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About Us

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The ICA Group Theory of Change

ICA seeks to create, promote, and support jobs, while collaborating with workers to define a truly entrepreneurial, democratic, and community-minded economy. Our approach interrupts economic destabilization of individuals and communities, transforming jobs into meaningful, dignified drivers of a robust economy. ICA envisions a future where workers lead and own democratic workplaces and shape political and economic systems. This new economy will support racial and gender equity, foster respect and inclusion, and create real opportunities for workers to cultivate wealth and autonomy.

Centering worker voice, growing worker wealth, and building worker power exist at the core of ICA’s mission, and describe a critical element of the strategy we employ to achieve meaningful societal transformation. We advance democratic worker ownership, which has the immediate effect of increasing worker voice and autonomy in the workplace, while fairly allocating financial returns. We also support the growth and development of social enterprises and promote the quality and dignity of temporary work through our work in alternative staffing, helping thousands of disadvantaged job seekers enter and succeed in today’s workforce.

Insufficient pay and benefits and unpredictable hours are endemic problems in many industries, with their root causes situated outside of individual firms. We believe that solving these problems requires transforming firms, building networks between institutions, and shaping macro-conditions that will foster quality jobs.

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Who We Are


Insiyah Bergeron

Cooperative Developer

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ibergeron@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work with businesses in Massachusetts that are interested in transitioning to employee ownership.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

In graduate school, I had the amazing opportunity to work with CERO, a composting cooperative in Boston. Our design team of CERO staff and MIT students worked together for six months. We surveyed potential customers to learn about their waste management needs, tested community engagement strategies, and designed marketing materials to promote the co-op. This hands-on experience allowed me to see the power of employee ownership and shared decision-making in action. I was and am inspired by CERO’s mission to divert food waste and create good jobs for Boston residents. This experience led me to start composting in my own home, a practice I’ve proudly maintained over the years.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

My husband and I recently started rock climbing. We’re both super amateurs but it’s been fun to learn a new skill together and experience incremental progress.

Where is your current home base?

I work out of ICA’s Northampton office.

Favorite TED talk?

“The happy secret to better work” by Shawn Achor. This talk inspired me to start journaling four years ago, in an attempt to keep track of the good things that happen every day. I start a new journal every year, and one of my favorite activities is going through my old journals and seeing how life has progressed, and reviewing all that I have to be grateful for.

What is your favorite podcast about leadership?

I love “By the Book,” hosted by two awesome ladies, Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, who live by a different self help book every episode and report back on their experience. This podcast has helped me discover many cool tips and tricks about keeping the everyday joyful and organized.

Favorite travel snack?

Dried mango.


Allison Curtis

Social Enterprise Consultant

View full bio

acurtis@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I help businesses that are interested in converting to cooperative ownership better understand the process as it relates to their goals, financials, and structure.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I’m a big fan of the CERO Cooperative, a composting and food diversion company in Boston. They used a Direct Public Offering (DPO) to finance their business through community support. I love this model because it allows community members to invest in the success of a business they care about, providing opportunities for both the business and the community to build wealth and power.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I love to spend time outdoors hiking, swimming, and biking (when Massachusetts weather allows). I’m also an amateur potter and I spend many afternoons throwing on the wheel after work.

Where is your current home base?

Northampton

Favorite TED talk?

Hannah Gadsby’s “Three ideas. Three contradictions. Or not.” She sort of flips comedy on its head, and has an incredible way of talking about vulnerability that I find really inspirational.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Many of my personal models for leadership come from novels, rather than books that specifically lay out leadership strategies. I find the characters in Octavia Butler’s novels to be particularly inspiring– Lauren from Parable of the Sower is probably my favorite example.

Favorite travel snack?

Anything cheese flavored—Cheez-Its are a guilty pleasure.


Camille Gharib

Metrics Coordinator

View full bio 

cgharib@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I provide administrative and logistical support, assist with accounting, and maintain our client management databases.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Harpoon Brewery! A local favorite from my hometown of Boston.

What is your favorite podcast?

I always find gems on Planet Money and Code Switch.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I enjoy reading, traveling, and going to see live music as much as possible. I’m also a Beyoncé superfan.

Where is your current home base?

I work primarily out of the Northampton office, but you’ll also catch me in the Boston office once a week. Best of both worlds!

Favorite TED talk?

