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Meet the 2024 CLS Cohort


Sandra Baca 

Sandra Baca (she/her/ella) directs the efforts of the Cooperative Development Center at Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The RMFU center provides technical assistance to emerging and existing cooperatives and other organizations in community wealth-building and food system-related ventures related to its mission: to help build a more just, healthy, thriving, and inclusive economy through cooperative enterprises and mutually owned businesses in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.   

Sandra studied criminology at Metro State University and Arapahoe Community College in Colorado and has worked for RMFU for seven years in several capacities including web and graphic design and social media management. During college, she was actively engaged in community service. Sandra served on her neighborhood food pantry board of directors for two three-year terms, contributing to the fight against hunger. As a housing counselor, she volunteered her time to help families avoid foreclosure. Additionally, she participated as a community voice on the Denver Independent Monitor: Kids and Cops community advisory board, advocating for positive changes in law enforcement practices. Beyond that, Sandra helped in the start-up of the Southwest Denver Food Coalition—a collaborative network of food pantries sharing services and resources. Through these diverse roles, she has witnessed the transformative impact of community involvement and remains committed to making a difference. 


Phoebe Clement

Phoebe Clement (she/her) is a Brooklyn based co-op leader with a deep dedication to equitable food systems. Through her work at Greene Hill Food Co-op she aims to provide accessible high-quality food to her neighborhood. Phoebe works with fellow member-owners on creating a space that is community and worker centered and works diligently to ensure ethical food sourcing while maintaining affordable pricing. Phoebe is driven by a cooperative's ability to combat economic inequalities with immediate local impact. She continues her work in solidarity economies and food justice through involvement in organizing, food rescuing, and policy advocacy. 

Phoebe graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is proudly from Buffalo, New York.

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Laura Flores 

Laura Flores (she/her) is a queer immigrant of color. She was born in Mexico, raised in southern California, and resides in Oakland. Over the years in multiple social justice-focused roles, she has developed a passion for creating workplaces where Brown, Indigenous, and all people of color can show up as their authentic selves and thrive. She started her professional career 15 years ago as a community organizer. Since then, her journey has taken her into many social impact roles, including managing a social justice fellowship for undocumented immigrant youth, advising labor unions on political campaigns, and launching a women’s entrepreneurship center while in graduate school. As a senior client services manager for Project Equity, she steers alongside business owners and workers the conversion of small businesses into employee-owned structures and trains and coaches worker-owners in building inclusive, democratic, and thriving workplaces. She received her BA in Global Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MBA from Mills College.


Salvador Gonzalez Meza

Salvador Gonzalez Meza (he/him) serves the Denver community as the cooperative development specialist for Center for Community Wealth Building, where he helps community members launch and develop co-ops. He manages the Train-the-Trainer in Co-op Development program, of which he is an alumnus, an educational program increasing co-op trainers and developers in the ecosystem. He has increased access to the co-op development curriculum in the Hispanic community, facilitating the trainer curriculum fully in Spanish and helping to grow the network to over 50 trainers. He emphasizes working with co-ops in the food system, including worker-owned, consumer-owned, and multisector-owned, to increase community ownership of the food sector and supply chain in traditional industries and markets where BIPOC ownership and the benefits of their labor have not resulted in wealth creation. Salvador began implementing the co-op principles while working with nonprofits and social enterprises with missions of food justice. He holds a BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Colorado in the New Directions for Politics and Public Policy, in the Social Economy and Sustainable Development specialization, and wrote his thesis on the Political Economy of Co-op Law Development. He serves on the steering committee for Food Justice Northwest Aurora, earned the Next Economy MBA with Lift Economy, and has completed CooperationWorks! trainings. He serves the Denver community, contributing to campaigns for human and immigrant rights, food justice, environment, economic, and social justice. He attended the USFWC meeting in Philadelphia, Co-op Cincy’s Dream to Action, and Human Agenda’s Immersion Tour to Cuba.


