Who We Are

We are working to create an organizational and decision-making structure that is non-hierarchical as possible - one that allows everyone to 'get in where they fit in' and engage with us in a way that is meaningful to them.

We are a worker-directed nonprofit, and our board and staff collective work closely and with complementary power to steer the course of our work and our culture. (A worker-directed nonprofit is a nonprofit organization in which all workers have the power to influence the programs in which they work, the conditions of their workplace, their own career paths, and the direction of the organization as a whole.)

The leadership of Cooperation Humboldt is made up of our core team, staff collective, and our board of directors.

Board of Directors:

Caroline Griffith (she/her) is an omnivore of local activism currently serving as the Executive Director of the Northcoast Environmental Center. She is passionate about collaboration, and a true believer in small "d" democracy and the power of people. Although she gives her time to many local environmental and social issues, her long-term goal is a complete paradigm shift from our extractive culture of dominance to a collaborative culture of solidarity. She loves dirt, bicycles and books.

Kate Lancaster (she/her) recently retired as an associate professor from Humboldt State University, School of Business where she taught sustainable business and accounting at the undergraduate and graduate level.  Her BS, MS and PhD are in accounting, with an emphasis on environmental and social issues.  She worked with students on numerous projects that helped businesses and organizations explore and measure their sustainability (environmental, social, and economic) footprint. Kate is a Worker Owned Cooperative Business Advisor for Cooperation Humboldt and the North Coast Small Business Development Center, facilitates a CH Study Group, serves on the board for Zero Waste Humboldt, and teaches part-time at HSU.  She was actively involved in numerous HSU-related sustainability endeavors and served as a board member for the North Coast Cooperative. Kate is a small-scale permaculture gardener and herbalist, an avid and eclectic reader, and a life-long learner who enjoys long walks with her dogs in the Community Forest. An Arcata resident, Kate and her husband incorporate permaculture principles as stewards of their urban farm.  They share their life with two career-changed dogs from Guide Dogs of America, nearly 30 chickens and numerous beehives.

Leila Roberts (she/they) and her family arrived in Wiyot Tribal lands in 2015, hoping to deepen their belonging to this community for decades to come and learn where they could contribute. She is currently Director of Just Community Development & Investment with the Humboldt Area Foundation. She served previously as Director of the North Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for seven years, growing services and impact with the region’s independently-owned small, local enterprises. Under her leadership the Center launched the Northern California region’s first formal SBDC-supported employee ownership conversion program, and proudly supported the launch and growth of Cooperation Humboldt’s Worker Owned Academy.

Leila’s commitment to Cooperation Humboldt’s mission and economic democracy work comes from a 25 year career growing strong community based organizations—from Philadelphia to D.C., Vermont to Bangladesh. She has also consulted and volunteered for groups and movements like the Climate Justice Alliance, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign, Centro del Pueblo, True North Organizing Network, EDGE Funders Alliance, and more. She currently also serves on the boards of the Move to Amend Coalition and the Crescent City / Del Norte Chamber of Commerce. She has a master’s degree in International Sustainable Development.

The Arab-American daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from North Africa and Britain, Leila has lived on the shores of three oceans and seas, two bays, and six rivers. She, her partner, and their pointy-eared wayits siswupt (black dog) Benicio del Perro, live in Raqlhirilh hulumou’lilh, Wolf’s Home (also called Humboldt Hill.)

Laurie "Lio" Wayne (she/they) left 20th-century Silicon Valley to become an organic farmer in the high desert at the very western edge of the Great Basin. She learned about permaculture from Starhawk, helped start some farmers markets and a food hub, and generally fell in love with community food systems. While finishing up a two year pilgrimage she discovered the Open Food Network, a global community of techies,farmers, foodies, and good-hearted people who take care of an open source commons of code, knowledge, and connections made to support local food systems anywhere, and spent 4 years shepherding the platform in the US while working in jobs that supported farmers and healthy communities all over the west. Along the way she has picked up a degree in Applied Linguistics and studied with the Presencing Institute, Common Earth, Stephen Jenkinson, and UC Berkeley. A series of not-unsurprising events led to Arcata in the midst of COVID -- she wonders how she did not find Humboldt sooner, but is grateful to have had the chance to add it to her life itinerary. She has had approximately 7,412 jobs in her life, ranging from bike messenger to data center manager to dishwasher in a National Park to. She loved them all except one. She is currently working in her favorite job so far as a food systems advisor at UC Cooperative Extension.