“How to get better at the things you care about” by Eduardo Briceño. I love this talk, which helped me think differently about how to improve at the things I care about by deliberately alternating between high-stakes performance zones and risk-friendly learning zones.

Favorite travel snack?

As much as I want to say unsalted almonds and celery sticks, I have a deep weakness for chocolate-covered pretzels!


David Hammer

Executive Director

View full bio

dhammer@icagroup.org


(he, him, his)

What do you do at ICA?

On my best days, I am a coach, guide, and thought partner. I am responsible for much of our sales and development work, and I play a role in various coalitions and partnerships across the country. I also help to shape ICA’s long-term goals.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Lately I’ve been particularly inspired by the home care cooperatives we work with. For instance, Home Care Associates of Philadelphia has taken a major business challenge – recruitment and retention in a sector with a major workforce shortage and low wages that are largely dictated by public payment rates – and doubled down on ownership as a way to build meaningful connections with workers. In a sector with turnover approaching 80%, HCA is seeing more and more workers joining the cooperative as members.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

A good day for me will involve time in the garden. Digging in the dirt is incredibly relaxing and I love that my mistakes often take a whole season to be truly understood. I also enjoy playing board and card games with my children, especially now that they are old enough to give me a run for my money.

Where is your current home base?

I am based out of Northampton, a place I lived for a number of years when I went to UMass Amherst as an undergrad and grad student.

Favorite TED talk?

“Will automation take away our jobs?” by David Autor. When we let middle skill jobs die, we create a chasm between bad jobs and good jobs that can’t be bridged. Autor’s work is one of the few places where this issue is being addressed, and his analysis has had a significant influence on ICA’s approach to our employee ownership conversion work.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Building trusting relationships is really what leadership is really about and Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen is a great guide for giving feedback and having effective and engaging conversations. I also appreciate one of the central ideas in Building Long-Term Value: Developing a High-Performance Ownership Culture by Virginia J. Vanderslice and Alexander P. Moss – effective leaders treat information as a common resource for everyone to share, not a commodity that is only shared on a need-to-know basis.


Katrina Kazda

Program Director – Home Care

View full bio

kkazda@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I lead our national home care work, which includes conducting industry research on the national sector, providing technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives, and providing thought leadership and business strategy to help expand worker ownership in the home care sector.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

While I deeply respect and admire each of the home care cooperatives we work with, Home Care Associates of Philadelphia serves as an inspirational guide post for me and for many of the new home care co-ops entering the field. Despite working in one of the most challenging and undervalued industries in this country, HCA continually innovates and is steadfast in its drive for quality jobs and quality care.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I have two young children so I don’t have a lot of time for my pre-kid hobbies, but I do love to cook and grow my own food.  Pulling weeds in my garden is a great stress reliever!

Favorite travel snack?

Potato chips. They’re just so good.

Where is your current home base?

I’m based in our office in Northampton, a community I love!

Favorite TED talk?

“Your body language shapes who you are” by social psychologist Amy Cuddy explores the impact of body posture and poses on confidence and perception. As someone who was shy and insecure in my early life, this talk really resonated with me.  I have incorporated some of these techniques (like the power pose!) into my life and have found them to be quite effective.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

The last leadership book I read was Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. While Sandberg has come under scrutiny in recent years for her involvement at Facebook, her message still rings true for me. I have had to “lean in” many times in my career, despite feeling uncomfortable, unqualified, or unwelcome.  I see this a lot in the work that we do with home care cooperatives. Many caregivers, the majority of which are women, are initially intimidated by the prospect of business ownership and leadership. They have never had the opportunity to “lean in” in their workplaces and question their abilities. But when they do, they realize just how capable they are.


Sandra Magri

Controller

View full bio 

smagri@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

As controller, I keep our finances running smoothly, manage human resources, and oversee reporting.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Equal Exchange is a great company and their coffee keeps me going throughout the day!

What do you like to read outside of work?

I’m usually either doing research for our next family vacation or reading to prepare for the classes I teach on nonprofit accounting.

Favorite travel snack?

Popcorn and Chex Mix.

Where is your current home base?

I work out of the Northampton office one day a week and spend the rest of the week working from my home office in Longmeadow.

Favorite TED talk?

I have two kids that I shuttle back and forth to baseball and gymnastics practice, so I mostly keep the car radio tuned in to Top 40 music.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

Working from home and a flexible schedule helps me as a balanced working mom. No two days are ever the same in our house.


