1 Cooperatives in the Americas Driving Economic Growth through Equity & Inclusion March 20, 2014 Hall of the Americas Organization of American States Washington, D.C.
2 Event Co-hosts The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International Co-operatives of the Americas A Region of the International Co-operative Alliance Department of State United States of America
3 Dear Fellow Cooperators, The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) of the Organization of the American States (OAS); the National Cooperative Business Association, CLU- SA International (NCBA CLUSA); Co-operatives of the Americas A Region of the International Co-operative Alliance; and the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States are pleased you have joined us for the Forum Cooperatives in the Americas: Driving Economic Growth with Equity and Inclusion, a cooperative event focused on the robust cooperative movement within the Americas. This event brings together cooperative leaders from our hemisphere to discuss key issues and opportunities facing the cooperative sectors and the movement as a whole. Through panel discussions and dialogues, attendees will participate in such topics as the capacity for growth and social inclusion among cooperatives, the cooperative edge for competing in the global economy, the challenges and barriers currently facing the cooperative community, and explore the next steps for promoting a cooperative decade in the Americas. Thank you for your dedication to cooperative work, your committment to the principles that guide us, and for your presence at this unique event. Your attendance here today strengthens the cooperative movement in the Americas and around the world. Thank you, Michael Beall CEO, NCBA CLUSA Amb. Carmen Lomellin US Permanent Mission to the OAS Manuel Mariño Director, Co-operatives of the Americas V. Sherry Toss Executive Secretary SEDI, OAS
4 Cooperatives in the Americas Driving Economic Growth through Equity & Inclusion English Forum Agenda Speaker Biographies 5 11 Español Agenda del Foro Biografías de los Presentadores Sponsors 50 Translation services provided in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese by the US Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.
5 Forum Agenda English 9:00 a.m. Opening Session Welcome and Introduction Speaker: Sherry Tross, Executive Secretary, Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI), Organization of American States (OAS) Speaker: Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, Permanent Representative of the United States to the OAS 9:30 a.m. Speaker The Current State of Cooperatives in the Americas Speaker: Manuel Mariño, Regional Director, Co-operatives of the Amer- 9:45 a.m. Panel One How Cooperatives are Achieving Growth & Social Inclusion Every sector of the region s economies are impacted by cooperative businesses agriculture, energy, public services, housing, healthcare, insurance, financial services, and consumer goods. These businesses are not only helping economies grow, creating jobs, and providing key products and services, they are also addressing social needs. How are cooperatives reaching marginalized sectors, women, youth, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations with their services? What strategies have worked and what are the continuing challenges in meeting needs for social inclusion? This interactive session will provide examples of co-operative impact on local and national economies, and how the cooperative principles and social impact set them apart from other forms of business. 5
6 Panel One Discussion Moderator: Amy Coughenour Betancourt, Chief Operating Officer, NCBA CLUSA Speakers Multi-sectoral: Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, United States; Member and Past President, NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors and Member of the International Co-operative Alliance Board Housing Sector: Fernando Zerboni, General Secretary, Federación Uruguaya de Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua (FUCVAM), Uruguay Agriculture Sector: Marcio Lopes de Freitas, President, A Organização das Cooperativas Brasileiras, Brazil Insurance Sector: Fermin Contreras Gómez, Director, Seguros Múltiples Group Companies, Seguros Múltiples de Puerto Rico, United States Gender: María Eugenia Pérez Zea, Chair, International Co-operative Alliance Gender Equality Committee, President of the Board, Grupo Empresarial COOMEVA Youth: Gabriela Buffa, International Co-operative Alliance Youth Network Audience Participation 11:15 a.m. Break - Sponsored by National Cooperative Bank, CCA Global, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 6
7 11:30 a.m. Speaker How Cooperatives are Achieving Growth & Social Inclusion Moderator: Charles Snyder, President and CEO, National Cooperative Bank, United States; NCBA CLUSA Board Member Speaker: Howard Brodsky, President and CEO of CCA Global, United States; NCBA CLUSA Board Member Audience Participation 12:15 p.m. Lunch Sponsored by National Cooperative Bank, CCA Global Partners, Inc., and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 1:15 p.m. Panel Two Barriers & Opportunities for Cooperative Growth in the Americas Despite cooperatives positive impact on economic and social indicators, they still face considerable challenges. Regulatory barriers, legislative gaps, and tax and status challenges all limit the enabling environment for cooperatives in many countries. This panel will discuss the approach of various sectors in several countries of overcoming barriers and positioning cooperatives for growing opportunities in the region and globally. Moderator: Maryse Robert, Director, Department of Economic and Social Development, SEDI, OAS Speakers Utility Sector: Ariel Guarco, President, Confederación de Cooperativas de la República de Argentina (COOPERAR), Argentina 7
