29 months ago by Vernon_Oakes
Vernon and Brian discuss the financial side of Equal Exchange, and how the cooperative uses its influence to help build strong communities that are fair, cooperative, and just. Brian came to Equal Exchange and the co-op world relatively late in life, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the mainstream business world. His unique background includes jobs in the Foodservice Industry, as well as numerous years in Finance and Accounting. Brian grew up in a working class neighborhood, where he learned the values of friendship, hard work, family, and dedication. A natural with numbers, he began his working life in the back offices of Merrill Lynch and EF Hutton, until transitioning onto the Food Industry, where he was able to combine his love of food and his hands-on management style to become General Manager of the food service operation at a local country club. In the early 90's, his family responsibilities led him return to a more traditional work environment and the world of numbers, ultimately finding his way to Equal Exchange where he was hired as Finance Manager in 2005 before becoming Director of Finance in 2006. Brian holds an Associate's Degree in Foodservice Management from Newbury College, and another degree in Management, with a concentration in Accounting from Curry College. Brian lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, and serves on the Board of La Siembra in Canada. Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative that has been leading the authentic Fair Trade movement and creating big change since 1986. The company believes in a fair and honest trade system that empowers both farmers and consumers, by creating a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable world. To realize this vision, Equal Exchange has built long-term, mutually beneficial trade partnerships with small farmer cooperatives around the world. These relationships mean better prices for its producers, higher quality products for the consumers, and a stronger global community. With Equal Exchange, customers can feel good knowing that every single one of their purchases directly benefits and strengthens the hardworking people and communities that make its products possible.