Vernon Oakes, Host of Everything Co-op Interviews Doug O'Brien, Executive VP of Programs, National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA In
14 months ago by Vernon_Oakes
Vernon and Doug discuss the programs, resources and events offered through NCBA/CLUSA. They also so discuss efforts to establish a food cooperative in Washington, DC's Wards 7 and 8, and resources that are available to assist groups with starting food cooperatives. They rounded out the show with a discussion about the work that is being done through the CLUSA International arm of the organization. Doug O'Brien serves as Executive Vice President for Programs at NCBA CLUSA, where he works with the cooperative community, both domestically and internationally, to deepen its impact on individuals and communities. NCBA is the primary voice for cooperatives in the United States for using the cooperative business model to empower people in their businesses and communities. Before coming to NCBA CLUSA, Doug led the work of the White House Rural Council and served in top positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, an organization with over 40 programs and 5000 employees that annually finances more than 30 billion dollars in community economic development. O'Brien's experience in academia includes teaching, researching and writing at the University of Arkansas Agricultural and Food Masters in Law Program and Drake University Law School. In his role at the White House, O'Brien drove the work of the White House Rural Council, a group of cabinet members from across the federal government focused on breaking down silos so that government makes a more positive impact in rural places. O'Brien's projects at the council included the creation of Rural Impact, an interagency effort to break the cycle of poverty in rural areas. While at USDA, O'Brien led numerous innovative initiatives to help create opportunity and improve rural quality of life. He instituted new poverty targeting mechanisms that resulted in hundreds of millions of increased dollars for persistent poverty areas and served on the leadership team for USDA's priority initiative to support local and regional food systems.