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Building Back Better: Power Sharing Through Cooperative Business Models
October 28 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
Interest in cooperative business models has been steadily increasing in the US since the 2008 financial crisis, fueled in part by the polarization of power and income between CEOs and the general workforce that has only increased in the intervening years. According to US Federation of Work Cooperatives, worker-owner cooperatives have nearly doubled since 2008 from roughly 350 to approximately 600 today and span across diverse industries such as the taxi industry, elder care, home cleaning, tech, construction, banking, and more. Cooperative models are often seen as a way to build more sustainable work, especially for communities who have been historically marginalized, in part because models of collective ownership distribute power differently than traditional winner-take-all business models and allow for workers to equitably share the benefits in the good times and the burdens in the hard times, reducing individual risk.
We are excited to host Dr. Christina Clamp and Anh-Thu Nguyen for this discussion.
Dr. Christina Clamp has over 40 years of teaching experience at Southern New Hampshire University, where she is a professor with the School of Arts and Sciences and is the director of Co-operatives and Community Economic Development. Dr. Clamp has served as a consultant to various clients including the National Cooperative Bank, US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Greater New Orleans Foundation, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations and Mondragon University in Spain. She has provided training, research and consulting in the areas of community economic development and capacity building, and cooperative education and development.
As Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), Anh-Thu leads and supports market development initiatives, innovations, and strategic partnerships for worker cooperative creation, scale and growth. Her work includes the Rapid Response Cooperative program and the NYC Council-funded Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, with a specific focus on BIPOC, immigrant communities and women. Through this, she has worked with several worker cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in the fashion space, including Opportunity Threads and Custom Collaborative. Her previous work has encompassed and intersected with international human rights, social enterprise, and sustainable fashion.
BUILDING BACK BETTER
As we continue to be transformed by the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 virus, we have the opportunity and the imperative to build back differently to create a better world, departing from practices which have gotten us to the challenging place we now find ourselves.
Whereas the mainstream now grants that sustainability and social impact are essential economic considerations as we build resiliency and learn from the pandemic’s recession and devastation, at GCNYC we know that simply layering “sustainability” and “social impact” onto business as usual is neither effective nor transformative enough to clean up and move past the deleterious effects of still-mainstream business practices. This trimester’s practice series examines how to transform business from within, by utilizing organizational models selected and designed to harbor innovative and collaborative pathways towards social and environmental good.
GCNYC and the Center for Social Impact and Innovation is excited to present Building Back Better, bringing experts from business and the academy to share practical insights for social innovators seeking to create successful, transformative organizations founded upon equity and inclusion.
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