Four outstanding cooperative leaders will receive the cooperative community’s highest honor on May 2, 2018, when they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
The inductees are Paul Bradley, founder and president of ROC USA; Rudy Hanley, retired president and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union; Marilyn Scholl, manager of CDS Consulting Co-op; and Rosemary Mahoney, a veteran cooperative business consultant.
These cooperative leaders will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the evening of May 2, 2018. In conjunction with the ceremony, a public forum on cooperative development and leadership will be held in the afternoon.
“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees reflect the very best co-op values. Their life stories inspire us. Their demonstrated commitment to co-op principles and their achievements have strengthened co-ops and made a real and lasting difference in the lives of people and the viability of communities,” said Rich Larochelle, chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation, which manages the Hall of Fame.
Paul Bradley, Founder and President, ROC USA
As a teen, Paul Bradley overheard a real estate agent say, “Oh, Penacook, you don’t want to buy there.” Hearing those words about his hometown in New Hampshire later set Bradley on his career path—empowering owners of “mobile” homes to achieve financial security by purchasing the land under their homes as cooperatives. He was stung by the prejudice against his town and the good people who called it home. But Bradley found that prejudice ten-fold in “mobile home parks” and was deeply inspired by the homeowner leaders with whom he worked.
In 1988, armed with an economics degree from the University of New Hampshire and already committed to the idea of cooperative ownership as a source of community and personal security, Bradley joined the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a pioneering Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to build economic opportunity for low-income and financially underserved communities. The Community Loan Fund was implementing an innovative program to help owners of manufactured homes buy their communities and gain economic security. Bradley recognized that community ownership gave cooperative members the kind of financial security people in mobile homes rarely enjoy.
Over the course of his 18-year tenure at the Community Loan Fund, Bradley expanded the program to a full-fledged sector-change strategy, adding home financing and new development in the early 2000s. Through relentless building, 12 cooperative communities became 80 and now exceed 120, representing 27 percent of the market share.
In 2008, Bradley turned 18 years’ experience in resident-owned community (ROC) development into a market-based social venture called ROC USA®. Implementing the business model he developed through NeighborWorks® America’s Achieving Excellence program at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, Bradley began scaling cooperative ownership nationally. The social venture now develops co-ops in 15 states through a network of affiliated nonprofits and a national CDFI called ROC USA Capital.
In its first nine years, ROC USA helped convert 119 communities in 14 states, keeping 8,400 families in their homes. ROC USA now represents over 210 co-ops and 13,400 homeowners. No co-op that purchased with ROC USA’s assistance has failed or reverted to commercial ownership. Key to that track record is the integrated financing and technical assistance model pioneered by ROC USA.
Bradley’s commitment to the co-op principles is demonstrated by the makeup of ROC USA’s Board of Directors, which consists of the four nonprofit LLC Members and investors as well as three co-op members who are elected by client co-ops.
Bradley’s enthusiasm for the co-op model is infectious. “His vision of cooperative living has become mine,” said ROC Association leader Natividad Seefeld. “And I have passed it along to so many others.”
Rudy Hanley, Retired President and CEO, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
Rudy Hanley’s contributions to the credit union movement span more than 38 years and are characterized by his deep commitment to member service and the cooperative principles rather than the bottom line.
Hanley is most well-known for his 31 years as president and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, formerly known as Orange County Teachers Credit Union, during which time he grew a single-location credit union with $150 million in assets into the largest credit union for school employees in the U.S. with 45 branches in California, $10 billion in assets and 600,000 members.
While Hanley’s colleagues talk mostly about his qualities as a teacher, mentor and leader, Hanley emphasizes the contribution of the team, board and credit union movement. Former President and CEO of Wescorp, Richard Johnson, said Hanley has a talent for developing the depth and strength of others—“making leaders out of otherwise ordinary people.”
Hanley’s path to SchoolsFirst FCU began when he was a teacher at Alhambra High School near Los Angeles. While teaching, he completed a law degree and then moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), defending credit unions’ tax-exempt status, which inspired him to become an advocate of the cooperative model in financial services. Hanley returned to California to lead the research and development department of the California Credit Union League before joining SchoolsFirst FCU in 1982.
Under Hanley’s direction, SchoolsFirst FCU instituted multiple financial products tailored to meet the needs of its school employee membership, including a low interest rate credit card with a summer skip-a-payment option; a savings program designed for school employees on a 10-11 month pay schedule; zero percent uniform and classroom supplies loans; and a school employee mortgage loan with no PMI, low down payment and reduced fees.
Hanley continually focused on the overall well-being of the credit union’s members and their families. He developed extensive financial education programs and workshops for members and rallied credit union colleagues to fund the PBS financial literacy program Biz Kid$.
Hanley embraced technology, bringing ATMs and other electronic services to the membership. He was a founding member of Open Financial Solutions (OFS) an organization involved in research and development of technology solutions for credit unions.
He also understood the importance of political advocacy. He championed cooperatives on Capitol Hill, helping pass a bill to protect the right of people to choose their financial institutions and ensuring Congress did not tax credit unions.
By focusing on people rather than the bottom line, Hanley created what Hall of Fame inductee Daniel Mica, principal of the DMA Group and past CEO of CUNA called “a significant and lasting legacy of promoting the credit union philosophy.”
Rosemary Mahoney, Cooperative Business Consultant
Rosemary Mahoney’s 30-year career as a co-op developer began with a post-college job at U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Cooperative Service. Although she grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Monmouth, Illinois—where her family belonged to electric, insurance and supply co-ops—Mahoney says it wasn’t until she began her work at USDA that she “completely bought into the value of the co-op model for farmers and others.”
One of Mahoney’s most successful projects at USDA was the farmer co-op CROPP, which later became Organic Valley, a 2,000 member co-op in La Farge, Wisconsin.
