“Rooted, Resilient and Ready” that was the theme of the international track of the cooperative IMPACT conference that took place on October 4, 2023. Drawing 360 total attendees with 141 registrants signing up for at least one of the international sessions, it was a testament to see the interest in cooperatives globally! Thanks to the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) for jointly hosting this track at the IMPACT Conference.
During the “Cooperatives Innovating for the Planet” session speakers discussed the efforts undertaken by cooperatives to protect our planet. Special thanks to our moderator, Ann Vaughan, USAID, Senior Advisor for Climate Change, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, as well as our speakers Greg Grothe from Truterra, LLC and José Julián Ramírez Ruiz, Executive Director, FIDECOOP.
“Cooperatives and Social Inclusion” session was led by Dr. Judith Hermanson, International Cooperative Research Group (ICRG), Director. Dr. Hermanson framed the session from the lens of gender inclusion and facilitated a dialogue on how the cooperative business model helps build a truly inclusive economy. Speakers included:
- Tony Bedard – Frontier Co-op, CEO
- Jessica Gordon Nembhard – Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, The City University of New York, Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development
- Oscar Guzman – World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), Chief of Party, Economic Inclusion Project
In the afternoon, attendees were fortunate to hear from cooperative youth leaders from outside of the U.S. “The Future of Co-op Leadership” session was a panel of emerging leaders sharing thoughts on how to effectively attract, retain and engage youth in cooperative organizations. Special thanks to Ana Aguirre – TAZEBAEZ Cooperative, Co-Founder for moderating and to all the speakers who traveled from outside the U.S. to join us:
Timothy Bisakaya – Africa Co-operative Consortium, President (Kenya)
Francois Hastir – COOPSCO / Fédération québécoise des coopératives en milieu scolaire (FQCMS), President (Canada)
Kiran Kattel – Nepal Multipurpose Cooperative Society, International Relationship Officer (Nepal)
Jay-vee Pangan – Youth Connect Cooperative, Board Secretary (The Philippines)
Remy A. Rodriguez Chardon – Fincas La Sombra, Founder and CEO (Puerto Rico)
During the “Leveraging Digital Technology to Meet Member Needs” session speakers discussed various ways to use digital technologies to meet member needs. Thanks to Rebecca Rouse, USAID, Digital Finance Team Lead for moderating the session.
Speakers and topics included:
- Veronica Giraldo, Chief Partnerships Officer at Producers Trust spoke about e-commerce.
- Ashley Holst, Chief of Party at Global Communities spoke about texting communication tools.
- Rosemary K Mahoney, Cooperative Specialist at the International Finance Corporation shared online training tools.
- Camila Pineiro Harnecker, Strengthening Cooperatives and Producer Organizations Practice Area Director at NCBA CLUSA demonstrated the Co-op Business School.
- Santosh Thiruthi, Interim Director, Digital Innovations at World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) talked more about the role of Fintechs and innovation.
- Dan Waddle, Senior Vice President at NRECA International discussed with participants the different platforms and the integration process to ensure digital data can be used effectively.
The IMPACT International Track is made possible by USAID and sponsored by the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) and its members.