Estaban Kelly voted chair of US co-op apex NCBA-CLUSA

'Esteban’s deep experience within the food, housing and worker co-op sectors equip him to advance our collective vision of building a more inclusive economy'

US co-op apex NCBA CLUSA has elected Esteban Kelly as its new chair.

Kelly, who is also the executive director of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, has served on the NCBA board since 2011, and as its vice-chair since 2021. He is founding president of the freelancer co-op Guilded; worker-owner and co-founder of AORTA (Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance); and board member of the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (Cicopa).

His part experience includes serving on their board of Education & Training of the the North American Students for Cooperation (Nasco). He also worked at the New Economy Coalition and served as a mayoral appointee and briefly co-chaired the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council. As a worker-owner at Mariposa Food Co-op in Philadelphia he helped engage with a coalition led by NCBA CLUSA to help get the Main Street Employee Ownership Act passed by Congress.

“I am honoured to have been elected chair of NCBA CLUSA’s board of directors,” Kelly said. “I look forward to collaborating more closely with leadership and staff in this role and leveraging my 25 years of organising and advocacy to empower more people to contribute to shared prosperity through co-operative ownership.” 

“With great enthusiasm, the staff at NCBA CLUSA looks forward to working with Esteban in his new role as the association’s board chair,” said Doug O’Brien, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “Esteban’s deep experience within the food, housing and worker co-op sectors, along with his passion for advocacy, food and climate justice, and the solidarity economy equip him to advance our collective vision of building a more inclusive economy through co-operatives.”

Kelly will be working with an executive team made up of Jill Tomalin, chief operating officer of Credit Union National Association (CUNA), as first vice chair; Karen Zimbelman, retired senior director of membership and co-operative relations at National Co+op Grocers, was reelected second vice chair; Devin Fuhrman, chief agriculture and sponsor relations officer at Nationwide, was re-elected treasurer; and Christina Jennings, executive director of Shared Capital Cooperative, will step in as secretary to replace Tomalin.

Kelly succeeds Carla Decker, president and CEO of SkyPoint Federal Credit Union, who served one term as chair.

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