Recent employee ownership events and conferences

Urban Manufacturing Alliance

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance 2018 Gathering was held in Pittsburgh and focused on Building Coalitions to Create Equitable Manufacturing Ecosystems. Patty Viáfara, Project Equity’s Client Services Manager, pictured right with Rasheed Aziz, from CitywideYouth Development in Baltimore, was invited to highlight our work with cities to help them identify and mitigate the potential loss of manufacturing business. With our colleagues, we were able to provide a broad understanding of the work being done across the nation to create and preserve valuable manufacturing jobs.

B Corp Champions Retreat

The 2018 B Corp Champions Retreat had in attendance nearly 800 mission-driven business leaders dedicated to using business as a force for good. Donna Sky, Project Equity’s Business Development Manager, presented the interactive breakout session, “The Benefits of Being an Employee-Owned B Corp,” and moderated a dynamic panel. Speakers included successful employee-owners, Blake Jones from Namaste Solar, Corey Kohn from DOJO4 and Bob Kingery, owner of Southern Energy Management, who spoke about his process, as a business owner considering an employee ownership conversion.

Exit Planning Institute Summit

The 2018 Exit Planning Institute Summit in Nashville, TN had over 220 Certified Exit Planners in attendance. Alison Lingane presented a break out session that focused on busting the myths about employee ownership, and featured examples where it is a preferred exit strategy.

Co-op Impact Conference

Hilary Abell, Project Equity’s Co-founder, represented our role in the Workers to Owners collaborative on a panel discussion at the Co-op Impact Conference in October. Workers to Owners is a national group of organizations coming together to catalyze a wave of conversions to cooperative business ownership across the nation, with a focus on front-line and rural workers and communities of color.

The Co-op Impact Conference brings together leaders from all kinds of cooperatives (worker, consumer, producer, housing, credit unions etc.). Here are some inspiring tidbits we picked up about the impact cooperatives are having around the country:

  • The average farmer member of Organic Valley cooperative has a herd of forty cows. So this $1B company makes it viable for small family farms to not only survive but thrive in today’s economy, truly supporting “the little guy” at scale.
  • Resident-Owned Communities, of which there are 200+ across the country, are not only giving people housing security but also inspiring them to be more civically-engaged. As one community leader said, “I’m a property owner now; I’m gonna run for office!”
  • The Roanoke Electric Cooperative, in North Carolina is one of 900 rural electric coops covering 3/4 of our country. When no internet service providers was willing to bring broadband to their rural low-income communities, the cooperative did it!

These are amazing examples of cooperative impact at scale. So why is it that only 24% of those surveyed are aware of cooperatives? Help us spread the word:, cooperatives and employee ownership work!

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