Join the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development for a conversation on equitable co-op governance


This meeting will explore how co-ops can work toward the broadest and most meaningful democratic governance for all members. [photo courtesy USDA]
Join the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development on Monday, May 20 from 2-3:30 pm EDT for a meeting on equitable co-op governance. “Equitable Co-op Governance: Meaningful Democratic Control for Members” will feature introductory remarks by USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service Administrator Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

Join the Meeting

A characteristic of cooperative businesses, democratic governance can empower co-op members through economic control over their business and through acquisition of business, interpersonal, leadership and even citizenship skills. Since democratic governance is so effective at building capacity, how can we work toward the broadest and most meaningful democratic governance for all members?


Courtney Berner, Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. In 2021, Courtney launched the Cooperative Governance Research Initiative, the first national, cross-sector, mixed-methods study on the governance practices of U.S. cooperatives. UWCC also authored Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Trends in the Cooperative Community, a report published by NCBA CLUSA and the Cooperative Development Foundation.

Sylandi Brown has worked extensively with electric co-ops and in communication for the cooperative movement both domestically and internationally. In 2021, she was recognized by the International Cooperative Alliance as an emerging leader of the cooperative movement under the age of 25. Sylandi is communications manager for the International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG), the research arm of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC). She proudly serves as a board member of NCBA CLUSA.

Allanah Hines brings more than 15 years of experience at Weaver Street Market, where she currently serves as Chief Culture, Engagement, and Impact (DEI) Officer. She has been chair for three years of her four-year tenure on Weaver Street Market’s Board of Directors. She fosters accessible board participation and amplifies community voices by restructuring board meetings for increased input and owner engagement.

When Eric Paulson was elected to the board of the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in 2021, he brought a profound understanding of the importance of reliable and sustainable electricity to his position and a deep connection dairy farming. He was raised on his family’s farm near Harrisonburg, Virginia and is Executive Secretary of the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association.

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