Anthony Goodwin

Anthony Goodwin (he/him) serves as the business innovation director for National Co+op Grocers where he is focused on the research and development of innovative solutions to grow the size, scope, and diversity of the cooperative grocery sector in low-income, low-access (LILA) communities. Anthony's passion is improving food access in under-resourced communities. He has over 17 years of grocery industry experience across various sectors including national chains, non-profits, and cooperatives. Prior to joining NCG, Anthony worked in retail operations and new store development for Meijer and Lucky's Market and also led the development of three non-profit grocery stores in Ohio and Michigan while at ProMedica Health System. Anthony has a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Toledo and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Health with a concentration on food justice and health equity.

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Abigail Grott

Abigail Grott (she/her) is new to the co-op world after working in the nonprofit sector for the past few years. She enjoys putting great care into the organization and operation of event programming. Now, as administrative specialist for the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, she applies her skills to their national conference, the Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference, as well as the Center’s other educational programming throughout the year. With a passion for communication, she is working toward extending helpful and accessible resources to people in the cooperative world to use for greater impact in their own cooperatives and communities. Abby holds degrees in Communication Studies and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, sewing, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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Capri Jones

Capri Jones (she/her) has lived in Minnesota all her life. Shortly after graduating from North Community High School in 2018, Capril entered the housing industry as a leasing agent for a company working with over 70 properties across South Minneapolis and St. Paul. To extend her knowledge in housing, she moved into property management. Capri currently works as the assistant community manager for Riverton Community Housing, a nonprofit organization that manages the properties for seven cooperatives. Riverton’s mission is to deliver "quality housing where residents have a collaborative voice in decisions that shape their living experience and create stronger communities, all at an affordable price."


Capri supports Riverton’s members by empowering and understanding them while allowing members to know that their voice can make a change by understanding co-op leadership. She is supporting diversity through working with a majority international population, which is teaching her new ways to articulate. Capri is furthering the mission by providing a great community for Riverton’s members.


Mu Knowles

Mu Knowles (they/them) is an Afro-Indigenous trans non-binary queer liberation steward born and raised in the historically Black Hilltop Neighborhood in Puyallup Tribal Territory (Tacoma, WA). Mu serves as a co-founder and consultant at Collective Liberation in Practice. Mu holds a Bachelors in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Puget Sound where they focused on the study of classificatory and categorical systems within the U.S. as they relate to power, disenfranchisement, oppression and inequity. In their Afro-Indigenous Futurist energy work, artistry, scholarship and creative writing, Knowles acknowledges and reckons with the way in which we approach and are able to transform our shared-reality and historiography through reclamation of agency, narrative, creativity, and storytelling.

Over the last sixteen years they have been delving into collective power building and movement making work. They have dedicated their energy and efforts to co-creating an environment in community that is grounded in sustainable, intentional, fluid, proactive, and inclusive practices and ways of being.

Black and Indigenous ancestral wisdom and futuristic visions have been their guiding compass as they reclaim their relational plane. A liberated embodiment is their birthright, to exist, to thrive, to be, unbound and alive. Their heart's work is rooted in legacies of liberation, seeds of sovereignty, lineages of love, rivers of revolution, havens of holistic healing, and genealogies of justice. Sacred is the path of remembrance. Significant is our interconnection and interdependence. Sustainable are solutions born of great intention. May they be protected as they bring their dreams to fruition.


Idalis Longoria

Idalis Longoria (she/her) serves at Grace in Action Collectives as the director of co-op development. She works with Southwest Detroit residents to build cooperative-based jobs, provides training and mentoring in cooperative development, engages residents in ongoing relational conversations, and provides business analysis to the network of cooperatives. She has supported the launch of 3 worker-owned businesses and supports 6 active or soon-to-launch cooperatives. She first got hooked on co-ops as a founding member of Bridging Languages Co-op, a business built on collectivizing interpreters to demand better working conditions and better language services for non-English speaking communities. Idalis is a part of the SW Fest organizing team, coordinating over 100 food, artist, and merchandise vendors and resource tables for 3 years in a row. SW Fest is a FREE large-scale music and art festival organized by a collective of young Southwest creatives who aim to celebrate their vibrant community and culture with a snapshot of everything their communities have to offer. She volunteers with Detroit Southwest Pride on organizing multiple community events throughout the year including a trunk or treat, Easter egg hunt, and back-to-school event, and leads the Christmas program that supports 35+ families facing extreme hardships, including over 100 children during the holiday season. She is passionate about bringing people together to find ways to collectively address problems in her community and believes in building the things we wish to have in a post-capitalist world now, creating a collective future through relationships, storytelling, and organizing.

