See what we mean?

The ROC USA Strategic Plan is an ambitious statement both of what we want to accomplish and how we intend to accomplish it. Most people who read it probably are surprised by our first Strategic Focus: “ROC leaders and Members drive the national resident-ownership movement.”

I have been asked in no uncertain terms, “That’s your highest priority?” “Why is that?”  Photo of the ROC Association Directors: Kim Capen, Lorie Cahill and Natividad Seefeld

Well, the proof is in the pudding as my father would have said. The ROC Association Directors – Lorie Cahill at Green Acres in Montana, Natividad Seefeld at Park Plaza in Minnesota, and Kim Capen at Medvil Co-op in New Hampshire – are each out sharing their experiences and insights and motivating a whole lot of people in the process. To me, ROC USA and our affiliated nonprofit Technical Assistance Providers in ROC USA Network, are like important parts of the SUV – the transmission or wheels perhaps to carry out the metaphor – but the engine and the heating and cooling are definitely our co-op clients and the co-op leaders and Members for whom the there’s an SUV to begin with!

The three Association Directors opened the ROC Leadership Institute last summer with a panel discussion that had their 76 fellow leaders and us professional community development folks in the room rapt. They spoke movingly about prejudice and that change comes from within, the power of public policy and homeowner leadership, and the importance of securing resources for co-op Members with home improvement needs.

They continue to speak up.

Lorie has just released the 1st blog in a series on her tour of all of the Montana ROCs. Her tour and blogs are a shining example of ROC leaders taking leadership and running with it!

Kim has continued to attend a large number of co-op events in his region as well, and serves on the Board of the NH Community Loan Fund representing the now 128 co-ops in New Hampshire.

Natividad has been appointed at Vice Chair of the All Parks Alliance for Change in Minnesota and is helping lead its public policy push in the state. She has spoken at several affordable housing public discussions – as an invited speaker! – and has hosted state senators from both parties at Park Plaza. Last year she won a handshake agreement between a Democrat and a Republican to fix a state law that was detrimental to co-op Members.

Their leadership is also encouraging other ROC leaders to speak up. Bill Hodgkins from a Wardtown Co-op in Freeport, Maine, has started a blog to talk about his experiences, to name just one.

Truly, nothing excites me more than seeing talented co-op leaders step up and express themselves in clear and powerful terms, balancing challenges with successes and expressing the opportunity to create a bright future.

I fundamentally believe that every neighborhood needs dedicated community leaders helping everyday people organize solutions to shared challenges and promote goodness and a positive future.

Lorie, Natividad, Kim and Bill are terrific ambassadors for our communities and country, and for each of us.

 

“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.”

-Fred Rogers

 

Co-op leaders are my heroes. It why I do what I do, happy to play my part in their drive to opportunity, security and mutually supportive communities.