I am honored to serve.
It has been a bit of a whirlwind since my induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame on May 2nd but I’ve wanted to share my speech from that evening.
First, I need to note that the honor and event were very nice. I am thankful to those who nominated me and to the National Cooperative Business Association and Cooperative Development Foundation for hosting the Hall of Fame.
What follows is a very slightly edited version of my speech.
I am truly fortunate to have grown up in a stable home, and in a home town that I liked. Home and community mean a lot to me; it is just that simple.
That the largest print in my office is titled “Home, Sweet, Home, Sweet, Home,” and I picked it out with the love of my life, Martha, who I have been happy to share a home with for our 28 years of marriage.
Everything starts at home.
For the last two decades, our two terrific daughters, Lila and Jane, have filled our home with even more love and laughs. And, our niece Scarlett is a recent and welcomed addition. Thank you to my family for a sweet, sweet home.
One thing not in the video is one of my favorite TV shows growing up, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Fred Rogers said, “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
Andrea said “it takes a cooperative community.” Indeed, for ROC USA, it takes many communities. The 220 communities and 14,000 homeowners we serve include many heroes. We count more than 1,200 who are elected Directors, and many more who are active Members. Five of them – each of whom has served or is serving their co-op locally as well as on behalf of all co-ops have served on the ROC USA Board – have joined us tonight thanks to the National Co-op Bank’s generosity.
Please join me in recognizing these heroes (i.e. Lois Parris, Natividad Seefeld, Colleen Preston, Lorie Cahill, and Kim Capen) and the thousands of heroes they represent in co-op communities.
Thank you for inspiring people across the country.
Also, thank you to all of you who have joined ROC USA to scale co-op communities – thank you to our LLC Members and our outstanding Board of Directors, thank you to our national staff and the staff of Network’s affiliated Technical Assistance providers. The dedication these professionals have shown to achieving this mission is inspiring and demonstrates again the power of a cooperation.
I especially want to call out ROC USA’s senior managers – Mary O’Hara, Michael Sloss and David Doyon. To say ‘this would not be possible without you’ is an understatement.
I am honored that we are joined by some of our key investors and supporters tonight. Bankers, lawyers, philanthropists, fellow cooperators and friends—together you create a vital community from which we draw much needed support. Thank you for holding our mission dear.
We are out to prove one thing: An aligned and focused social venture together with co-op leaders can scale grassroots cooperative ownership.
Our goal: A country in which resident ownership is viable and successful from coast to coast, and all points in between!
Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund said, “You really can change the world if you care enough.”
Truly, thank you for caring about these communities and homeowners.