NCBA CLUSA is pleased to welcome two returning and three new members to its 2015 Board of Directors: Kimberly Garmany, Kevin Higginbotham, Michelle Schry, Helen Godfrey-Smith and Dave Swanson. These members fill five open positions on the NCBA CLUSA Board, which guides and inspires the organization.
Kimberly Garmany currently serves as director of Membership and Development at College Houses, a group equity non-profit cooperative student housing organization that serves 532 members in Austin, Texas. Garmany served on the steering committee of the Austin Co-op Think Tank, which partnered with NCBA CLUSA to establish the first cross-sector regional cooperative business association. Garmany became a founding board member of ACBA and was later elected as board president, a position she currently holds. Garmany also has served on the board of the North American Students of Cooperation.
Kevin Higginbotham is CEO of Evergreen Marketing Group, a cooperative of independent construction/industrial tools and supplies distributors and manufacturers. Since joining Evergreen in 1995, Higginbotham has spurred the development of training and education, business development and partnering programs. Higginbotham brings more than 30 years of experience in marketing, communication and management roles to the NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors. A longtime member of NCBA CLUSA, Higginbotham is involved in the organization’s annual Purchasing Cooperatives Conference.
Michelle Schry is CEO and general manager of People’s Food Cooperative, Inc., with locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The People’s Food Co-op serves close to 8,000 local member families and generates more than $23 million in retail sales annually. Schry has worked in cooperative retail management for two decades. She has served on the board of directors for the National Co+op Grocers, Cooperative Development Services and NCBA CLUSA. In 2006, Schry received the Cooperative Development Fund’s Howard Bowers Cooperative Service Award. Schry is an incumbent elected to serve her 4th term on the NCBA CLUSA Board.
Helen Godfrey-Smith is president and CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union, a community development financial institution that serves unbanked and underbanked farmers and other small business owners in rural communities in the U.S. South. Since she joined Shreveport FCU in 1983, the credit union has grown to serve more than 25,000 members, has opened eight branches in Louisiana and Mississippi and boasts just over $102 million in assets. In 2014, Godfrey-Smith was recognized by Alcorn State University when Shreveport FCU earned the Cooperative of the Year Award. The award honors the credit union’s “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” to combat food deserts in the Mississippi Delta region.
Dave Swanson is a partner in Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s Corporate Department and chair of the Cooperatives Law practice group. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for more than 30 years, Swanson has mastered the nuances of cooperative governance and organizational options, capital structures, financing and transactions. Swanson is among a team of legal experts who in 2014 worked with NCBA CLUSA to shape the inaugural Cooperative Professionals Conference, the first conference designed for legal and accounting professionals who serve the unique needs of the cooperative community. Swanson is an incumbent elected to serve his 3rd term on the NCBA CLUSA Board.