Meet … Elaine Dean, Co-op Press chair

In our series of member updates, we meet the directors who represent Co-op Press members.

Corporate member representing: Central England Co-operative

I am involved in co-ops because… of my family, who imbued me with a passion for this business model as a way of working together. Collectively, my family has around 230 years service to the former Derby Co-op. I’m a member of seven co-ops.

I am on the board… as I am a lifelong reader and with my passion for written words and co-operation; I feel a perfect fit in this role. An independent Co-operative Press is vital to the wellbeing of the movement internationally and I wanted to support the change to a dynamic journal style paper as printed newspapers declined in sales.

my greatest achievement is… that I’ve been a continuously elected member of my local society since 1980 and I was proud to co-chair the former Co-op Union’s first Anti Racist Working Party and to chair the Midlands Section Education Council. I was especially proud to be a member of a movement that took sanctions against apartheid South Africa and which is now embracing the cause against modern slavery.

On my first day in co-ops I wish i knew that… co-operatives create lifelong friendships among like-minded people. Plus, if you campaign for something honestly and fairly with enough passion, it can usually be achieved.

Co-ops are special because… they encourage people to achieve together rather than to be in competition all the time.

The obstacle co-ops need to overcome is… the ‘woolly minded liberals’ image they have. They must break free of this and become modern community organisations working for the benefit of everyone, not just a select few and offering business opportunities based on sound ethics and fair trading.