8 Panel Two Discussion Healthcare Sector: Eudes de Freitas Aquino, President, (UNIMED), Brazil Insurance Sector: Estuardo Paredes, President, ICORED, and Director General, Cooperative San Francisco, Ecuador Credit Unions/Financial Cooperatives: Suzanne Gendron, Managing Vice-president, Cooperation and Corporate Affairs Administrative Division, Desjardins, Canada Melvin Edwards, Program Director, Caribbean Development Edu cation, former President of the Caribbean Confederation of Cred it Unions Gerardo Mora Navas, President, Confederación Latinoamericana de Ahorro y Crédito (COLAC), Panama Audience Participation 2:45 p.m. Break - Sponsored by National Cooperative Bank, CCA Global Partners, Inc., and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 3:00 p.m. Panel Three Co-op to Co-op Trade and Collaboration Cooperatives have long been seen as local member-owned businesses that grow out of needs in a particular market. However, there is growing recognition that cooperatives can strengthen each other by doing business together at the local, national, regional, and even international levels. This panel will highlight co-operatives that are trading with each other, cross-promoting cooperative products and services, and living the 6th cooperative principle of helping other cooperatives. 8
9 Panel Three Discussion Moderator: Valentín Medrano, President, Cooperativa Nacional de Servicios Múltiples de los Maestros (COOPNAMA), Dominican Republic Speakers Fair Trade: Merling del Rosario Preza Ramos, General Manager, Promotora de Desarrollo Cooperativo de las Segovias, Sociedad Anonima (PRODECOOP S.A.), Nicaragua Consumer Sector: Alberto Esteves, President, Confederación Uruguaya de Entidades Cooperativas (CUDECOOP), Uruguay Worker Co-ops: Rebecca Kemble, President of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives; President of CICOPA North America Financial Sector: Héctor Córdova, Corporate Manager, Federación de Asociaciones Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de El Salvador (FEDECACES), El Salvador Audience Participation 4:15 p.m. Speaker Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade in the Americas and Around the World Speaker: Charles Gould, Director General, International Co-operative Alliance 4:30 p.m. Speaker A Cooperative Agenda for the Americas: Defining Next Steps Speaker: Ramon Imperial, President, Co-operatives of the Americas 9
10 5:25 p.m. Closing Remarks: Carlos Calderón, Chief Executive Officer, OAS Staff Federal Credit Union (FCU) 5:30 p.m. Reception, Patio Azteca Sponsored by OAS Staff FCU 10
11 Speaker Biographies Sherry Tross Sherry Tross was confirmed as Executive Secretary for Integral Development at the Organization of American States (OAS) in February 2013 to lead the hemispheric Organization s development programs. In that capacity, she manages a comprehensive portfolio of technical assistance and cooperation programs designed to build human and institutional capacity, strengthen competitiveness, and spur innovation and sustainable growth. She simultaneously serves as Director General of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD). Prior to this role, Ms. Tross directed the Summits of the Americas Secretariat, facilitating negotiations and bringing together Heads of State and Government of 34 countries to discuss common policy challenges, set achievement targets, and develop plans of action to address development, governance, and security concerns in the region. Prior to this appointment, she was Chief of Staff and senior political advisor to the OAS Assistant Secretary General. Before joining the OAS, Ms. Tross served as Director of Business Development at the World Trade Center Miami from She was also Program Director at the University of Miami s North-South research center implementing programs on trade, security, and governance issues in the Americas. Ambassador Carmen Lomellin Carmen Lomellin was confirmed by the United States Senate as Permanent U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador, on November 20, Ambassador Lomellin was appointed in May, 1998 to the position as Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) for the Organization of American States (OAS) by Secretary General Cesar Gaviria. She served as CIM Executive Secretary until March of In that 11
12 position, she provided guidance and direction to the OAS member states and Permanent Secretariat on hemispheric policy advancing issues affecting women, particularly in the areas of human rights and gender equality. As head of the CIM Permanent Secretariat, Ambassador Lomellin oversaw the activities of the Commission s delegates representing the 34 democracies of the Western Hemisphere and managed the daily operations of the Permanent Secretariat. She most recently served as Director for Outreach within the OAS Department of External Relations. During the Clinton Administration, Ambassador Lomellin held the positions of White House Liaison for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Director of that agency s Office of International Affairs. She was an Advisor on Hispanic Affairs to the White House Office for Women s Initiatives and Outreach, as well as Search Manager in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel during the 1996 presidential transition, where she worked on sub-cabinet appointments in the area of international trade. Ambassador Lomellin has experience in local