Karen has been the Centre’s Managing Director since 2012. Plus, she is a Governance Researcher and Adjunct Professor. Her work is focused on building networks, combined with sharing and exchanging knowledge. Highlights include local, national, and global relationships and partnerships; online teaching (co-op innovation, management, governance); travelling to co-operative hot spots, and leading within and beyond the industry.
Karen has lived, worked, and played in various regions of the world. She is an expert in the management and governance of values-based businesses, with an emphasis on co-operatives, credit unions, and mutuals (plus, the broader social solidarity economy). Her professional experiences span working with co-operatives, non-profits, profit-oriented organizations, and government; she is educated in business and planning disciplines, plus she is a Certified Management Consultant and a Certified Director (ICD.D and ACCUD) through the Institute of Corporate Directors and Canadian credit union system. Great governance is a specific professional passion for Karen: she conducts research on governance and has served on business, non-profit, and charity Boards in organizations as varied as outdoor retail, financial services, energy efficiency, environmental advocacy, and fair trade certification.
Karen loves outdoor recreation, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying exceptional local food and wine.
Sonja Novkovic is a Professor of Economics and Academic Director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s. She has been teaching in the CME program from its inception in 2003.
Sonja is a member of the NCBA Council of Economists (2017-Present). She serves as co-chair of the International Co-operative Alliance Advisory Group on Cooperative Identity. She is an affiliated researcher at the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives at HEC Montrèal. She served as Chair of the International Co-operative Alliance Research Committee (2013-2021) and is past president of the International Association for the Economics of Participation (IAFEP).
Her research interests are in the field of economic democracy, including labour-managed and cooperative firms, social economy, and comparative economic systems. She is a partner in a four-year research project on co-operative governance funded by FWO – Belgium. Her co-edited volumes include Co-operatives and the World of Work (Routledge, 2019); Cooperativism and Local Development in Cuba: An agenda for Democratic Transformation (Brill, 2018); Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity (ICA, Brussels 2015); Cooperative innovations in China and the West (Palgrave, 2015) and Co-operatives in a Post-growth Era (Zed books, 2014).
Claudia De Fuentes is the Graduate Program Co-ordinator for the International Centre for Co-operative Management and an Associate Professor at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University. She has been teaching in the Co-operative Management Education program since 2021. Her research experience includes innovation in firms, systems of innovation, the creation and use of knowledge to innovate, new forms of academia–industry collaboration that foster innovation, and science, technology and innovation policy.
She has conducted research and lectured internationally in Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Vietnam, and Peru on topics such as innovation systems, innovation policy, innovation management, global innovation, and entrepreneurship. She has supervised Master's and Ph.D. students on related topics.
Her work has circulated internationally and her publications have received several citations from academics and policymakers. She is the editor of one book, author or co-author of over ten book chapters, and author or co-author of over 20 articles in refereed journals such as Research Policy, Science and Public Policy, Long Range Planning, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Innovation and Development, and International Journal of Institutions and Economies. She has presented over 30 pieces of her work at international conferences such as GLOBELICS, DRUID, Triple Helix, Atlanta conference, ALTEC, CCSBE, and MEIDE. Her work can also be reached by open access working paper series at the IADB, CIRCLE, and Universidad de la Republica.
She has collaborated in international research groups to work on different projects financed by SSHRC (Canada), CONACYT (Mexico), IADB, IDRC, SMU, and the EU. She has worked on contractual consultancy and research projects for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) on impact assessment, for the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) on innovation in the services sector, for the Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico (FCCT) in Mexico on STI policy, and for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) on Innovation for Inclusive Development.
Erin Hancock (she/her) is the Program Manager for Education. Prior to joining the Centre’s team, she worked with Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network.
Erin serves on the board of iNova Credit Union and chairs the Co-operative Social Responsibility Committee and also serves on the board for the Community Housing Management Network Co-operative. She has served on the boards of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-operative, the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, the North American Students of Co-operation and the Ottawa Women’s Credit Union. She was a co-founder of the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick.
She holds an MPhil (Public Policy & Co-operative Development), a BPhil (Leadership Studies, Psychology & International Development), a Certificate in University Teaching and a Certificate in Co-operative Management.
Jude Robertson joined the International Centre for Co-operative Management as Operations Administrator in 2017. She has worked in administration, project and event management with educational, private, municipal and federal organizations for over 18 years. In addition, she has worked in film, television and education.
Jude has a Bachelor of Science from Mount Allison University, a Diploma in Festivals and Special Events Management and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA).
Jude is a lover of travel and photography.
Cathy Statz (she/her) is the International Centre for Co-operative Management’s Outreach Specialist. An advocate for the co-operative education of youth, she spent over twenty-five years as education director and camp director for Wisconsin Farmers Union, and continues to serve as co-coordinator of the National Farmers Union College Conference on Cooperatives. She also supports the Cooperative Development Foundation in the US on projects including the Cooperative Leaders and Scholars (CLS) program. Cathy serves on the boards of the Ralph K. Morris Foundation and the InSPIREation Foundation and is a member and past president of the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE). She holds a double degree from Lawrence University in English and voice performance and is a member of Rotary International.
Rosa (she/her) is an Acadian-Scottish settler person living in Kjipuktuk on unceded Mi’kmaq territory. A passion for social and ecological justice and solidarity economics drives her work. She joined the International Centre for Co-operative Management as Program Assistant in 2019. She is a co-owner and board member of Glitter Bean Cafe worker co-operative. She is an organizer of community land trust start-ups, mutual aid and solidarity initiatives. She has a BA in Political Science and Environmental Sustainability Studies (Dalhousie University), a Certificate in Indigenous Studies (Dalhousie University) and a Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development (Concordia University). She loves hosting gatherings, cooking for loved ones, contemplating over espresso and swimming in the ocean.
Júlia Martins Rodrigues (she/her) is a researcher and project coordinator at ICCM, working with multi-stakeholder cooperative networks. Before affiliating with SMU, she earned a doctoral degree in Social and Legal Sciences from the Università di Camerino (Italy) and a Master's of Law in Human Rights and Innovation at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Brazil), where she has also graduated as a Juris Doctor and worked as an Assistant Professor of Law. She holds a professional certificate as a "Third Sector Operator: Serving Nonprofit Causes & Communities" issued by the Bottega del Terzo Settore, Ascoli Piceno (Italy), and a certificate of Indigenous Peoples' Rights by Columbia University. She is a Latin woman born and raised in Brazil, focused on intersectional approaches to economic justice, community wealth building, shared ownership, democratic governance, and Human Rights.
Cian McMahon is an ICCM postdoctoral fellow researching participatory democratic cooperative governance systems (FWO SB-project S006019N). Prior to affiliating with SMU, he completed a Ph.D. on worker cooperatives and sustainable development at the National University of Ireland Galway, where he also taught courses on heterodox economics and radical political economy. McMahon worked previously as a Policy Analyst with the Irish progressive left Think-tank for Action on Social Change (TASC). He subscribes to a public role for academics through involvement with labour and community activist education.
Our programs are delivered by passionate and engaged researchers and practitioners from the co-operative sector. The online nature of our programs enables us to work with experts nationally and internationally.
The Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC) ensures that the International Centre for Co-operative Management responds to the real business needs of co-operatives, credit unions, and mutuals.
The Centre is enriched by its partnerships with centres and institutions in co-operative education and the student and alumni-led co-operative.
Our work is made possible with the generosity of our donors. We are sincerely grateful to:
- Atlantic Central and League Savings & Mortgage
- Heartland Farm Mutual Insurance
- The Co-operators
- Staff, alumni and supportive individuals