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).
Lori Capouch – Board Vice President
North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives
Rural Development Director
Lori Capouch is a development professional who leads rural people through the grassroots development process, empowering them to create the businesses they desire in their communities. She is the rural development director for the ND Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives overseeing the Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center in Mandan, ND.
Lori provides administrative services to the Rural Development Finance Corporation and the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education. She serves as vice chair for CooperationWorks, secretary/treasurer for Dakotas America, LLC and is on the board of trustees for The Cooperative Foundation. Lori serves on an oversight committee for the ND State University Center for Community Vitality.
Lori holds a BS in business management from the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND and is a certified economic development finance professional through the National Development Council.
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.
Bill Stevenson – Board Secretary
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
Director of Cooperative Development
Since January 1, 2011, Bill, an attorney, has been the director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center, serving Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Bill directs all aspects of the Center’s operations, in conjunction with the RMFU’s director and financial and other staff. Bill has been involved in dozens of Center projects including grant writing, business planning for Colorado HealthOP, Walk2Connect, and Metro Denver, and co-op culture cultivation. He served on the executive committee of the Metro Denver Community Wealth Building Network, which is an alliance of community organizers and economic developers and which Bill has utilized in part to publicize rural cooperative development projects to help bridge the challenging rural-urban gap in Colorado. He served as president of CW during its conversion from a cooperative to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit when CW hired its first staff person in many years. He has managed staff and project growth RMFU CDC. Bill notes that the staff are the real stars of the Center’s operational universe.
Myra Bryant – Board Member
Mississippi Center for Cooperative Development
Ms. Myra Bryant became Executive Director of the Mississippi Center for Cooperative Development in 2008 after serving for 12 years as a Cooperative Development Specialist under Melbah Smith, to whose mentorship Myra credits her success as a co-op developer. She has provided outreach in strategic planning, business plan development, cooperative development and training to all of MCCD’s projects since its inception in 1997. They provide assistance to any one within the state of MS, and to AL, AR, TN and LA. Ms. Bryant holds a Masters in Business Administration from Southern University. For the past 11 years, Ms. Bryant has led the planning committee and execution of the Small Farmer/Women in Business Conference, which brings together farmers, ranchers, landowners and women who own or desire to own their own business enterprise. She has a passion to see the lives of others empowered by the technical assistance and outreach that the center provides.
Knowledge is Key, Wisdom is Profound, and Success is Achievable!
Tom Pierson, – Board Member
Tom is a specialist in the issues of housing and worker cooperative development. As an independent consultant, Tom provides facilitation, education, historical research and technical assistance services to cooperatives across the country. Pierson serves on the board of Shared Capital Cooperative, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that lends nationally to cooperative businesses. He serves on the board of Twin Cities Co-op Partners, a wholesale and retail co-op based in Minneapolis. He also serves on the board of Riverton Community Housing, a developer of student housing cooperatives in Minneapolis. He serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota on topics related to co-op law and economics.
Jan Brown – Board Member
Montana Cooperative Development Center
Janice Brown became executive director of the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) in July 2015. She supervises two full-time staff and a network of 10 technical advisors who organize and support new cooperatives across Montana and eastern Idaho. Based in Great Falls, MCDC also provides management services to the multi-sector Montana Council of Cooperatives.
Jan has 41 years of experience with private businesses, nonprofit organizations, federal contractors, and state and local governments across the Northern Rockies. Her expertise relevant to co-op development includes board governance, public participation, natural resource policy, and strategic and regional planning.
A graduate of the Oregon State University School of Forestry, Jan has worked exclusively in Idaho and Montana including 10 years of operating her own guest lodge near Yellowstone National Park. She enjoys hiking, good books, watching baseball, and entertaining friends and family at her Idaho mountain cabin,
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