government (Chicago, Illinois). She worked for Mayor Richard M. Daley as Director of the Private Industry Council of Chicago and also implemented and managed one of the nation s most successful graffiti abatement programs. Ambassador Lomellin has worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund where she was the Director of Leadership Development, and for Chicago United, a civic think tank, as Director of Economic Development. In addition, she has extensive experience in the private sector, working for the Chicago-based Inland Steel Company in various sales and marketing capacities. Ambassador Lomellin holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from St. Joseph s Calumet College and a Masters in Business Administration in International Business from De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois. Ambassador Lomellin has spent a major part of her professional career and personal life working on women s issues, particularly those in the United States Hispanic community. 12
13 Howard Brodsky Howard Brodsky is Co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of CCA Global Partners, one of the largest cooperatives in the United States. CCA is comprised of 14 cooperatives with aggregated sales of over $10 billion with over 3,000 retail locations in four countries. Brodsky has been the recipient of many prestigious awards throughout his career. His most recent accomplishment was being inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Other notable achievements include induction into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame along with such prominent people as Michael Dell and Starbucks Howard Schultz, Retail Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young, induction into the World Floor Covering Industry Hall of Fame, National Retailer of the Year, and the Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative Award of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A pioneer of the cooperative business model, Brodsky s newest divisions added to the group are CCA for Social Good which services over 3,000 child care centers and 1,000 nonprofits; and BizUnite, providing back room business services for over one million independent businesses. Recently, Brodsky was named New Hampshire Business Leader of the Year. He serves as Chairman of the New Hampshire Better Business Bureau, the Board of New Hampshire Institute of Art, Southern New Hampshire University Board, and on the Board of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA). Gabriela Ana Buffa In 2012, Gabriela Ana Buffa was elected President of the Youth Committee for the International Co-operatives Alliance Youth Network (COOPERAR). Ms. Buffa is also currently the Educational Advisor for Idelcoop, the Education and Technical Assistance Foundation for the Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos (IMFC), where she coordinates cooperative training projects and youth participation activities. Ms. Buffa joined IMFC in 2009 as the coordinator for the Youth Committee of the Management Council. Ms. Buffa is a teacher and holds a degree in Educational Sciences. 13
14 Carlos R. Calderon Carlos Calderon has been involved with credit unions for over 26 years. He previously worked at the IDB/IIC FCU and the U.S. Postal FCU. Carlos strongly believes in the cooperative principles and the Credit Union philosophy of people helping people. For this reason he participated in the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) training, and was awarded the International Credit Union Development Educator designation by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). Throughout his career Carlos has worked as a consultant on various projects to assist Credit Union development throughout the Americas. He has been invited to speak at various international conferences on financial and Credit Union development topics. Carlos currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Credit Union Mortgage Association, and he is the co-founder of the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals. Mr. Calderon holds an Executive Master in Leadership (E.M.L. 2007) from Georgetown University, and a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A. 1988) from Marymount University. 14 Fermín M. Contreras Gómez Fermin Contreras Gomez is the Director of the Seguros Múltiples Group Companies Division of Seguros Multiples de Puerto Rico where he participates in the development and implementation of business initiatives for this Cooperative Insurance Group. Mr. Contreras more than 20 years of professional experience includes working in management, law, the insurance and financial services industry, and in public administration. His professional résumé includes having served as Commissioner of Insurance of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, acting as Legal Counsel for the principal financial conglomerate of Puerto Rico Popular, Inc., as legal Counsel at McConnell Valdés, one of the largest law firms in Latin America, Secretary General and Executive Director of the Organizing Committee of the XXI Central American & the Caribbean Games, Trustee of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and Professor of Insurance and Cooperative Law at the University of Puerto Rico. Mr. Contreras holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration (BSBA) with a Finance Major from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and a Master Degree in Banking Law (LLM) from Boston University. He has been a speaker in both local and international forums in matters related to the insurance and financial services fields.
