With Fall comes change. Our recent changes bring bittersweet news of comings and goings in our staff. On November 1st, Foresta Sieck-Hill stepped down as Operations Manager in order to return to school and focus on her newly expanded family. We are gleeful to join Foresta in welcoming her second baby this year. Foresta stepped in to streamline our operations during a period of rapid growth, new administrative demands with our first national health program (the USFWC Dental launched last January), and an almost tripling of our cashflow and budgeting. We are massively appreciative of her steady hand and grounded competence–– especially because Foresta is such a warm and caring co-worker and brought so much experience with worker co-ops, especially in the Bay Area. We will of course miss her tremendously.
But all is not lost. Foresta’s replacement is a long time co-organizer and former co-Administrative Coordinator of the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) from 2015-2016. We are thrilled to announce that Laura Smoot is joining the staff of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives as our new Operations Manager. Many of our members have had occasion to meet Smoot (as she is affectionately known), from the 2013 ECWD in Philly (where Smoot used to live), or the 2016 national conference in Austin, where she spoke at our first Health Equity summit, and of course on the ground in the Bay Area, as the organizer and host of the 2015 Western Worker Co-op Conference and that event’s local tours. I’ve personally worked with Smoot in 3 or 4 different co-ops (ranging from housing to grocery to worker co-ops and associations like NoBAWC), and I’ve seen her bring care and diligence to democratic workplaces even since our time on the staff collective of Mariposa Food Co-op in West Philly. Smoot has blossomed most recently as a co-op bookkeeper, but still brings her background in facilitation and local organizing to the USFWC. Please welcome Laura Smoot to our team!
- Esteban Kelly, Executive Director