Iwona Matczuk

Social Enterprise Consultant

View full bio 

imatczuk@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work on the home care team and support existing home care cooperatives across the country, as well as agencies exploring the employee ownership model.

What is a cooperative that inspires you?

I spent ages 8-20 living in the Cumberland Green Cooperative in St. Charles, Illinois. I always thought we were just renters, but later learned that my parents were shared owners in the 204-unit complex. The co-op has large sprawling green spaces, a swimming pool, and bike paths—and it was integral in shaping who I am today. It provided an affordable place to live, and a space where families from varying backgrounds and countries, like my own, could begin to establish themselves and provide their children access to good schools, safe neighborhoods, and a community of support.

Favorite travel snack?

Almonds and a cheese stick, they’re both things you can get at any convenience store and resemble a meal—just enough to trick myself into thinking I’m full.

Where is your current home base?

Boston

Favorite TED talk?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”. Chimamanda presents relatable examples of interrogating her own internal narratives of others, the realization that others have created definitive narratives about her, and that these narratives are ever present but driven and reinforced by those in power.  

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I love to ride my bike, and try to take advantage of Massachusetts’ beautiful Rail Trails as often as possible. When I’m at home, it’s a balance between watering/talking to my plants and cleaning or organizing my space. 


Anne McSweeney

Program Director – Child Care

View full bio

amcsweeney@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I partner with child care business owners and community-based organizations to improve child care jobs and stabilize businesses by implementing cooperative models.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Childspace, a worker-owned child care center in Philadelphia, is a guiding star for the work that we do. They serve a diverse community, offer the highest-quality care, and most uniquely, create a culture of ownership and leadership for all their staff. Their low turnover and high staff satisfaction prove the value of co-ops for child care and they’ve been doing it for 30 years!

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

De-stressing is all about maintaining the perfect ratio of hiking/gardening/working out and binging trash television.

Favorite travel snack?

Iced coffee and pistachios.

Where is your current home base?

I work out of ICA’s Northampton headquarters, an office fueled by an aggressive amount of coffee and Smartfood popcorn.

Favorite TED talk?

Nadine Burke Harris’ talk “How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime” raised public awareness on the importance of addressing and preventing childhood trauma. It inspires me to envision what our world could be if all children had access to safe and caring early childhood experiences.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

I’ve been telling anyone who will listen about Radical Candor by Kim Scott. It helps to break down the social conditioning that prevents us from giving honest feedback and developing real connections with our colleagues.


Shelley Miller

Outreach Manager

View full bio

smiller@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work with business owners across ICA’s program areas to establish and grow cooperative ownership models in New York City.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I love my neighborhood cooperative, the Flatbush Food Coop. I can find products that local commercial supermarkets don’t carry, and I always appreciate the staff’s patience and friendly attitude.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I like to spend time with family and friends, having brunch or dinner out at each other’s homes. I also like attending the many low-cost and free events around New York City like concerts in the park, community plays, and street festivals.

Favorite travel snack?

Trail mix with sesame sticks, nuts, and dried cranberries.

Where is your current home base?

I work in NYC from the ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York offices in the financial district.

Favorite TED talk?

“What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola” by Melinda Gates. Melinda challenges nonprofits to use aspirational marketing to create demand for their products and services.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Covey teaches that effective leadership is a process of self-development that takes work and time. In order to become more effective, we must first become independent. Then we must value interdependence over independence.  


Dawn Montague

Administrative Associate

View full bio

dmontague@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I provide operations and administrative support, and work on projects across the organization. 

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I worked at PV Squared Solar for a number of years and highly recommend them—not only do they design and build high-quality solar projects, they also work hard to support the local community.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I’m an enthusiastic long-distance and trail runner. Carving out the time to train gives me a lot of space to do something I love. Since running can be solo or social, I can use the time to be alone or to catch up with friends. My best runs are those where I also find delicious edible mushrooms to bring home for dinner.

Favorite travel snack?

Peanut butter filled pretzels and dates. 

Where is your current home base?

Northampton

Favorite TED talk?

I like the talks that touch on interesting research, especially in the natural sciences. “How radio telescopes show us unseen galaxies” by astronomer Natasha Hurley-Walker offers a glimpse into her work on using new techniques to look at distant galaxies, and is a fun way to get a quick dose of wonder. 