15 Hector David Cordova Arteaga Hector David Cordova Arteaga is the Corporate Manager for the Federation of Credit and Savings Cooperative Unions in El Salvador, FEDECACES. Mr. Artega has over 32 years of experience in financial cooperatives and organized the Financial Cooperative System (FEDECACES) which is comprised of the Caja Central de Liquidez, Fundación Asesores para el Desarrollo, Despacho de Auditoría Externa Respaldo, Seguros, and RedActiva. Mr. Arteaga was appointed as the Director of CONAMYPE, the National Commission for Micro and Small Enterprises, by the President of El Salvador, from He has served as Vice President Ad-Honorem of the Salvadoran Institute of Cooperative Development INSAFOCOOP since He is also the Executive Director of the insurance marketing cooperative, Seguros Futuro. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Arteaga was the Landowner Representative of the Salvadoran Congress. From 1997 to 2000, he was an alternate representative of the Salvadoran Congress (Legislative Assembly) and is the former Secretary of the Confederation of Credit Unions in Latin America, COLAC. Mr. Arteaga has participated in Cooperative Legislation Reform; in approving the Financial Intermediaries Law and the Law of Consumer Protection, in Reforms to the Bank Law, as well as many other law reforms. He is the founder of NGOs and other initiatives such as: Central American Institute of Financial Studies (IDEFICA), National Development Foundation (FUNDE), INFORED Credit Union, and the Central American Institute of Research for Development. Amy Coughenour Betancourt Amy Coughenour Betancourt is the Chief Operating Officer of CLUSA International, leading a team of 700 employees implementing NCBA CLUSA s $40 million international portfolio in 14 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America in food security, natural resources management, community-based health, cooperative development, and women and youth empowerment. She has been a leader in domestic and international development non-governmental organizations for 24 years. Prior to joining NCBA, Coughenour served for nine years as the Deputy Director of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and from , as the Deputy Director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she was also a CSIS Adjunct Fellow from From , she was director of the Washington office of the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), a workforce education reform 15
16 and training organization. She served as Vice President for North America for the International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA). She serves on the boards of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council; Cooperatives of the America A Region of International Cooperative Alliance; Cooperative Business International (CBI Global); and the Cooperative Development Foundation s Innovation Fund Advisors. Coughenour holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a B.A. in German from Central College in Pella, Iowa and received a teaching Fulbright in Germany. Melvin Edwards Melvin Edwards is a Caribbean Citizen who has devoted the past 32 years in global service to the growth and expansion of Credit Unions, Co-operatives, and Small Enterprises. He has held Chief of Party positions with USAID, CIDA, and BearingPoint managing multi-country economic competitiveness initiatives in the Caribbean. He currently consults for the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and several Central Banks on economic management and financial sector initiatives. Mr. Edwards has been a chief architect for legislative reform since 1984, and has provided extensive capacity-building support to regulatory authorities from Bermuda to Suriname. Seven Caribbean Parliaments recently enacted new harmonized co-operative legislation he co-drafted. Edwards was elected Chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions in July 2007, the first for the Caribbean, culminating an outstanding career as an advocate, manager, and developer of co-operative organizations regionally and internationally since In May 2009, he completed the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) Program and was among the first batch to earn the International CUDE designation. Mr. Edwards received the Distinguished Services Award from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) during the 2013 World Credit Union Conference in recognition of his lifetime of services to financial institutions and other co-operatives worldwide. The DSA is the highest accolade awarded throughout the international credit union system. 16
