Walden Swanson & Kate Sumberg
Respected for their vision, innovation, and outstanding leadership, Walden Swanson and Kate Sumberg have lived their lives as champions of cooperation, serving as co-op developers, managers, board members, consultants, entrepreneurs and volunteers. Their legacy is substantial.
Early careers with consumer food and distribution co-ops showed them the need for cooperatives to network to obtain the competitive advantages of virtual chains, while retaining the unique attributes of local ownership. They created CoCoFiSt, an innovative financial bench marking system that has transformed cooperation among food co-ops, and advanced the work of the National Cooperative Grocers Association. This system is being successfully brought to other cooperative sectors today through CoopMetrics.
Their successful work in starting and expanding co-ops as employees and consultants of Cooperative Development Services helped validate the concept of the "cooperative development center", inspiring the creation of other centers and laying the groundwork for a network of centers that is today known as CooperationWorks.
In addition, this dynamic team has brought integrity, dedication, and boundless enthusiasm to their work, always inspiring others, and earning them status as trusted mentors and heroes to so many within the cooperative community.