[section type=”Hero”]

About Us

[section type=”Single-Column-Panel” background=”white” name=”what”]

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.

[section type=”Four-Column-Panel” background=”white” name=”who”]

Who We Are


Allison Curtis

Social Enterprise Consultant

View full bio

acurtis@icagroup.org

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

Program Associate

View full bio 

cgharib@icagroup.org

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

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

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

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 Long Meadow.

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.


Anne McSweeney

Program Director – Child Care

View full bio

amcsweeney@icagroup.org

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

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.  


Jennie Msall

Senior Business Consultant

View full bio

jmsall@icagroup.org

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

Business Consultant

View full bio

nmiragliuolo@icagroup.org


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 or podcast 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.


Shavon Prophet

Outreach Manager

View full bio

sprophet@icagroup.org

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 or podcast 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.


Janet Van Liere

Program Director – Alternative Staffing

View full bio

jvanliere@icagroup.org

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

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.

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!

Favorite travel snack?

Dr. Pepper, Starburst candy, and Indian food.


Rachael Zafer

Communications Specialist

View full bio

rzafer@icagroup.org


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.

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.

[section type=”Contact-Panel” background=”blue”]

Contact Us

Newsletter

Sign up for the ICA Group's newsletter to receive updates and learn more about how we advance businesses and institutions that center worker voice, grow worker wealth, and build worker power.

[section type=”Standard-Footer” background=”dark-blue”]