Mahoney has been developing co-ops ever since. She has worked with more than 25 startup cooperative enterprises around the world, including fifteen successful cooperative consulting projects in Africa. She led a technology company, CoMetrics, that introduced the idea of using data as a strategic tool to improve cooperative impact and performance. Mahoney also helped create a new rural cooperative development center at USDA.
In 1991, Mahoney began working with Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA) to bring the cooperative model to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. She obtained $1.3 million for a two-year rural community development project in Slovakia that focused on rural women, secured funding for a grain warehouse receipt system in Hungary and explored the feasibility of VOCA programs in Belarus and Bosnia.
In 1998, Mahoney returned to the states to help better position co-ops in an increasingly competitive market. As head of Cooperative Development Services (CDS) she managed research and development projects and introduced the idea of using financial benchmarking tools to strengthen operations and finances of cooperatives. Her interest in using data to improve and measure co-op business performance later led to a collaboration with Walden Swanson to build CoMetrics.
To provide assistance to urban as well as rural cooperatives, Mahoney helped establish CDS Consulting Cooperative, which has become the premier source for professional and technical assistance to food co-ops. During Mahoney’s tenure at CDS, gross revenue grew from $750,000 in 1997 to nearly $2 million by 2000.
In the early 2000s, Mahoney helped reorganize the National Cooperative Grocers Association, with a plan supported by 98 percent of NCGA’s members. Today, National Co+op Grocers is a business services cooperative with 148 food co-ops operating more than 200 stores in 37 states.
Mahoney has long advocated the community development potential of ‘hybrid’ cooperatives and was the founding board chair of CooperationWorks!. She helped launch Blue Hawk Distributor Cooperative, which serves independent heating and air conditioning businesses, and for several years coordinated the Purchasing Cooperative Conference with the support of the National Cooperative Bank and NCBA CLUSA.
In 2005, Mahoney helped secure the .coop domain name for use by any business organized as a cooperative. Now, more than 750,000 cooperatives with over 85 million members in 100 countries use the .coop domain.
Mahoney returned to the international co-op sector later in her career, helping the International Finance Corporation include cooperative development support in its agricultural advisory services. She also assisted in developing the Agribusiness Leadership Program, a cooperative leadership training program for smallholder farmer organizations.
Mahoney continues to serve as a senior advisor at CoMetrics and has served on or is serving on more than 13 boards, including The Cooperative Foundation, NCBA CLUSA, Capital Impact Partners, National Cooperative Bank, dotCoop and CooperationWorks!.
Marilyn Scholl, Manager, CDS Consulting Cooperative
Marilyn Scholl stepped into the co-op world in 1978 when she took a job in her neighborhood corner grocery store, Gordon Park Cooperative in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She never stepped out. Instead, she turned a decade of working in and managing food co-ops into a lifetime of contributions to the cooperative community.
In 1987, after nine years of working in and managing co-ops, Scholl returned to Wisconsin to work for the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives (UWCC), helping to create education programs for all types of co-ops. Scholl saw the value of board training and governance and pioneered a food co-op consulting team that became CDS Consulting Co-op. She helped turn the four-member non-profit into a 32-member cooperative that has become a leader in food cooperative training and support. CDS CC consultants help member-driven co-ops become better businesses, using data-driven analysis to improve competitiveness and efficiency without losing their cooperative identity.
Scholl is known in the co-op community to be an educator with the heart of a cooperative entrepreneur, relishing the challenges of sustainability, membership care and strategic planning. Working with Ann Hoyt at the UWCC, Scholl organized the Cooperative Management Institute, a multi-week program teaching effective business management and data-driven decisionmaking.
Scholl was among the first cooperative educators in the country to bring systematic governance approaches to food co-ops. She and her colleagues at CDS Consulting Co-op recently developed a new model for cooperative governance called the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance, designed to help boards, managers and members build sustainable and thriving co-op businesses.
Scholl is the co-author of the well-used Ownership Toolbox, a membership building program, and she is the creator of Partners for Life, a program for building customer service. Her speeches, articles and videos have become essential training materials for generations of co-op managers and board members.
In 2002, Scholl identified a growing interest nationally in new food-coop development and used the opportunity to expand the sector. With the help of National Cooperative Bank and National Cooperative Grocers, she worked with a team to create Food Co-op 500, a small grants program for startups. Food Co-op 500 became the Food Co-op Initiative, a non-profit that has supported the opening of more than 130 new food co-ops. Scholl has served on FCI’s board of directors since its inception.
Scholl has also been a guiding force behind planning the Consumer Cooperative Management Associaiton (CCMA) Conference, working to keep conference topics relevant and useful. “No other event did so much to bring the food cooperatives together…to effect change and clarify direction,” said 2010 Hall of Fame inductee David Thompson.
After serving as an advisor to two regional cooperative grocer associations in 2004, Scholl led the team that resulted in the reorganization of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, using her considerable listening and leadership skills to bring together a diverse group of co-ops to build a powerful business association and purchasing cooperative. Today, National Co+op Grocers represents 148 co-ops operating more than 200 stores in 37 states.
Scholl has played a prominent leadership role in nearly all the major developments in the U.S. food co-op sector in the last 25 years, helping to turn a disconnected group of unaligned, under-performing co-op stores into an integrated sector that leverages members’ purchasing power and provides robust support for operations and new store development.
The Cooperative Development Foundation promotes community economic and social development through cooperatives. CDF is a thought leader in the use of cooperatives to create resilient communities, including the housing and care needs of seniors. Through its funds, fiscal sponsorships and fundraising, CDF provides grants and loans that foster cooperative development domestically and abroad. CDF’s Cooperative Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding cooperative leaders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. each year.