AMIBA benefits from strong leadership and an active Board of Directors who work in concert to advance the local movement.


Jennifer Risley


Jen served as an early organizer of her local food co-op in 2007. In addition to her co-op work, she’s program manager of The Local Crowd Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program for independently owned businesses. She holds a Master’s in Education from Antioch University New England and lives in Keene, NH.

Board of Directors

Laury Hammel, The Longfellow Clubs, AMIBA Board Treasurer

Laury is the President and CEO of The Longfellow Clubs of Massachusetts, which encompasses health and sports clubs, holistic health centers, children’s centers, and camps that serve 10,000 members. Honored by the Boston Globe as one of the top places to work in MA, Longfellow is a recognized industry leader in innovative business practices, environmental responsibility, and community service.

Laury has helped numerous local business coalitions get started. He founded the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) in 1988, Business for Social Responsibility in 1991 and co-founded the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies in 2001. Laury directs the 1000+ member SBN and has developed innovative programs like the Boston Local Food Festival, the Sustainable Business Leader Program, and the Sustainability Leadership Summit. See our interview with Hammel for more.

Derek Peebles, American Sustainable Business Network
Derek is a leader in community economic development with extensive success moving organizations forward by building on cross-cultural and cross-sector collaboration. He began his career in small business banking. Over the past decade and has been organizing local business communities, residents, and institutions to leverage both social and private capital for sustainable economic development.
Derek founded Neighborhood Grow, an alliance of local leaders working to establish equitable communities and vibrant neighborhood business districts, funded as a ministry of Cincinnati’s Christ Church Cathedral. Through this ministry, Derek led numerous Episcopal congregations through “Sacred Ground”, a 16-week conversation series on the history of Racism in America.
Derek serves as an advisor and board member for the American Sustainable Business Network, Green Umbrella, Tikkun Farm, Brick Gardens, Christ Church Cathedral of Cincinnati’s Next Century Committee, Small Business Anti-Displacement Network, and Bella Bank (subsidiary of LivePerson, Inc.).
Theodora Skeadas, Cambridge Local First

Theodora Skeadas is the Executive Director of Cambridge Local First. She concurrently works as a consultant to the U.S. Federal Government on national security, and she is an independent political consultant and campaign manager. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School with a MPP. She worked in Turkey and Iraq on a Fulbright Fellowship, and in Morocco and the West Bank with non-governmental organizations on issues of community empowerment, conflict resolution, and poverty alleviation. Theodora graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Philosophy and Government. Theodora studied French, Standard Arabic, Greek, Moroccan Darija, Spanish, and Turkish.

Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting

Karen is the Principal of KAS Consulting based in Boston, MA and provides mission-based consulting with a focus on advocacy, resource matching, board development and strategic planning for health and equity-focused initiatives. With a focus on racial equity and intersectionality, Karen works with local, state, regional and national organizations committed to creating equitable public health and sustainable food systems. Involved in state-wide and regional food system work, Karen is a steering committee member of and Massachusetts Ambassador for Food Solutions New England, and a a board member of the Boston Food Forest Coalition, Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.  As the Thomas W. Haas Professor in Sustainable Food Systems at University of New Hampshire, Durham, Karen is engaged in scholarship on the intersection of networks and racial equity.

Tom Lowenburg, Octavia Books

Tom has co-owned Octavia Books since founding the New Orleans bookstore in 2000, a year when only a handful of independent bookstores dared open. In addition to Stay Local!, the New Orleans AMIBA affiliate, he served on the boards of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and other independent bookseller groups. Tom testified before the Louisiana legislature, defeating a censorship bill that had already passed in the state Senate in 2010; and helped pass Louisiana’s e-fairness bill in 2016 to stop the preferential treatment of remote retailers.

Tom also co-founded of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, which works to advance community-based energy

Michael H. Shuman

Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, entrepreneur, and leading visionary on community economics. He’s the Director of Local Economy Programs for Neighborhood Associates Corporation and an Adjunct Professor at Bard Business School in New York City. He is also a Senior Researcher for Council Fire and Local Analytics, where he performed economic development analyses for states, local governments, and businesses around North America.

He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding. He has authored, coauthored, or edited ten books. His three most recent books are Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: How to Invest Locally Using Solo 401ks and Self-Directed IRAs; The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity; and Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street.

Kathleen Roark

Kathleen (she/her) joined the People First Economy team in 2017 to champion the development of a human-scale economy and our member businesses in the Local First program. Today Kathleen supports PFE with direction, leadership, and implementation of programs across the organization. Her small-town upbringing instilled the value of a place-based economy grounded in relationships. She works to build relationships with the business community and to provide value and benefit through businesses’ involvement in programs. Connect with Kathleen to learn more about our programs and PFE’s signature initiatives.

Photo credits on this page:  Header: San Francisco, Source iStockington

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This