17 Alberto Esteves Dr. Alberto Esteves is currently the President of the Uruguayan Confederation of Cooperative Entities (CUDECOOP). Dr. Esteves holds positions in several prestigious organizations. He is a member of Board of the National Institute for Employment and Professional Training (INEFOP) for the Social Economic Business Sector. He is also a member of the Consulting Body of the National Cooperation Institute (INACOOP). Dr. Esteves is an active member of the Economic and Social Forum for MERCOSUR. He holds a member position in the Specialized Cooperative Meeting for MERCOSUR and is a board member of the Cooperative of the Americas. Prior to these positions, Dr. Alberto Esteves served as Secretary of the Directiva de la Federación de Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ahorro Previo (FECOVI) and as President of the Cooperative for the La Florida housing cooperative. Eudes de Freitas Aquino In 2013, Dr. Eudes de Freitas Aquino was re-elected to the Presidency of UNIMED for the term of Dr. Freitas was elected President of UNIMED Brazil and Vice Presidentof the International Health Cooperative Organization (IHCO) in From 2005 to 2009, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and the State Health Insurance Representative to the Organization of Cooperatives in the State of São Paulo (OCESP). Prior to this position, he created the Federation of Intra-state Paulista Centers, under which he was President for two terms. In São Paulo, Dr. Freitas served as a member of the Board of Directors for two terms and later as the Director of Educational Programs and Assistance. Between 1992 and 1997, he was President of UNIMED Piracicaba. Dr. Eudes de Freitas Aquino has a Master s degree and Ph.d. in clinical medicine (Nephrology) from the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto in Sao Paulo. Dr. Freitas also holds a graduate degree in Health and Advanced Business Management, as well as an MBA in Health Services Management, both from the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP) in São Paulo. 17
18 Márcio Lopes de Freitas Márcio Lopes de Freitas has been a farmer and proponent of cooperatives for over 30 years. Mr. Freitas began working in the cooperative sector with coffee and milk production in 1994, when he served as President on the boards of COCAPEC and CREDICOCAPEC. He continued contributing to the development of cooperatives, as head of the São Paulo unit for OCESP, between 1997 and 2001, and subsequently as a representative of the cooperative movement through his position as President of the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB) and the National Cooperative Teaching Service (SESCOOP). In 2005, Mr. Freitas became President of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (CNCOOP), shortly after the confederation was created. Mr. Freitas is also President of the Organization of Cooperatives from Portuguese Speaking Countries and Vice President of the International Organization of Agriculture and Livestock Cooperatives (ICAO), a sectorial organization of the International Cooperative Alliance. Mr. Freitas holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Brasilia. Suzanne Gendron Suzanne Gendron is the Managing Vice-President Cooperation and Corporate Affairs, responsible for the Desjardins Foundation, the Ombudsman s office, the CEO s office, Cooperative Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Governance and Ethics. She is also responsible for various strategic Desjardins-wide projects and sits on the Group s Management Committee. Ms. Gendron heads the International Summit of Cooperatives, which held its first meeting in October 2012 and attracted 2,800 cooperative leaders from 91 countries to talk about the challenges and opportunities they share. Ms. Gendron also worked for Desjardins from 2003 to 2007 as Vice-President of Development and Coordination for the Desjardins Network, and then as Executive Director of Desjardins Group Synergies. From 2007 to 2010, Ms. Gendron worked in New York City for Citigroup Inc., a world leader in financial services located in over 140 countries. At Citigroup, she held positions that included Vice-President, Reengineering Senior Coordinator and, since 2009, Senior Vice-President, Global Transaction Services. Ms. Gendron also worked for several years at Ernst & Young, where she used her high-level expertise in strategic planning, business transformation, and governance. She holds an MBA from l École des Hautes Études Commerciales de l Université de Montréal and a law degree from Sherbrooke University. She is a member of the Quebec Bar and the Board of 18
