John Abrams is founder and CEO of South Mountain Company, a 41-year-old integrated architecture, engineering, building, and renewable energy company committed to triple bottom line business practices. Located on Martha’s Vineyard, South Mountain has been a worker cooperative for 28 years and was among the first B Corps in Massachusetts. John’s book Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, was published in 2008. He blogs at companywekeep.net and lives at Island Cohousing, designed and built by South Mountain.
Kyla Alterman is a community organizer and a teacher with a longstanding interest in workplace democracy. She presently works in Revere, MA as the Community Engagement Manager for The Neighborhood Developers where she organizes residents around affordable housing, neighbor-to-neighbor connections, and neighborhood leadership. Beginning in the summer of 2018, Kyla began an internship at Ownership Associates (OA). She has focused on updating OA training products including adaptations for digital users.
Jennifer Briggs served as VP of Human Resources at New Belgium Brewing, which launched in 1991, and became 100% employee-owned in 2012. Jen created a winning 'best of' workplace at New Belgium (Most Democratic Workplace for 7 years, andWall Street Journal Best Place to Work in 2008). She now serves as an educator and advisor to companies who want to redefine value in a more holistic manner—including at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management's Beyster Institute. Building healthy, profitable and participative companies is her passion.
Aaron Dawson is in his 15th year as a worker-owner at Equal Exchange, a Fair Trade business specializing in the sourcing and distribution of coffee, tea and chocolate. This 30-year-old business converted to a cooperative early in its history, and the majority of its workers are owners (125 of the 150 workers). For the past 10 years, Aaron held the role of Customer Service Manager, and was elected to serve on the cooperative’s Board for the last six.
MariaElena Del Valle
MariaElena Del Valle is an Organizational Change Consultant with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. MariaElena works closely with employers who are implementing innovative strategies to recruit, train, mentor and supervise direct-care staff. She also works with direct care staff to develop leadership, advocacy, and mentoring skills. MariaElena offers expertise in organizational development, participatory management practices, and leadership skills building for managers and workers. MariaElena has over 20 years experience in adult education and brings a wealth of experience as an independent consultant, cultural performer, and public speaker to her work with PHI. MariaElena is a graduate of the College of Mt. Saint Vincent.
Esteban Kelly is the Executive Director for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and a founding worker-owner of AORTA (Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance). Drawing on two decades of organizational leadership in cooperatives and collectives, Esteban specializes in building internal alignment inside of horizontal and non-hierarchical organizations. Beginning from the assertion that change and transformation are possible, Esteban invests in leaders by using a framework of collective liberation because a sustainable economy and a just society are both interdependent and fiercely necessary.
Linshuang (pronounced “Lin-Shang”) Lu, MSOD, is a Principal at Praxis Consulting Group. She currently provides organization development, strategic planning, leadership development and culture change services to nonprofits and employee-owned companies. She is passionate about helping organizations develop their leaders and foster deeper staff engagement in order to create better workplaces and achieve greater impact. She has served on the Board of the ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Ownership.
Chris Mackin is the founder and President of Ownership Associates, Inc. of Cambridge, MA. At Ownership Associates, he provides “after the transaction” training services to companies broadly owned by their employees using both cooperative and Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) structures. He serves as a Lecturer at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations where he teaches a full semester undergraduate course on employee ownership. He earned a Doctorate in Human Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1984 with a thesis called The Social Psychology of Ownership: A Case Study of a Democratically Owned Firm.
Teresa Mansell is a founding mother of Childspace Management Group, Inc., a Philadelphia worker cooperative that has been providing high quality childcare since 1988. Childspace currently operates three centers with 54 workers, providing professional training, livable wages, and career pathways. Teresa serves as Director of Childspace West, and is in her seventh year as Board President. Teresa served on the steering committee of Philadelphia’s Shared Prosperity, initiated to help reduce poverty by focusing on expanding the number of quality child care slots for the most vulnerable residents. Teresa also mentors individual childcare programs looking to increase their quality standards.
Joe Marraffino is Co-director of the Cooperative Conversions program at the Democracy at Work Institute. Joe was the Finance Manager for the 12,000 member GreenStar Cooperative Market in Ithaca, New York. 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.
John McNamara worked at Union Cab of Madison for 26 years with 8 years on the Board of Directors and 10 years in management (the last three serving as General Manager/Business Manager). Since leaving Union in 2014, he has been a Cooperative Developer for the Northwest Cooperative Development Center and teaches democratic management at The Evergreen State College. John holds a Masters in Management: Cooperatives and Credit Unions degree from Saint Mary’s University and will soon complete his Ph.D. at St. Mary’s in Business Administration.
Anne Reynolds retired in early 2018 from her position as the Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, where she led the Center’s outreach, education and development program. She continues to be active in consulting on board leadership, cooperative development, member loyalty and organizational development issues. She has worked with cooperatives in all sectors, including housing, agriculture, grocery, energy and worker-owned. Anne serves on several boards, including The Cooperative Foundation, Shared Capital Cooperative and the Madison Public Market Foundation. Before joining the Center for Cooperatives, she worked at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
Joseph Tuck was the General Coordinator/CEO of Alvarado Street Bakery, one of the largest purveyors of organic breads and one of the largest worker cooperatives in the US with a workforce of 85 workers and sales of over 25 million per year. Joseph started work at Alvarado Street Bakery in 1981 as a sanitation worker and over the years gained expertise both in the baking business and in cooperative governance. Over the years, Alvarado Street Bakery has been recognized by many organizations for its commitment to creating a safe, healthy, transparent, and empowering work environment including being chosen by Fortune Magazine as of the “Best Places to Work”.