Post-Film Discussion with Worker-Owned Cooperative Advocates

AMIBA held a free virtual screening of the film WORKS FOR ALL, focusing on worker-owned cooperatives. The event also includes a virtual film discussion with worker-owned cooperative advocates.

This documentary highlights the work of Co-op Cincy. Since 2011, Co-op Cincy has inspired a network of worker-owned cooperatives in Cincinnati, Ohio, to create a regional economy that works for all.

This event was part of March’s Choose Indie Sustainable Month, a nationwide celebration to amplify and support locally owned businesses that are B Corps, cooperatives, and other triple-bottom-line enterprises.

You may be familiar with some types of co-ops — like food cooperatives — but we want to shine a light on a different type of cooperative, a worker-owned co-op. Discover more about worker-owned cooperatives and how this type of co-op is growing nationwide.

WORKS FOR ALL, co-directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young, visits several of the diverse worker-owned cooperatives in Co-op Cincy’s network, with many led by people traditionally marginalized in the U.S. economy. The film highlights Co-op Cincy’s remarkable work in transforming and supporting these businesses. Particularly significant for the future is the effort to help convert existing businesses–whose owners are retiring–to cooperatives. The film also explores the influence of Spain’s Mondragon Corporation, the world’s most prominent worker cooperative federation, on Co-op Cincy’s mission.

Thank you to our event co-hosts, American Independent Business Alliance and Monadnock International Film Festival, and event sponsors Littleton Food Co-op, Monadnock Food Co-op, and The Local Crowd Monadnock.

Works For All Virtual Film Discussion

The live virtual film discussion included Kristen Barker, co-director of Co-op Cincy, and Rob Brown, the director of Business Ownership Solutions at Cooperative Development InstituteThe discussion was moderated by Jade Barker from Columinate.

Kristen Barker is a social entrepreneur, president, and Co-Founder of Co-op Cincy and 1worker1vote. She designs and leads participatory education events with co-op workers and helps worker-owners make their businesses more successful. Kristen also helps her design team determine the feasibility of potential co-op businesses, helps retiring business owners decide whether or not they can sell their business to their employees, and helps viable co-ops access the capital they need to leverage their ideas.

Rob Brown is a nationally recognized expert in employee ownership transitions and has assisted dozens of businesses in exploring, assessing, structuring, and executing transitions to worker-owned cooperatives. He has developed extensive education, training, coaching, and technical assistance programs for boards, management, and members of new worker-owned cooperatives. He leads local, regional, and national programs to educate and advise business owners on exit planning processes and options. Rob participates in several national networks promoting the strategy of employee ownership conversions and best practices in the field, including as a founding member of the Workers to Owners Collaborative.

Jade Barker is a Governance and Leadership Consultant with Columinate and the co-author of Everyone Welcome? Personal Narratives about Race and Food Co-ops. Jade served 14 years on the River Valley Co-op board, including the startup phase, eventually leading a successful $5 million capital campaign in 2019. As a professional mediator, she has performed over 100 mediations and conflict resolutions and is the winner of the 2014 Howard Bowers Award for Cooperative Board Leadership.

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