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Elizabeth López 

Elizabeth López (she/her/ella) is the operations manager for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, where she joined staff in January 2020 with a focus on people-centered operations work. Elizabeth is a second-generation Mexican immigrant who grew up on the southwest side of Chicago and is now based in Philadelphia. She first began organizing around reproductive justice and immigrant rights, which eventually led her to work in labor organizing. Elizabeth has an MA in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University, where she was a Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) fellow. While living in Nashville she began organizing with Workers’ Dignity--a worker center led by member low-wage workers organizing for economic, transit, and immigrant justice--and eventually served as operations manager and interim co-director from 2016-2019. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys reading, typewriting and working on her next Halloween costume.

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Katy McCreadie

Katy McCreadie (she/her) is a is a 25-year-old financial experience advisor II with connectFirst Credit Union (CFCU). Katy graduated from Lethbridge College with a Business Management Diploma in 2019 and started with CFCU in June of 2019. Katy is currently serving as chair of the nextGen Leaders and leading the re-vamp of the CFCU Learn and Earn Scholarship Program. Katy is extremely passionate about community impact and sustainability; she contributes to multiple organizational initiatives including connectFirst’s volunteer month in April and building out an internal mentorship program. On the side she collaborates with cooperatives in the Province of Alberta to bring financial literacy to the community and presented this topic at the 2023 Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) Congress.


Katy was a recipient of the 2023 Co-operators Young Leaders scholarship and in turn received opportunities to speak on youth panels, attend virtual and in person workshops and drive the importance of cooperative education in her organization. One of Katy’s main values is giving back to her community, engaging with local 4-H groups and her sister Cheyanne’s elementary school, discovering opportunities such as purchasing and delivering pies for local seniors through an initiative that benefits the local food bank during Thanksgiving, sorting clothing donations at the WINS Shelter in Calgary, and working local fundraisers such as Spock Days. Katy lives in Vulcan, Alberta with her boyfriend Cody and her 14-year-old Chihuahua Jack Russel, Brittany. She has 2 younger sisters, Megan and Cheyanne, who have helped form the leadership qualities and passion for community that Katy exhibits today.


Maya Miracle

Maya Miracle (she/her) serves as the Wage Slavery Abolitionist Lead at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) where she is the project manager for the reboot of a free online legal resource library that demystifies the legal issues facing the founding, conversion, and operations of cooperative enterprises. She also contributed to the Worker Owned Recovery California Coalition, where she conducted grassroots organizing to ensure the legislative efforts of the coalition matched the needs of worker owners. In her role at SELC she has also worked to create legislation for the creation of prison cooperatives in collaboration with Earth Equity—an organization founded by an incarcerated individual in San Quentin. Maya is passionate about economic and racial justice, collective ownership, and joyful social movements. Maya began her passion for cooperatives growing up in Asheville, NC a historical hub for southern cooperatives. Before joining SELC, Maya channeled her passion for food and community as the head cook at several community-centered restaurants. In this role, she furthered her understanding of work as a significant political platform for driving broader social change. Maya has a B.A. in Community Studies - Economic Justice from UC Santa Cruz where she has experience volunteering at multiple co-ops and labor unions.


Jodi Nicole

Hailing from Jamaica, Jodi Nicole (they/them) is a neurodivergent queer, non-binary femme photographer, cultural organizer, and migrant rights advocate living on unceded Lenape land in so-called New York. Over the span of several years, they have engaged in racial justice organizing including post-disaster relief work, supporting police violence survivors, and devising harm reduction strategies. Cultivating liberatory frameworks where Black LGBTQIAP+ people are honored and meaningfully included is immensely important to them. jodi's forthcoming media projects center communities they belong to. They are passionate about visual storytelling and especially concerned with exalting the narratives of global majority people who have historically been subjugated.