19 Directors of Finance Montreal, an industry cluster, whose mission is to stimulate the creation and development of financial enterprises in Montréal and Quebec. Charles Gould Charles Gould has served as Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the International Co-operative Alliance since September The Alliance is the global association promoting the co-operative enterprise model. Its members in 100 countries represent 750 million individual cooperators. Prior to his appointment, Charles Gould served as Chief Executive Officer of Volunteers of America, a health care, housing and human services organization in the United States. Headquartered in Washington D.C., he provided leadership to its 16,000 staff and oversaw an annual budget of USD 1 billion. In each of the last five years of his administration, he was recognized as one of the fifty most influential leaders in the United States non-profit sector. He served as a member of the board of the American Society of Association Executives, and of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aged. Before joining Volunteers of America, Mr. Gould practiced as an attorney-at-law with Arnold & Porter and with Hogan & Hartson, U.S. law firms in Washington D.C. He has a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of Minnesota Law School (USA), and a Master of Studies (MSt) in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University (United Kingdom). Mr. Gould has spoken often on the issues of housing, long-term health care, and human services. His article The Right to Housing Recovery after Natural Disasters was published in the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Ariel Guarco Ariel Guarco has been President of the Confederation of Cooperatives of the Republic of Argentina (COOPERAR) since Mr. Guarco is recognized in Argentina by the numerous leadership posts he has held. He has been the President of COMESA, an energy commercialization body. In 2008 he was appointed Secretary of the National Confederation of Interfederal Electric Cooperatives CONAICE, and President of the Federation of Electric Cooperatives and Public Services of Buenos Aires FEDECOBA. In 2007 he was elected President of the Cooperativa Electrica Ltd. de Coronel Pringles. Mr. Guarco is a veterinarian, with a Masters in Agricultural Economics and Rural Administration. He also holds a postgraduate degree in Social Economics and Non-profit Management. 19
20 Ramón Imperial Zuñiga Ramón Imperial Zúñiga, President of Co-operatives of the Americas A Region of the International Cooperative Alliance, has been the Director General of the Caja Popular Mexicana since The Caja is a financial cooperative that has close to 1.8 million members and more than 430 branches totaling over USD $2 Billion in assets. Mr. Imperial has extensive experience in the Mexican Cooperative Movement. Since 1987, he has held numerous positions largely in the credit and saving cooperative sector, as well as with related organizations, both nationally and internationally. Since 2009, he has been President of the Sistema Cooperativo de Medios de Pago cooperative (SIS- COOP) and Vice-president of the International Cooperative Alliance since Since 1995, he has participated in over 85 international and national events on cooperatives, socioeconomics and microfinance, as a speaker and presenter. Mr. Imperial holds a degree in mechanical engineering studies from the Instituto Tecnológico de Querétaro, Mexico. Rebecca Kemble Rebecca Kemble is the President of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the President of CICOPA North America, the sub-regional body of the worker cooperative sector of the International Cooperative Alliance. She is also the Vice President of CICOPA Americas and serves on the Executive Board of CICOPA worldwide. Rebecca is a worker-owner at Union Cab Cooperative where she has served as chairperson of the Education and Strategic Planning Committees. She helped develop and implement innovative peer support systems, including the Steward and Mediation Councils that have become integral parts of Union Cab s democratic governance and management structures. She is a founding member and editor at the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. Rebecca earned a PhD (a.b.d.) in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lives in Madison, WI. 20 Estuardo Paredes Lopez Estuardo Paredes Lopez is the General Manager of COAC San Francisco Ltda. in Ecuador. Prior to his work with COAC, Mr. López was a micro entrepreneur for the Grupo Financiero Pichincha from 2003 to From 1998 to 2003, he was the Supervisor of Financial and Technological Services and technology at INSOTEC. Mr. Lopez is President of the National Association of Cooperatives,