Meet the Staff of Seed Commons

Kate Khatib
Kate is a co-founder and worker-owner of Red Emma’s, a cooperatively-owned restaurant and bookstore in Baltimore that helped to catalyze a city-wide ecosystem of worker-owned businesses over the last decade. In 2015, she helped to found the Seed Commons cooperative and its Baltimore peer, the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy, and in 2018, became co-director of the Seed Commons network, with Brendan Martin.

Brendan Martin
Brendan is the founder of The Working World and its President since 2004, when he and Avi Lewis traveled to Buenos Aires to present their idea to some Argentine friends. Initially involved in all aspects of the organization, he now focuses mostly on fundraising, marketing and strategic planning. In 2015, Brendan helped to launch the Seed Commons network, which builds upon the successful model of The Working World.

Ed Whitfield
Senior Fellow
Ed Whitfield is originally from Little Rock Arkansas and was a long time anti-war and social justice activist before becoming involved in community development, cooperative development and philanthropy.  He now spends most of his time trying to help communities build self-reliant economies to meet their needs and elevate the quality of life. Ed was Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) and continues to serve on the boards of the Seed Commons: A Community Wealth Cooperative and the New Economy Coalition (NEC)  Ed spent 9 years as Board Chairman of the Greensboro NC Redevelopment Commission and was the board chair of Greensboro’s Triad Minority Development Corporation before becoming involved with  the cooperatives and the world of democratic non-extractive finance. He currently serves as a consultant to community groups on matters of community cooperative economic development and community wealth building, as well as working in the arena of organizational anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion improvement. Ed writes, teaches and lectures on these matters of importance while balancing this work with playing blues and eating barbecue.

Marnie Thompson
Senior Fellow
Marnie supports the growth of Seed Commons as a member of the Investment Team, and by providing organizational development coaching to loan funds in the network. She is founder and co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC), a private operating foundation in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is in the process of sunsetting in 2020. At F4DC she focused on capacity-building for a new kind of economy based in principles of cooperation, democracy, justice, and sustainability. Her portfolio at F4DC included organizing funders to support Seed Commons and strengthening the Southern Reparations Loan Funds, which have now joined Seed Commons as a regional network. Marnie was Senior Research Scientist and Director of Teacher Professional Development Research at EducationalTesting Service, where she oversaw a research program on supporting teachers to become more effective in helping students learn. Marnie is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, where she majored in Computer Science with a secondary concentration in mathematics

Christyne Dillard
Senior Advisor, Non-extractive Lending
Christyne has 15+ years of experience with small business development, economic inclusion, underwriting, and financial literacy. She specializes in providing traditionally marginalized groups with access to capital. Christyne holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU.

Eden Schulz
Administrative Director
Eden comes to Seed Commons from 14 years as a union member, activist, and representative at Local 2110 of the UAW. She is excited to be putting her passion for economic justice and workplace democracy to work advancing the growth of worker-owned businesses.

Roodline Volcy
Event Administrator and Org Development Coach — in conjunction with the Democracy at Work Institute
Roodline was born in Haiti and emigrated to Florida to join her family in the early 90s. She attended Salem College in North Carolina where she studied International Relations and Race & Ethnicity Studies. She has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Haiti working as a translator for speakers of English, Haitian Kreyol and Spanish. Professionally, she has held positions at the Center for Creative Leadership and the American Institute of CPAs where she managed both on-site trainings as well as national events. Within her own community, she is the Board Chair and member of the Renaissance Cooperative Community in Greensboro, NC.

Clark R. Arrington
General Counsel
Clark R. Arrington is an experienced attorney and educator who has supported socially responsible businesses around the world. Prior to joining Seed Commons and The Working World, Clark taught and practiced Business Law in Tanzania and Tunisia. Clark served as Chair, General Counsel and Capital Coordinator of Equal Exchange and has served on the boards of the ICA Group, the Social Venture Network and the Cooperative Fund of New England.