Staff & Managers Conference

Photographs of 2016 Staff & Managers Conference attendees

This year's Staff & Managers Conference will be held in Boston, MA on Monday, May 7th and Tuesday, May 8th. 

Overview

The NASCO Staff & Managers Conference is a cooperative education and training program that is designed specifically to meet the needs of staff and managers of campus-based housing cooperatives. The conference serves as a collective learning forum that strives to empower campus co-op staff from across Canada and the United States. Conference participants share ideas through workshops, discussions, peer consultancy, and informal networking.
 
Surveys & round-table discussions reflecting a variety of topics help managers compare their cooperative's performance and policies to those of other co-ops. NASCO strongly encourages managers and staff to attend and share individual experiences with the rest of the movement's management staff as well as to seek new solutions and gain support to face the challenges of campus co-op management. This year we are partnering with the New Economy Coalition to build our movement building skills. We will be joined by Tori Kuper and Nati Linares (Bios below). Our workshops will focus on honing our tools for communication and learning from successful organizing campaigns of the cooperative movement (workshop descriptions below).
 
Spotlighting a local cooperative on Tuesday we will be touring a local house the Margaret Moseley Cooperative. Started in October 2016 this house is the newest addition to the Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperative. After the tour we will have a short Q & A with some of the founding and current members.
 

Workshop Descriptions

Communication with Members

Communication is work that we all do. Every staff person and member does communication work. In this workshop we will work together to identify how we currently communicate with our members and which methods we use for different purposes. We will build a toolbox of best practices together. Part of communication is telling the cooperative story. Our goal is to engage members in the work of communication both on the cooperative level and on the movement level. And building the conditions to communicate more broadly outside of these worlds to bring about massive social transformation!

Organizing Makes a Movement

Organizing members has often been likened to herding cats. In this workshop we will be learning about movements and campaigns that are aligned with the cooperative movement and tools and skill sets co-op members can use to support movement work.  As well as painting a picture of current movement work including cooperative policy platforms that co-ops can get involved with. Staff will have time to discuss their co-ops current projects and how we as a community can connect and support local and national organizing.

Presenter Biographies

Tori Kuper
She comes to the New Economy movement through the cooperative sector. She was introduced to co-ops in 2009, when she moved to Buffalo out of a desire to live in community, and became a member of Nickel City Housing Cooperative. While at NCHC, she served as President and House Treasurer, and also sat on the Boards of NASCO Properties and NASCO Education. She co-founded BreadHive Worker Cooperative, a popular worker-owned sourdough bakery, and is now working to launch Buffalo's first worker cooperative development center. Tori wrote the Worker Cooperative Resolution adopted by the Buffalo Common Council and is organizing to advance statewide legislation to support worker cooperative development. She earned her MA in Performance Studies from New York University, where she studied the intersection of power, oppression, and subversive performance in movements for social change. Tori is a 2016 Cooperative Developer Fellow with the Democracy at Work Institute. Her primary interests include leadership development and strategies for building a cooperative culture. In addition to being a co-oper for life, Tori is a community builder, youth mentor, bagel sandwich connoisseur, fire spinner, partner, and mom.
 
Natalia 'nati' Linares
Her decade of work as an artist advocate, publicist, and social entrepreneur inspired a deep-seeded passion for economic justice and democracy. In 2010, she founded conrazón - creating visibility for the world's wildest creators and disorganizers - an artist development agency investing in new paradigms for a hyper-connected, heart-centered generation. Her extensive resume includes working as an artist manager for Panamanian, Oakland-based bicultural rap pioneers Los Rakas and Brazil-via-Brooklyn Carioca-funk polyglot diva Zuzuka Poderosa, handling Artist Relations for NYC's iconic free concert series SummerStage, leading publicity efforts for emergent festivals like Santiago de Cuba's inaugural MANANA as well as the Afro-Latino Festival of NYC, and strategic consulting for #DIASPORADICAL artists like Chicano Batman, Blitz the Ambassador, Bomba Estereo, Quantic and many others. Linares is also the founder of ISLA, an arts collective based in her hometown of New York City borough Staten Island, which organizes an annual community arts festival. This experience & her ongoing work as a collective member of Sol CollectiveSacramento, CA - a community center which is co-creating a co-operative record label, artist development model & grassroots touring network - led her to explore the role art and artist collectives could play in building not only a new economy, but a new culture.
 

Conference Fees

NASCO Active Member Co-op / Associate Member Organization (up to 5 people): $200 USD / $270 CAD (first registrant), $50 USD / $70 CAD per additional registrant
 
Non-Member Co-op/ Organization (up to 5 people): $300 USD / $400 CAD (first registrant), $50 USD / $70 CAD per additional registrant
 
Conference fees include breakfast, coffee, tea, snacks, and dinner on Monday evening. Hotel and lunch costs are not included.

Testimonials

"One of the highlights was spending time with other co-op staff and feeling very understood, supported, and inspired by them and their commitment and skills. I also found both of the presentations about conflict resolution and dealing with problem members very informative and engaging."
 
"Getting together with fellow co-op staff and learning from one another is always the best part of the Staff and Managers Conference; lots of great ideas were shared."
 
"As a relatively new staff member it was great opportunity to meet, bond and discover a wide swath of common ground with similarly engaged colleagues from around the country. The vibe was warm, inviting and engaging. Although many of our coop systems operate differently we share many common issues. There was no end to the creative ways coops have found to solve similar problems."
 
"One action item I left with was a clarity that I serve at the pleasure of the membership. It's therefore very important to have clear expectations around the authority staff has to interpret and enforce policy. On one hand our members need to be trained on how to evaluate staff and manage professional relationships and staff career needs. Additionally, executive and administrative staff need relationships and understandings with the membership about the nature of their employment that enables them to execute their duties with confidence and efficiency. I'll be working to clarify these issues with the the membership in my organization."
 
"The conference was terrific. I really feel more a part of something larger than just my coop."
 
“It was worth driving 12 hours back and forth for 36 hours with NASCO.”
 
“Very, very great conference!”