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Jenna Pollack, MUPP, MA

Jenna Pollack, MUPP, MA (she/her) is a community-engaged researcher, dance professional, cultural organizer, urban planner, and educator. She works for the Chicago Community Wealth Building Ecosystem (CCWBE) as a researcher, organizer, and program manager for their work with the City of Chicago's Community Wealth Building initiative. Focused on research and convening at CCWBE, Jenna is cultivating a community of practice for grantees and ecosystem partners by facilitating monthly working groups, coordinating technical training programs, and hosting relationship-building community events. In their research capacity, CCWBE is working to release a report in fall 2024 that will elaborate on the short- and long-term impact of cooperative work in Chicago, the importance of continuing resources for implementation, and translating Chicago-specific lessons for policy and practice.

Jenna is also an independent choreographer, and this season is a City of Chicago Cultural Center Dance Fellow. Previously, Jenna was a community researcher at Borderless Workshop for their ongoing Creative Grounds project, researcher at Arts Alliance Illinois on their Illinois Creative Workforce Activation (ICWA) program, and the summer studio manager for the UIC City Design Graduate Program for their community charrette module. Before moving back home to Chicago, Jenna was an assistant professor of dance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Salem State University, and the Boston Ballet.


Autumn Solomon

Autumn Solomon (she/her) began her cooperative journey in May 2022 when she was hired at Carolinas Telco Federal Credit Union. While she had been with a different credit union for 4 years, that previous organization had never even explained that there was a world of cooperatives. As a niece of a farmer, Autumn was raised with the cooperative model and spent much of her time with local FFA and 4-H chapters. As she entered the cooperative world in 2022, she was paired with Emily Nail, who, while working for Coastal Credit Union was still serving as the executive director for the Cooperative Council of North Carolina (CCNC) as a mentor. Autumn felt blessed to attend both the CCNC Cooperative Conference and the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation Principles and Philosophy Conference. Together, these two programs showed the rich history of the cooperative movement. Autumn became more aware of how we can continue this cooperative movement and learn the social and economical strains that are being placed on the nation's cooperatives now. Cooperatives are the way and anyone who doesn't know that has not had a conversation with Autumn yet!


Becca Stephen Smith

Becca Stephen Smith (she/her) has dedicated over a decade to working with our nation’s farmer-owned cooperatives at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Currently serving as the organization’s Senior Director of Member & Industry Relations, she coordinates the organization’s membership development and outreach to farmer co-op members. In this capacity, she is also responsible for NCFC’s educational programing, including the annual Director Education Conference. Throughout her tenure, Becca has also assisted with NCFC’s communications efforts by working to build the organization’s online presence as well as designing and developing printed materials.

Prior to joining NCFC, Becca served as an account manager at Osborn Barr, a marketing and communications agency in St. Louis. While in that role, she oversaw and contributed to public relations and communications tactics for the United Soybean Board and several Qualified State Soybean Boards.

A Missouri native, Becca was raised on her family’s corn, soybean, and beef cattle farm in Stewartsville, a rural town about an hour north of Kansas City. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Journalism in 2011.


Cierra Washington

Cierra Washington (she/her) is the project manager for the Northside Food Co-op in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Northside, a historically Black neighborhood in Wilmington, has been without a grocery store for over 30 years. A University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) alum with a BS in psychology, Cierra became intensely involved with local community organizations via work and volunteer engagements. Through these experiences she developed a passion for food access and food justice. This drew her to the Northside Food Co-op, starting as a volunteer which led to a full time position, and a promotion to project manager. The co-op is engaged with the county in a public-private partnership to develop a grocery co-op in the Northside, and with local government support for the store post-opening. Today Cierra leads the co-op’s small-but-mighty staff in robust community programming aimed at addressing social determinants of health within the Northside neighborhood. The team is building significant relationships with local residents and community agencies. Cierra also coordinates the co-op’s board of directors and activities to advance the co-op’s grocery enterprise project.

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