Staff & Board of Directors
Alex Stone – Executive Director
Alex Stone has been the Executive Director of CW since early 2016. She first became involved with co-ops through student housing co-ops at UC Berkeley, where she lived for three years and participated as a house-level manager and board member. She was deeply involved with the creation of the Berkeley Student Food Collective and served as the store’s first Operations Manager through its first two years. Alex co-founded the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive and coordinated its first training involving over twenty students from seven universities across the west coast. As ED of CW, she looks forward to expanding CW’s impact on the field of cooperative development.
Kim Coontz – Board President
California Center for Cooperative Development
E. Kim Coontz’s involvement with CW dates back to 2000, its first operational year. Kim is the Executive Director of the California Center for Cooperative Development, a private non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting cooperatives. She has been working with cooperative enterprises for over 25 years. During her cooperative career she has provided start-up assistance new cooperatives, including the development of feasibility studies and business plans. She has taught cooperative board governance seminars, conducted research on cooperatives, and provided technical support to cooperatives. She has authored and co-authored more than 10 publications about cooperatives and written numerous articles. Prior to her employment with CCCD, Kim was Executive Director of Yolo Mutual Housing Association, a nonprofit developer of cooperatively-governed affordable housing in Davis, CA. She also spent 14 years working for the Center for Cooperatives at the University of California at Davis (prior to its closure in 2004)
Diane Gasaway – Board Treasurer
Northwest Center for Cooperative Development
Diane joined the NWCDC in 2003 and together with the NWCDC Board of Directors has been responsible for building the Center into what it is today. Her specialty is in strategic planning, co-op education, co-op development, grant administration, and budget management for a multitude of projects.
Diane has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. She received a Master of Public Administration (with a co-op emphasis) from The Evergreen State College.
RL Condra – Board Member
National Cooperative Bank
VP of Advocacy and Government Programs
R. L. Condra has been Vice President of Advocacy and Government Programs at National Cooperative Bank (NCB) since November 2013. Mr. Condra is an advocate for the National Cooperative Bank’s members and works closely with key government agencies and representatives on different enterprises that support the cooperative sector. He has extensive network of relationships in Congress, the White House and Federal Agencies to advance programs and fund opportunities for
Brian Donovan – Board Member
Brian Donovan is the former Executive Director of the Austin Cooperative Business Association (ACBA), a regional cross-sector trade association for cooperatives. From 2005-2013 Brian managed the Univ. of Texas Inter-Cooperative Council, a student housing cooperative. Brian served on the board of NASCO Development Services for 8 years and the NASCO Board for two years. Presently he is Co-Director of The Cooperation Group, a non-profit cooperative development organization based in Detroit, Michigan. Before working in co-ops Brian worked for Apple as the manager of the Inside Sales team serving educational institutions. He also has experience working in state and local politics including managing the campaign for Greg Hamilton, the first African-American Sheriff in Travis County Texas. Brian recently assisted the Austin City Council in passing a resolution supporting cooperatives including $60,000 for starting and expanding the local cooperative economy. He is currently a trustee of two revolving loan funds supporting housing cooperatives: the Kagawa Fund at the Cooperative Development Foundation and the KSCR Fund at Shared Capital Cooperative.
Stuart Reid – Board Member
Food Co-op Initiative
Stuart’s co-op trajectory launched in 1976, when he discovered the tiny Northeast Food Co-op in Minneapolis. Since then he has volunteered, been employed (in nearly every possible grocery store role!), and managed several food co-ops; including Bryant-Central Co-op, Powderhorn Co-op, Seward Co-op and the Wedge in Minneapolis, and the Good Earth Co-op in St. Cloud, MN. In 2004, He helped open the Just Food Co-op in Northfield, MN as their first general manager. His experience also includes time as a buyer for the co-op-owned DANCe warehouse, and service on several co-op boards, including the Twin Cities Natural Food Grocers Association, and CooperationWorks!. Stuart began providing startup co-op support as the first staff person of Food Co-op 500, a pilot project organized by visionary co-op leaders in 2006. The project incorporated in 2010, as Food Co-op Initiative where he continues to serve as Executive Director. Over the years he has presented training at national and regional conferences, developed webinars and written guides to provide communities with the information and encouragement they need to successfully start new food co-ops across the U.S.
Teia Evans – Board Member
Carolina Common Enterprise
Teia Evans is the Associate Director at Carolina Common Enterprise. Ms. Evans has been with the organization for 3 years, providing technical assistance and training towards developing cooperative economies across North Carolina. She has completed the Art & Science in Cooperative Development training, was selected to be involved in the 2017 Cooperative Leader and Scholar Institute with the National Cooperative Business Association and also serves on the board for CoFed. Ms. Evans is dedicated to building a stronger and more inclusive cooperative economy. She earned her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration degrees at North Carolina Central University
Keystone Development Center
Director of Membership
McDow has over eight years of outreach and marketing experience. He is a cooperator, has a servant’s heart and has dedicated his life to bringing together rural and urban America for the purposes of achieving an inclusive economy. Previously, McDow managed membership and stakeholder relations for National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA). During his tenure, he turned around a 5-year decline in membership and recruited 20 times the amount of members year-over-year – The largest recruitment over a 5-year period. McDow and his senior leadership helped set a foundation for growth for years to come.
Prior to NCBA CLUSA, he handled membership outreach and retention for the Montgomery County Medical Society (MCMS) and MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, with a primary focus on the development and execution of strategic and tactical engagement plans.
Before joining MCMS and MedChi, McDow worked on the Ward 4 City Council campaign of Dr. Edwin Powell in Washington, D.C., offering critical assistance to Powell in the development and execution of his community engagement strategy in order to promote his legislative agenda. Additionally, McDow was a key asset in the development and promotion of the campaign’s character development ballot initiative.
While serving as a committee board member at Open Table – Massachusetts, McDow led strategies that modernized the look and feel of the organization, and implemented a social media and outreach plan that continues to make a lasting impact.
Ben Burkett – Board Member
Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
Mississippi State Coordinator
Ben Burkett is employed by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund as State Coordinator of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC). Established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, MAC serves farmers, their families and communities by increasing their livelihood security and improving quality of life. Building from a tradition begun in the Civil Rights Movement, MAC provides technical assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security.
Ben is a fourth-generation farmer currently heading up a 320-acre farm in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS). A legendary farm advocate, Ben has spent more than 30 years speaking, writing, testifying and organizing for the rights of independent family farmers in his community, across the U.S. and around the world.
Ben has studied cooperative development and developed marketing co-ops in the U.S., Africa, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.
Myrisa Christy – Board Member
Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development
Myrisa began working with KCARD in 2012 and brings over 10 years of project management experience to KCARD. Myrisa is currently the Project Director in Southeastern Kentucky, leading KCARD’s work in the region. Myrisa helps businesses with business planning, finding resources for their growing operations, and helping them access markets for their products. In Myrisa’s free time, she loves hiking, biking, and anything outdoors.
Andrew Crow – Board Member
Alaska Cooperative Development Center