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World by Marcia Bjornerud. Bjornerud encourages readers to place themselves in relation to dynamic geological processes of the deep past and future to help us make choices for a more sustainable future. I also really like Bjornerud’s seminar about her work at The Long Now Foundation. 


Jennie Msall

Senior Business Consultant

View full bio

jmsall@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I provide education, training, and technical assistance to business owners and workers who are transitioning their businesses to worker-owned cooperatives.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I’m inspired by Healthy Planet Cleaning Co-op because they helped organize a coalition of labor organizations to push forward state legislation in Rhode Island that creates a statutory vehicle for the creation of worker cooperatives. They are now the first worker cooperative in the state and their workers enjoy just working conditions within an industry where workers are typically treated poorly.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I love to go swimming, take long bike rides, and cook.

Favorite travel snack?

Popcorn.

Where is your current home base?

I work from my apartment on the West Side of Providence. I spend a lot of my day on conference calls with my coworkers and talking with clients, so I get a lot of time with people even though I work alone.

Favorite TED talk?

I love Kim Scott’s “Radical Candor” management philosophy, which is all about building a workplace culture where coworkers have the relationships, tools, and systems to give and receive constructive feedback.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading because it gives concrete tips on how to build a thriving workplace culture that treats all employees as business leaders.


Nic Miragliuolo

Senior Business Consultant

View full bio

nmiragliuolo@icagroup.org



(he, him, his)

What do you do at ICA?

As the lead analyst on ICA’s home care team, I support existing home care cooperatives as they navigate business challenges and I support the development of new home care co-ops through research, business planning, and feasibility studies.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Cooperative Care.  Despite an unforgiving market and insufficient government funding for home care, the leadership team has been resilient, resourceful, and thoughtful in navigating the challenges of being a rural home care cooperative. It has been inspiring to watch the team share the business expertise and leadership that they’ve developed over the last three years.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I have been training and occasionally teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 7 years now. I also try to keep up with my ever-increasing stack of unread books, and I try to travel as often as possible.

Where is your current home base?

ICA’s Boston office (technically Cambridge).

Favorite TED talk?

I don’t really watch TED talks, but I do like this commencement address by David Foster Wallace. It’s a great reminder to exercise mindfulness and empathy when things get hard.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit. Unlike most traditional books on leadership that focus on a lone transformational leader, this book shows how small groups of activists working over the course of decades can effect change.

Favorite travel snack?

Trail mix with M&M’s.


Lydia Onimo

Cooperative Developer

View full bio

lonimo@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I provide education, training, and technical assistance to child care businesses interested in employee ownership.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Real Pickles in Greenfield, MA—I admire their socially-minded mission and commitment to creating high-quality products. I absolutely love that I have access to fresh, healthy, locally fermented foods distributed in glass!

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

Asana and an antique pendulum clock that chimes on the hour. Asana gives me a clear picture of what I need to get done in the day and the hourly chime reminds me to take a quick break, hydrate, check incoming messages, and re-prioritize tasks as needed. When I’m not working, I enjoy biking with my kids, reading books/blogs on alternative education, quiet meditation, and sneaking out for quick dinner dates with my husband.

Where is your current home base?

I primarily work remotely from East Longmeadow.

Favorite TED talk?

I am more of a music person—Yemi Alade and Angélique Kidjo are two of my favorites.

What is your favorite podcast ?

I’m a big fan of “Raising Free People” by Akilah S. Richards. She talks a lot about how dismantling oppression begins with how we raise our children. Practicing this philosophy has not only been important for me in my journey raising children of color, but it’s also incredibly important to my work on the child care team.

Favorite travel snack?

Grab and go trail mix—a quick combination of whatever bulk nuts, seeds, and dried fruits I have on hand before I leave!


Shavon Prophet

Outreach Manager

View full bio

sprophet@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work with child care providers in four states to create shared service cooperatives and new employee-owned child care centers.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Eileen Fischer is a B Corps and ESOP company that has really moved socially and environmentally conscious business practices to the forefront of management discourse. I admire them for setting a high bar for companies at all scales to do good.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I always balance out my office time with outside time — taking walks is a must!

Favorite travel snack?

Mixed nuts and anything with protein to get me through the journey!

Where is your current home base?

My home base is in Northampton. I travel a lot with our child care team and am developing a deep love for Philadelphia and Detroit!

