John McNamara

Photo of John

John has a life-long career working to improve the workplace. This began member of an independent student labor union, the now defunct Memorial Union Labor Organization on the UW-Madison Campus, and continued for 26 years at the taxicab cooperative, Union Cab of Madison as a director and manager. While at Union Cab, he worked with other members to flatten hierarchy and help create space for more members’ voices in the decision-making process. He also came to recognize that traditional meeting practices create useless and unnecessary antagonistic relationships.

Over the last ten or so years, John has worked with the larger co-op movement as a founding member, director, and president of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, a founding member and governor of the Democracy at Work Network, and graduate student research assistant as a graduate student in co-op management at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax where he earned a Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions and is a Ph.D. Candidate in management. His research work included the development of the Co-op Index Report, a tool to measure a co-operatives expression of cooperative values and principles. Currently John works full-time as a cooperative developer for the Northwest Cooperative Development Center in Olympia, WA engaging with a diverse group of co-operatives as well as leading NWCDC’s Co-operative Academy.  John teaches on cooperative management in Presidio Graduate School’s Seattle campus in the spring and The Evergreen State College in the summer. John first learned of Sociocracy at NWCDC which has partnered with Jerry Koch-Gonzalez for conference workshops. John embraced Sociocracy as a governance model that engages the cooperative identity especially the ethical values of openness and honesty. He joined the first cohort of the Sociocracy Leadership Training program and now includes units on Sociocracy in his courses and the academy. He encourages all clients to at least consider the model for their co-operatives as well and hopes to see it grow throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Location: Olympia, WA USA
Circles: Leader of Co-op Circle
Price Range: $-$


Email: [email protected]



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