“Why I work in a co-operative” is our new feature, showcasing a different co-operative each month to share success stories and highlight the impact that co-operatives have on the local community.
This month, CaSE-da CEO Dorothy Francis tells us why she works in a co-operative.
Tell us about your co-operative?
CaSE-da provides advice, support and training to people setting up and running co-operatives and social enterprises. We work with people at all stages of their business development and seek to be approachable and to create an environment for people to succeed.
Our newest co-operative registered last week; our most longstanding co-operative, with whom we have worked since day one, celebrates its 25th birthday this year.
What is your role and how long have you worked there for?
My main job is that of chief executive officer of CaSE-da, which means that I am responsible for strategic management of the agency. However we are a small agency so my role also encompasses many other activities. I am CaSE-da’s human resource manager and responsible for day-to-day management of staff and resources.
I am aqualified teacher and apply this to writing and delivering training courses on a variety of subjects. I was originally employed as a business development officer and still work in this role with a number of groups.
The disadvantage of having so many roles is that I am often shifting gears two or three times an hour but this is also one of the challenges that keep my job interesting. At CaSE-da we believe in developing our staff so that we can offer the best possible service.
I have worked in a number of responsibilities within the agency and have obtained two teaching qualifications and qualified as a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development during my employment.
The variety in my post and the opportunities for development are amongst the elements that have kept me here for 25 years – a life time!
Why did you choose to work for a co-operative?
I had previously worked for two co-operatives so the fact that CaSE-da is a co-operative is one of the aspects that attracted me.
CaSE-da was established as a conventional business but the founder members converted it to a co-operative within the first few months of operation. They wrote a set of rules to reflect the inclusive democratic workers co-operative that they wished to be and then changed the company to that format.
What do you enjoy most about working in a co-operative?
Working in a co-op is ideal for me. I enjoy the shared ownership and control and the democracy which is inherent to this way of working. I like being in charge of my work as an individual whilst working in a strong and supportive team setting. I love making a difference and the feeling of accomplishment I get when I know that CaSE-da has done a job well.
Early on in my career I worked for a major corporation and I remember thinking “There must be another way to work” and for me co-operatives is that “other way”. It’s a way of working that allows me involvement, ownership and
control in a democratic setting.
Do you have any particular success stories that you would like to share?
CaSE-da celebrates its 30th birthday next year which is a major achievement – we hope to hold a party to celebrate our pearl anniversary!
All of the co-operatives and social enterprises that we work with are success stories in that they have used co-operation to change their lives as individuals and to create an impact on local communities.
Co-operatives and social enterprises make a real difference to the lives of thousands of local people and it’s wonderful to be a part of that success.
If you would like to take part in this feature and appear on our website, please email Nade Townsend on email@example.com