Favorite TED talk?

“Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits” by Navi Radjou, which examines frugal innovations in developing countries that are flipping traditional R&D on its head!

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Annie McKee, and Richard Boyatzis. There is increasing hard evidence supporting the importance of soft skills, including empathy and understanding, in business performance.


Emma Rubin

Cooperative Developer

View full bio

erubin@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work on the child care team and support the development of employee-owned child care cooperatives in the Midwest.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I am continually inspired by Cooperation Jackson, in Jackson, Mississippi. Cooperation Jackson offers a compelling vision and practical experiment in building racial, economic, and environmental justice through worker-owned cooperatives, land trusts, and other cooperative institutions.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

Horizontalism by Marina Sitrin, a book centered around testimonies from the popular movements in Argentina following the economic collapse in 2001, helped me understand the potential of ordinary people to govern themselves, and the huge social shifts that can happen when people assert the rights and responsibilities of self-governance. Some of the most powerful testimonies were from people not used to thinking of themselves as leaders, but who found a voice through the emerging, democratic spaces they encountered and helped build.

Where is your current home base?

I work from Chicago, Illinois.

Favorite TED talk?

Robin Wall Kimmer’s talk, “Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest” is a mind-expanding lesson in what an economy based in reciprocity rather than commodification might look like—all centered around what people can learn from wild strawberries!

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I enjoy cooking, walking, and have recently started training in Seido Karate. More than anything, spending time with people I love helps keep me balanced.

Favorite travel snack?

I have a weakness for gummy snacks—sour, sweet, fruity, I love them all.


Janet Van Liere

Program Director – Alternative Staffing

View full bio

jvanliere@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I manage the Alternative Staffing Alliance, developing tools, resources, and best practice information to support our employment social enterprise members, and engaging with national partner organizations to promote and advance this sector.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Pingree Detroit makes high-end sneakers, boots, and accessories using recycled materials from the auto industry, while providing meaningful, living wage work for veterans and other Detroiters. I love that this business helps workers build skills while producing beautiful, practical products with local scrap materials.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I like to spend my free time outdoors walking, cycling, hiking, and swimming. I also lead walking tours as a volunteer with Boston by Foot.

Where is your current home base?

I work from the ICA office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Favorite TED talk?

“Buildings that blend nature and city”by architect Jeanne Gang, who demonstrates how thoughtful and inclusive design of physical spaces can break down social barriers, improve human connections, and rebuild trust.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

I recently discovered Don’t Label Me by Irshad Manji, founder of the Moral Courage Project. She encourages people to lead with their values, and asks us to consider, “what do you stand for, and what are you doing about it?”

Favorite travel snack?

Sesame sticks and dried fruit.


Jonathan Ward

Senior Business and Economic Development Consultant

View full bio

jward@icagroup.org


(he, him, his)

What do you do at ICA?

I lead the employee ownership conversions program and provide training, consulting, and research for the alternative staffing, child care, and home care programs.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

Cooperative Care is a passionate, selfless group of people (mostly women) who are working so hard to take care of the vulnerable people in their community. This small company of 40 caregivers has taught me what being a cooperative is all about: creating a business that brings joy to the people who work there, because it becomes an extension of themselves.

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

Working from home and having flexibility as a working parent really makes me feel balanced. I also love to garden and work outside around my house. I’m usually covered with dirt at the end of each Saturday in the summer.

Favorite travel snack?

Dr. Pepper, Starburst candy, and Indian food.

Where is your current home base?

I work from home in East Falmouth, Massachusetts (Cape Cod).

Favorite TED talk?

“Why not eat insects?” by Marcel Dicke. A very practical (albeit hard to swallow) talk. I’m an inner environmentalist and outward vegetarian, but might be okay with eating insects to save the world!

What is your favorite book about leadership?

I really like Good to Great by Jim Collins. In particular, the ‘Hedgehog Concept’, which basically says that the most successful and enduring businesses are built at the intersection of what you are passionate about doing, what you can make money on, and what you can be the best in the world at. It’s a strong foundation for businesses, including cooperatives!


