Co-op Fest Program 2016

Announcing: Keynote speaker Anne Reynolds!

Anne_headshotAnne Reynolds is the Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. She develops courses, conferences and educational programs at the Center, and has led numerous workshops on board leadership, board roles and responsibilities and strategic planning. Her areas of interest include governance, member loyalty, business structure and innovative uses of the cooperative model. She has worked with cooperatives in all sectors, including agriculture, food, energy, purchasing and worker- owned. Anne serves on several boards, including The Cooperative Foundation and Shared Capital Cooperative. Before joining the Center for Cooperatives, she worked at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Track 01:
Co-op Basics

The Co-op Basics track is oriented toward those new to the movement. Are you eager to learn the difference between a cooperative, a non-profit, and a traditional corporation? What’s the deal with these so-called Seven Principles? And why would you want to own the place I shop or work, anyway? This might be the track for you.

Track 02:
Centering Justice

As institutions intrinsically linked to the communities in which they exist, made up of community members, and guided by principles that include member participation and concern for community, it’s crucial that we put justice at the center of what we do. But how? This track will feature discussions regarding issues of access and social, racial, and economic justice in the cooperative movement.

Track 03:
Co-op Economics

How do cooperatives fit into larger movements of solidarity economies? What’s happening elsewhere in the country? What’s going on in the cooperative movement in Milwaukee? How are we contributing to the larger movement, and how can we learn from the successes and failures of economic development that centers cooperatives?

Co-op Fest 2016 Schedule/ Program outline
Saturday October 8th

8:45 am – 9:30am Coffee/ Tea / Lite Spread @ Public House

                        Registration @ Public House

9:15 am – 9:30am Welcome @ PH/Garden Park

9:30 am – 12:00pm Registration/ Welcome Table @ Garden Park

9:30 am – 4:30pm Tabling Festivities @ Garden Park


9:45 am – 10:45am Session 1


101 Co-op 101: A Basic Introduction to Co-op Fundamentals

Presented by Mari Wood, cooperative relations manager at Outpost Natural Foods and Nichali Xhelili Ciaccio

Location:  Riverwest Public House

In this hour-long workshop, brush up on co-op history, review the basics of cooperative economics, and learn more about co-op values and the 7 Co-op Principles. This class is ideal for those attendees new to the cooperative movement or for those who are exploring the feasibility of starting their own co-op.


201 Derute Consulting Cooperative – A Case Study

Presenter: Cami Thomas, Derute Consulting Cooperative

Location:  Jazz Gallery

Learn about the social justice work that Derute Consulting engages in both in our services and within our cooperative. This session will introduce you to our cooperative and some of the challenges we face with our clients as well as with our membership.


301 Investing in Our. Cooperative. Communities

Presenter: Riverwest Investment Cooperative

Location:  Black Husky Brewery

Wealth. Investments. Capital. Join the Riverwest Investment Cooperative, Kiva Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Community Land Trust to discuss how those of us working for economic justice and stronger communities can re-imagine those concepts and use them to create affordable housing, local businesses and cooperative organizations without depending on outside institutions or accelerating gentrification.


11:00 am – 12:00 pm Session 2


102 Business Planning for Co-ops

Presenter: Alex Brower, Riverwest – Harambee Community Organizing
Credit Union

Location: Riverwest Public House

Do you want to start your own co-op?  Are you ready to give that speech telling off your boss when you quit to work full time for the co-op you started?  Hold your horses – and don’t quit your day job yet.  Any new business, even a co-op, needs a plan before you launch it.  Learn the basics of a business plan, specifically how to identify key aspects of your business and describe them.  Discover the parts of business plan, and why they are necessary.  In this course, we will engage in several activities that will help you create a business plan for you new co-op, or just have a better idea of business in general.


