Member board and Sustainability Committee of Seed Commons
Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy
Emily Lerman – Board
Project Officer, Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy
Emily is a project officer at the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy, and a co-founder of Mera Kitchen Collective. Mera Kitchen Collective is a worker-owned cooperative, built for and by refugee and immigrants in Baltimore, serving story-worthy food from our newest neighbors. Their worker-owner model focuses on empowerment through entrepreneurship, ownership and building community. They cater special events and host pop-up events throughout Baltimore and DC
Kate Khatib – Sustainability Committee
Member, Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy
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.
Andrew Delmonte – Board & Sustainability Committee
Director, Cooperation Buffalo
Andrew Delmonte serves as Director of Cooperative Development for Cooperation Buffalo, a movement to generate wealth and power in marginalized communities through employee ownership of capital and labor in Buffalo, New York. Andrew previously assisted cooperatives, B Corps, social enterprises, and other small businesses with planning and management decisions as a business advisor for the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State. They also organized and advocated for sustainable, socially conscious, and community-owned businesses for many years as President and Program Director of Buffalo First. Andrew is a former member of the Leadership Team of the New York Sustainable Business Council, and has served on the board of the Nickel City Housing Cooperative since 2014. They live in a cooperatively managed home on Buffalo’s West Side.
Kristen Barker – Board & Sustainability Committee
President & Co-Founder, Coop Cincy Kristen Barker is a social entrepreneur and the President and Co-Founder of the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI) and is a Co-Founder of 1worker1vote. Kristen has done groundbreaking work in adopting the Mondragon model to the U.S. context, and hosts delegations from around the country, including the participants in our semi-annual Union Co-op Symposium. Kristen is a 2016-2018 Business Alliance for Local and Living Economies (BALLE) Fellow.
Najari Smith – Board & Sustainability Committee
Co-Founder & Board Member, Cooperation Richmond
Social Activist, former Richmond Arts and Culture Commissioner, Najari Smith has devoted his life to creating a sustainable city, through local activism in the City of Richmond, using bicycles as vehicles for healthy active, economic and cultural social change. In August of 2012 he founded Rich City Rides to increase the use of bicycles as a low cost, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation and create jobs in an emerging green economy. Since the creation of Rich City Rides, Najari has donated thousands of hours his time and personal finances to host over 200 community bicycle repair workshops, lead over 200 social rides, and establish a commuter bicycle program that has provided over 200 free bicycles to members of Richmond’s disadvantaged community. In 2013 he was elected Chair of Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the City of Richmond and is an organizational member of Friends of the Richmond Greenway. Najari’s most recent accomplishment has been the planning and cofounding the Rich City Rides Community Shop, a democratically operated cooperative bicycle shop run by staff all living in Richmond.
Margo Dalal – Board & Sustainability Committee
Executive Director, Detroit Community Wealth Fund
Margo is dedicated to participating in realizing a more equitable economy in Detroit and beyond. Raised in Virginia, Margo holds a Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College, and an MSW from the University of Michigan. Margo has experience in supporting and growing businesses and non-profits, especially ones that prioritize worker ownership and youth development. She is a founding member of The Tricycle Collective, a non-profit that has prevented over 100 families from tax foreclosure in Detroit. She is the founder of the Detroit Kite Festival and is board member of the United Community Housing Coalition, and is on the Social Entrepreneurship Committee at the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. In 2019, she was named a Crain’s Business 20 in their 20’s honoree.
Los Angeles Co-op Lab
Gilda Haas – Board & Sustainability Committee
Co-Founder, LA Coop Lab
Gilda has led numerous economic justice organizations, is a founder of the Right to the City Alliance, and has taught community economic development at UCLA for many years. She created the mobile co-op lab to serve L.A.’s unique geography and is on the Board of Seed Commons financial cooperative.
Southern Reparations Loan Fund
Ed Whitfield – Board & Sustainability Committee
Co-Founder & Co-Director, Southern Reparations Loan Fund
Ed Whitfield is a social critic, writer and community activist who has lived in Greensboro since 1970. He is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Ed’s political activism started with attending Little Rock Central High School and beginning to do anti-war work as a teenager. Ed retired after 30 years in industry before becoming involved with philanthropy. He now speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development while continuing to be interested in issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism. Ed serves on the boards of the New Economy Coalition, The Working World, and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.
The Working World
Ghislain Guiebo – Board & Sustainability Committee
Associate Director of Programs, The Working World
Ghislain was born and raised in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He received his finance degree from Temple University where he was part of the Owl Fund, Temple’s investment society. Ghislain brings financial research experience from working in the Finance departments of DHL in France and the Bank Of Africa in Kenya. He aspires to one day build a social investment fund in his home country of Burkina Faso.