Samantha Wolfe

Cooperative Developer

.

swolfe@icagroup.org


(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I work with owners and employees of small businesses to transition their firms to worker-owned cooperatives and help ensure the future success of those co-ops.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative in Waltham, Massachusetts taught me everything I know about worker cooperatives. My former colleagues there—primarily Central American immigrants, many of whom lack much formal education—made huge strides since joining the co-op. It was amazing to see my fellow worker-owners go from learning skills in business and governance for the first time, to taking leadership in the co-op and teaching those skills to others.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

I really appreciate Septima Clark’s autobiography, Ready From Within, for challenging dominant narratives of how social change happens. Most of us never learned about Clark from history books or the media, but MLK described her as “the mother of the [Civil Rights] Movement” for having established over 1,000 Citizenship Schools in the South. Clark’s work shows how building a social movement takes widespread popular education and far more behind-the-scenes leaders than history books or the media ever acknowledge.

Where is your current home base?

Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Favorite TED talk?

I love “The person you really need to marry” by Tracy McMillan. McMillan’s wedding-like vows to herself sum up her talk nicely: “I learned something about ‘in sickness and in health.’ I learned how to sit by my own bedside, and how to hold my own hand…I learned that I am a person that I can count on.”

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I’m lucky to work for an organization that values balance. I rejuvenate by spending time with friends, cooking dishes I’ve never made before, and meditating with the Australian man from Headspace. I also like to punctuate my work days with walks along nearby nature trails.

Favorite travel snack?

Black cherry seltzer, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, and salted pistachios


Rachael Zafer

Communications Specialist

View full bio

rzafer@icagroup.org



(she, her, hers)

What do you do at ICA?

I manage the ICA website and social media accounts, create content on worker ownership, and work with program teams to develop new resources.

What is a worker-owned business that inspires you?

I love Third Root Community Health Center, a worker-owned business in my former neighborhood in Brooklyn. Third Root provides holistic health care and centers social justice in all of their healing practices. When I lived in NYC, I loved teaching and practicing yoga at Third Root, which works to manifest, “a world where we all belong, we are all healing, and we are all welcome in our wholeness.”

What helps you maintain work-life balance?

I like to break up my work day with fresh air, creative writing, and lots of stretch breaks.

Favorite travel snack?

I always snack on salt and vinegar chips and kombucha when I travel.

Where is your current home base?

I work out of my home office in western Colorado Springs.

Favorite TED talk?

“We need to talk about an injustice” by Bryan Stevenson, champion of human rights and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He uses powerful storytelling to address the intersections of race, poverty, punishment, and American identity, and reminds us that our individual survival is tied to the survival of everyone.

What is your favorite book about leadership?

I love Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adriene maree brown – it’s filled with practical tools and lessons from both nature and community organizing. I also really like The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters by Priya Parker.


[section type=”Two-Column-Panel” background=”grey” name=”board”]

Our Board

Christina A. Clamp, Professor of Community and Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University. Christina is an expert on the Mondragon system of cooperatives and the role cooperatives can play in community economic development.


David Hammer, Executive Director, the ICA Group. David has served as the Executive Director of the ICA Group since June 2013. He has over 15 years experience working for organizations dedicated to workplace democracy.


Damilola Odetola, Vice President – Corporate Banking at NCB. Damilola has been with the National Cooperative Bank since 2009. He is also on the Board of Partners for Development and is passionate about cooperatives and the informal sector.


José Luis Rojas Villarreal, Vice President, Commercial Banking, Small Business Loans at Boston Private. José is an experienced community banker with a focus on small and micro enterprises, rural producer organizations, metals consulting, and multilateral organizations.


Rand Wilson, Chief of Staff, SEIU Local 888. Rand is the current Chair of the ICA board and has held senior positions with several local and national unions. He is a trustee on the new Somerville Jobs Creation and Retention Trust, and was founding Director of the Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. Rand is the President of the Center for Labor Education and Research and on the board of directors for the Center for the Study of Public Policy.

Gerardo Espinoza, Executive Director of the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund. Gerardo has over twenty years of banking and investment management experience.


Melissa Hoover, founding Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute. Previously, Melissa was the founding Executive Director of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives and worked for six years as a cooperative developer with the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives.


Alexander H. Pyle, Partner at Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green PA, a Boston-based law firm. Alexander’s practice focuses on advising entrepreneurial companies on corporate and transactional matters, including financings, securities law compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and technology licensing.


Janet Van Liere, Program Director, the ICA Group. Janet has been a member of the ICA Group since 2001 where she oversees the alternative staffing program, which includes the Alternative Staffing Alliance.

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