Staff and Board


Syd Burke

Director of Community Engagement

Syd (she/her) has spent 11 years living in, working for, and spreading the cooperative movement, and feels that living collectively has added incalculably to her well-being and worldview. She has personally lived with over 150 people, across six community houses, and currently resides in a community house she formed in Detroit, Michigan, where she’s plugged into spreading the community movement locally. She’s also traveled to over 80 communities of all types around the U.S. and Canada.
Syd has worked with cooperatives in a variety of settings; as a NASCO board member and executive committee representative, campaign fundraiser, intern, officer, new collective liaison, and informal visitor. Some of her favorite co-op work has been in alumni organizing, which she believes is imperative to the success and reach of the movement. In addition to her work with cooperatives, Syd’s professional experience has included fundraising, canvassing, organizing, directing outreach campaigns, and training for issue advocacy organizations supporting a variety of human rights initiatives.
As a supporter of inclusive economy and collective liberation, Syd believes that co-ops offer an alternative to exploitative models of housing and workplaces. She’s confident that with the right stewardship, support, and advocacy, collective housing will be much more commonplace and ultimately contribute significantly to the battle against inequality, the ever-worsening housing crisis, and the loneliness epidemic.

Syd's office hours are Monday - Friday from 8am - 4pm CST.

Brel Hutton-Okpalaeke

Director of Development Services
(630) 890-3165

Brel (they/them) began their co-op journey in 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin as a member of Madison Community Cooperative, Madison Area Cooperative Housing Alliance, and the United People of Color Caucus. In their free time, Brel teaches at and serves on the board of the Madison Freewheel Bicycle Co. and is in the process of converting it to a worker-owned co-op. Brel sees cooperatives as one of the best ways to affect social change and actively fight gentrification and extractive economic practices. Brel strives to make sure that people of color in cooperatives are represented, supported, and respected by our co-ops. Brel believes in strategic, continual expansion of the co-op sector because we can change the world for the better with these things!

Contact Brel for inquiries regarding starting or incorporating a co-op; construction, financing or expansion of your existing co-op; lobbying; comparative financial analysis; and co-op sector research; investment in the Kagawa Fund; and to nominate members to the NASCO Development Committee.

Brel's office hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm CT

Katherine Jennings

Director of Leadership Development

Katherine (she/her) discovered her love for cooperatives started in 2011 when she moved into Ad Astra, an UKSHA cooperative and NASCO property in Lawrence, KS. Within her first week at Ad Astra, she knew that she had happened upon something special, but had no way of knowing how big of an impact it would have on her life. Over the next six years, she served on the UKSHA Board of Directors in various roles before becoming one of two Executive Staff. In addition to her work with cooperatives, Katherine's professional experience has focused on food justice and non-profit management. Katherine is an aspiring artist, a dedicated writer, and an accomplished daydreamer.

Contact Katherine for inquiries regarding co-op staff support, NASCO governance, working at NASCO, and the Cooperative Leadership Certification Program.

Katherine's work hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 3:00 pm CT

Maggie O'Connor

Director of Property Services
(734) 368-4634

Maggie’s cooperative journey started young—even younger than they previously thought when they learned about the co-op preschool they once attended! Long after that, Maggie knowingly entered the cooperative space when they joined the Inter-Cooperative Council, Ann Arbor in 2016. Since then, they have loved & learned through co-op life in a variety of roles, including officer and staff positions, plus a recent stint on the NASCO board. Maggie believes in the co-op's power for radical change, both in the world and in ourselves. Much like the co-op preschool, things that are hidden in plain sight often play important roles in shaping our views of the world. Maggie would like to see the cooperative movement play a strong role in developing leaders and mobilizing people towards collective liberation and people-centered infrastructure.

In their free time, Maggie enjoys rollerblading, tromping around in the woods/near bodies of water, looking at pictures of rats online, and reading Wikipedia articles.

Maggie is a NASCO staff liaison to the NASCO Properties Board and the NP Executive Committee.

Contact Maggie for information about NASCO Properties, governance systems, co-op operational standards, member education & training, and conflict resolution.

Maggie’s office hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm CT

NASCO Board Members

Dahlia Bekong
Bob Cook
Nolan Darilek
Trisha Qualy
Seven Rockhold
Jason Tompkins
Lana Wong

NASCO Properties Board Members

Eileen Chavez
Nolan Darilek
Gracie Hopkins
soop kish
Tristan Laing
Shining Li
Jacqui Lyons
Peter Meyer Reimer
Seven Rockhold
Kathryn Solorzano Lowell
Jason Tompkins
Haitao Wang
Ryan Zmuda