie Pingree
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) serves Maine’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of NCBA CLUSA’s Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. A farmer and small business owner turned state senator, in 2008 Rep. Pingree was elected to Congress from Maine’s 1st Congressional District. She currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving on the Subcommittee on Agriculture and the Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. An advocate in Congress for reforming federal policy to better support the diverse range of American agriculture—including sustainable, organic and locally focused farming—many of Rep. Pingree’s provisions were part of the 2014 Farm Bill. Rep. Pingree will speak during our Legislative Breakfast from 8 – 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 5, sponsored by CHS, Inc.
Program Officer, Capital Impact Partners
Alison Powers is a Program Officer at Capital Impact Partners, a national Community Development Financial Institution that invests capital and commitment to help people and communities break the barriers to success. As part of its larger mission-driven efforts, Capital Impact encourages co-op development, with a focus on how co-ops can better support low-income communities. As Program Officer for cooperatives, Alison works to amplify the potential of the co-op model for all people through technical assistance, grant funding, and financing for capital projects. Prior to Capital Impact, Alison spent 10 years Director of Member Services and Grants Manager at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, where she helped create and sustain low-income cooperative housing in New York City.
Senior Economist, Credit Union National Association
Jordan van Rijn
Jordan van Rijn is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds two master’s degrees in Applied Economics (UW-Madison) and International Affairs (UC-San Diego). He is currently Senior Economist at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the largest and most influential trade association advocating for America’s credit unions. There are nearly 6,000 credit unions nationwide with 110 million memberships and $1.3 trillion in assets. Prior to joining CUNA, van Rijn worked as a Senior Loan Officer for ACCION in New Mexico (a non-profit small-business lender) and as a Colombia-based Research Associate for ideas42 (a nonprofit organization that focuses on using behavioral economics to solve society’s most difficult problems). Van Rijn's current research interests include using techniques and insights from behavioral and experimental economics to better understand the motivations behind charitable behavior, and to design better financial products for credit unions and microfinance organizations.
Councilmember, New York City's 6th District
Councilmember Helen Rosenthal
Councilmember Rosenthal represents New York City’s Upper West Side and recently won reelection. She is a leading voice for people with disabilities and on issues of affordable housing, green energy and civic engagement. She will join our Thursday afternoon panel with mayors and city leaders, “Harnessing Co-ops for Local Impact.” Elected to City Council in 2013, Councilmember Rosenthal is a strong advocate for worker cooperatives. In 2015, she co-sponsored a bill requiring the Department of Small Business Services to report on how it engages with and supports cooperative enterprise. The bill came shortly after New York City invested $1.2 million the development of worker cooperatives citywide.
Scholar in Residence of Media Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder
Nathan Schneider is a Scholar in Residence of Media Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder and a reporter who writes about religion, technology and resistance. His current project is an exploration of models for democratic ownership and governance for online platforms in the wake of a major conference he co-organized at the New School in 2015, Platform Cooperativism. He is the author of two books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both published by University of California Press. His articles have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The Catholic Worker, Religion Dispatches and other outlets. He writes a column for America, a national Catholic weekly, as well as a finance column for Vice magazine. Media appearances have included The Takeaway, Democracy Now, On Being, HuffPost Live and The Brian Lehrer Show. As an editor, Schneider co-founded the news website Waging Nonviolence and helped relaunch the online literary magazine Killing the Buddha. He has also helped organize projects with the Social Science Research Council about religion and media since 2008, including The Immanent Frame and Frequencies. Schneider holds two degrees in religious studies, a master’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.
Vice President for Strategy Development, NCBA CLUSA
Alex Serrano is the Vice President for Strategy Development at NCBA CLUSA. In this role, he oversees NCBA CLUSA’s business development and technical assistance activities. Serrano’s areas of expertise include training of trainers, cooperative business development and management, market analysis and linkages, project design and evaluation. Serrano has spent the last 30 years working in Africa and around the world in the areas of rural group business development and market linkages. From 2001 to 2007, he served as Senior Manager and later as Regional Director for NCBA CLUSA in Southern Africa. Prior to that, he held multiple positions as Country Director in Africa and was a technical advisor with the National Institute of Cooperatives in Cape Verde. He was the recipient of the InsideNGO Operational Excellence Award for his contributions to the NGO community in business development and program operations in 2015 and serves on the Board of the Agribusiness Market Ecosystem Alliance. Serrano holds a BA in Business Administration and Economics and a MA in International Administration.
Mayor, City of Madison, Wisconsin
Mayor Paul Soglin
Mayor Paul Soglin is the 51st, 54th and 57th Mayor of the City of Madison, elected for tenures in 1973, and again in 1989 and 2011. He is now serving in his 20th year. His tenure is noted for a major commitment to public transit with record setting Madison Metro ridership levels; the design and construction of the State Street Mall, resulting in one of the strongest downtown locally owned retail sectors; and the development of Madison's Civic Center, which evolved into the Overture Center for the Arts. Mayor Soglin’s priorities include measuring city projects against the finest standards for livability, equity and sustainability, and ensuring that all basic needs are within walking distance of every neighborhood. He believes that a healthy city with a strong inclusive economy is based on creating a sense of place, walkability and social cohesion. During his tenure, Madison was ranked the best city in the United States by Money Magazine, Livability and the AngelouEconomics (AE) 2015 Community Progress Index. Under Mayor Soglin’s leadership, Madison is committed to creating a food accessible community, building public markets and food hubs, and eliminating the critical racial and ethnic disparity in educational achievement, income, jobs, housing and incarceration.
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Stacey Sutton is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research and teaching focuses on community economic development, economic democracy, cooperative enterprise and equitable development. In a forthcoming study, Sutton examines “Cooperative Cities,” specifically the role of city governments in the development and sustainability of worker-owned cooperatives and the role of the local state in the cooperative movement. Other bodies of work focus on processes of gentrification and the impact of place-based policies urban enterprise ecosystems. Sutton holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and in Sociology from Rutgers University and a MBA from New York University.
Chief Economist, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Russell Tucker is Chief Economist at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) where he provides economic analysis of electric cooperative issues. Significant projects include simulation modeling of the impacts of EPA carbon regulation, “Affordable Electricity: Rural America’s Economic Lifeline,” “Rate Strategies for 21st Century Challenges,” and “Affordable Electricity and Economic Development: The Role of Electric Cooperatives in the 21st Century.” Prior to joining NRECA in 2008, Russell held several economic and public policy analysis positions at the Edison Electric Institute addressing electric industry restructuring, wholesale markets development, electric transmission pricing and climate change. He has a Ph.D. in economics from The George Washington University, an M.A. from the American University, and a B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Associate Director for Jobs and Economic Opportunities, The Rockefeller Foundation
Alyson Wise is an Associate Director for Jobs and Economic Opportunities at The Rockefeller Foundation. She oversees active portfolios focused on youth employment, independent work and inclusive economies. In this role, Wise also scopes new areas of work for the Foundation. She brings over a decade of experience working in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector to advance economic opportunities for people in the United States and abroad. Wise holds a Masters of Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service where she attended as a Lisa Goldberg Fellow in Philanthropy and Public Service.
Sam Worthington is CEO of InterAction, the nation’s largest U.S. alliance of international nongovernmental organizations. As InterAction’s chief executive, Worthington strengthens the impact and collective voice of the U.S. NGO sector and leads its engagement with the United Nations, governments and civil society groups around the world. He sits on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee at the UN, the boards of the Van Leer Group Foundation, The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Alliance to End Hunger. Worthington is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer of Plan International USA (from 1994 to 2006) and as a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center (2015).