202 White Supremacy in Co-op Culture

Presenter: Steve Jerbi, All People’s Church and Susannah Bartlow, Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ)

Location: Jazz Gallery

This workshop will look at co-op culture through the lens of whiteness, using the article “White Supremacy Culture” from the book Dismantling Racism: A workbook for Social Change Groups to consider the ways in which whiteness is perpetuated through systems often invisiblized.  Come get real with us about working to end white supremacy culture in our co-op spaces!

The article referenced for this workshop is available here:


302 A Proposal – Accessing Resources for Co-ops in Low-Income
Communities of Color

Presenter: Cami Thomas

Location:  Black Husky Brewery

Cooperative Development in Black Milwaukee: In this session participants will be walked through a grant proposal for cooperative development for Milwaukee’s Black residents. Although cooperatives are about economic freedom they still require resources to get started. The economic disparities in Milwaukee show us that Black residents do not have access to the resources needed to develop cooperatives. We will explore the reasons why this proposal for cooperative development should be utilized by stakeholders interested in economic development for Milwaukee’s Black residents.


12:15 pm – 1:30 pm LUNCH @ Falcon Bowl

12: 30 pm – 1:30 pm Keynote Talk @ Falcon Bowl      

Presented by Anne Reynolds, UW Center for Cooperatives


1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Session 3


103 Financing Co-ops

Presenter: Mark Fick, Shared Capital Cooperative

Location: Riverwest Public House

This session will be an overview of the different kinds of money that cooperatives need during the course of operating their businesses. Participants will discuss models of debt and equity used by cooperatives, learn how lenders will assess their financing needs, and grapple with some of the challenges that cooperatives face as we work to prioritize people in an economy that prioritizes capital.


203 Co-ops Need Everyone

Presenter: Mia Noel, Riverwest Public House and Daosavanh Phakeovilay, Riverwest Public House

Location: Jazz Gallery

Join us for a conversation on establishing relationships with the broader community to increase sustainability. We will discuss engaging members in communities often left out of traditional cooperative politics, building inclusive spaces and creating shared principles that reflect the interests of a diverse membership.


303 From Madison to Milwaukee – Keynote Discussion

Presenter: Anne Reynolds, UW Center for Cooperatives

Location: Falcon Bowl

This workshop will be a follow up conversation from the Keynote discussion that will focus on the City of Madison Enterprise Development Program.  The Madison program will focus on creating and supporting worker cooperatives in communities most impacted by systems of poverty and racism.  In collaboration with the City’s Economic Development Division, the Madison Development Corporation (a local non-profit lender) and the Madison Cooperative Development Coalition (a coalition of community-based organizations, labor unions and cooperative developers) will provide opportunities to create employee-owned cooperatives, support living wage jobs, and build lasting community assets.  How can Milwaukee benefit?  What can we learn to apply to our own community?


 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Co-operative Networking @ RW Public House

Cocktail hour & Co-op Anniversary Celebrations! @ RW Public House


October 8th – Overview

  • Festival of Co-ops at Garden Park, 9:30am – 4:30pm
  • Registration at Garden Park, 8:45am – 12:00pm
  • Morning Welcome with breakfast spread at Riverwest Public House, 8:45am – 9:30am
  • Session I (3 workshops at various RW locations), 9:45am – 10:45am
  • Session II (2 workshops at various RW locations),  11:00am – 12:00pm
  • Lunch at Falcon Bowl, 12:15am – 1:30pm
  • Keynote Speaker at Falcon Bowl, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • Session III (3 workshops at various RW locations), 1:45pm – 2:45pm
  • Co-operative networking at Riverwest Public House, 3:00pm
  • Co-op Anniversary Celebrations at Riverwest Public House, 3:00pm – close
Presenter Bios

Susannah Bartlow ( is an educator, organizer, yoga teacher and trauma specialist living in Milwaukee.  She’s been a member of a co-op or credit union since birth.  As a recovering academic, she’s done racial and social justice research and education for over 10 years, and is an active member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Milwaukee.

Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a group of people in Milwaukee who are undertaking the work of challenging and dismantling racism by calling in white people to learn, organize and act against white supremacy. We are organizing ourselves in order to be better co-conspirators against white supremacy and more useful agents in the fight against racism and racial injustice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, we seek to move white people to act against white supremacy and whiteness with passion and accountability. Our core organizers are dedicated to an intersectional, anti-respectability perspective and practice.

We are aligned with a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice called Showing Up for Racial Justice or SURJ. Learn more about SURJ at

Alex Brower is leading the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance’s effort to start Wisconsin’s newest credit union that will serve the 53212 ZIP Code.  A native of Wisconsin, Brower graduated from Beloit College with a degree in Political Science, focusing on American Government.  After catching chum salmon on the gill netter Miss Alison, in Juneau, Alaska, Brower lived in Portland, Oregon, returning to Wisconsin to practice politics and organize workers.  He currently is a substitute teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools, and lives in Riverwest with more books than he has time to read.   

Mark Fick is the Director of Lending with Shared Capital Cooperative where he leads the business development, loan underwriting and portfolio management functions of the organization.  As a cooperatively owned loan fund, Shared Capital works to build economic democracy by providing financing throughout the United States to cooperatively owned enterprises including consumer, worker, and producer owned cooperatives. Prior to joining Shared Capital, Mark was the Director of Lending Operations with the Chicago Community Loan Fund where he was responsible for providing financing and technical assistance to affordable housing, social enterprises and community-based organizations in the Chicagoland area.

Over the past 25 years Mark has been an active leader with a variety of community-based and cooperative development organizations including the Chicago Mutual Housing Network, NASCO Development Services, Housing Action Illinois, Organization of the Northeast, Stone Soup Cooperative and the Northside Community Federal Credit Union.

Rev. Steve Jerbi is the senior pastor at All Peoples Church in Milwaukee, WI. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana – Missoula in English Literature with an Environmental Studies minor. He graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago with a Masters of Divinity and an environmental ministry emphasis. Pastor Steve is a passionate leader in youth and cross-generational ministry and the interconnected work of racial, economic and environmental justice. Pastor Steve and his wife Jennifer live in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee where they raise two gradeschool-aged daughters.

Mia Noel lives and works in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated from Marlboro College in Marlboro, VT. Her background includes experience in public health, education, film, and volunteer work with area nonprofits. She is currently the Riverwest Public House Membership Coordinator, working to make RWPH an inclusive, diverse and accepting space for all community members.

Daosavanh Phakeovilay graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton and has lived in Milwaukee since she was a chubby faced Lao refugee. She has worked extensively with queer youth, capacity building in the queer community and services for Southeast Asian immigrants. She is a member of the board of directors of the Riverwest Public house and is committed to creating space for more black and brown leadership in Milwaukee communities.

Anne Reynolds is the Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. She develops courses, conferences and educational programs at the Center, and has led numerous workshops on board leadership, board roles and responsibilities and strategic planning.  Her areas of interest include governance, member loyalty, business structure and innovative uses of the cooperative model.  She has worked with cooperatives in all sectors, including agriculture, food, energy, purchasing and worker-owned.  Anne serves on several boards, including The Cooperative Foundation and Shared Capital Cooperative.  Before joining the Center for Cooperatives, she worked at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Cami J. Thomas is a doctoral student in the Department of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she also received her bachelor’s degree.  Her research interests include cooperative development in Black communities and decolonizing frameworks for addressing the issues of Black Americans. Ms. Thomas has served on the board of several cooperatives in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Mari Wood has worked at Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative for over 21 years and has been in her current role of Cooperative Relations Manager for the past 18 years. She spends a lot of her time at the co-op teaching and writing about the cooperative business structure and interacts closely with the co-op’s board of directors and nearly 22,000 current owners. Mari is also a trustee for the Howard Bowers Fund, a grant-making fund that supports the training and education of food co-op staff, managers and boards to promote a thriving food co-op community in the US.