The Future Cooperative Leaders Program: preparing the next generation

Tomorrow's leaders will be doing more than just attending the Summit: they'll be getting a unique experience that will help prepare them for the day they take over...

Tomorrow’s leaders will be doing more than just attending the Summit: they’ll be getting a unique experience that will help prepare them for the day they take over the reins. The Future Cooperative Leaders Program, intended for young cooperators between the ages of 20 and 35, will give them the opportunity to meet with senior executives, experts and major players from the international cooperative community, and attend exciting and exclusive events that will provide high added value. The theme of the program is “Future leaders in the cooperative world – their participation, actions and involvement.” A special forum will be held, where young cooperative leaders with extensive experience in their activity sector will speak. “The 2012 Summit’s Future Cooperative Leaders Program will be an opportunity for tomorrow’s cooperative leaders to connect with other young cooperators from around the world and build a network that will serve them all their lives,” promises Stéphanie Guico, Program Manager (in photo). A “cooperative state of mind” And that’s no empty promise. Stéphanie Guico knows what she’s talking about when it comes to building strong connections. It’s no coincidence that she was put in charge of this program. Stéphanie’s desire to change the world led her to study International Development, Middle Eastern Languages and Political Science at Montreal’s McGill University. Convinced that building a stronger civil society “is a crucial driver for socio-economic development,” she then went on to work for a federation of farming cooperatives in Honduras… after teaching English in Japan! It was while Stéphanie was living in Honduras that cooperative values really began to make sense to her. “Only cooperatives allow communities to reap the full benefits of their efforts,” she says. Coming out of this experience in a “cooperative state of mind,” Stéphanie then became involved with Coop la Maison verte1 and recently became their marketing manager. At the same time, she also enrolled in the Co-operative Management Masters program at Halifax’s St. Mary’s University, one of the three hosts of the 2012 Summit. It was there that she met Tom Webb, the Masters Program Manager and coordinator of the pre-Summit event, Imagine 2012. Tom introduced Stéphanie to Joanne Lechasseur, who is responsible for developing the programming for the Summit and future cooperative leaders. “The idea of getting tomorrow’s leaders involved stemmed from the issues of cooperative sustainability and continuity,” she explains. “We didn’t want to just invite them to attend, we also wanted to help prepare them, so one day they’ll be ready to take over the reins.” A global and long-term vision This is why Stéphanie Guico is convinced the participants in the Future Cooperative Leaders Program will leave the Summit “with a greater awareness of the company they work for and the cooperative movement as a whole.” She sees the Future Cooperative Leaders Program “as a chance to take a step back and see beyond the computer screen, and to take part in an exchange and cross-pollination of stimulating ideas.” The program’s 250 participants will help draft the Summit’s final declaration. “This is a unique opportunity for young employees, managers and elected officers from around the world to connect with their peers and solidify their interest in the cooperative movement and its development,” concludes Stéphanie Guico. Future leaders: how to participate in the Summit All cooperatives and the associations that represent them may participate in the Future Cooperative Leaders Program by nominating up to two candidates per organization. Nominations must be submitted by April 30, 2012. Selected delegates will receive confirmation of their participation by May 15, 2012. To find out more about the selection process. 1. Coop la Maison verte is a community-based cooperative in Montreal that offers ecological solutions for the home

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