Ahoy Cooperative works to foster greater democracy and care in communities. 

To do so, we design structures and processes. Our approach is values-based and rooted in systems thinking. Our past work has spanned various industries, but we have maintained a strong focus on the cooperative model and other forms of networks that support people in building collective power.


EMLC has worked as a designer, developer, and manager of democratic systems within the cooperative movement and non-profit sector for over a decade. Her work has earned her many titles among her colleagues – Entrepreneur, Intrapreneur (or EI), and – perhaps most aptly – Architect.  The impact her work has made has been felt by many. For a listing of positions and comparable, visit her linkedin profile.

Through her efforts, she has:

  • Grown the cooperative economy by over 7 million dollars of assets (i.e. property, jobs) – through the founding of new and the growth of existing organizations,
  • Built and managed networks and membership structures locally, nationally, and internationally – including the creation and sustainment of a national association engaging thousands of individuals,
  • Created and executed various education and training programs – both for internal organizational stakeholders (e.g. staff, membership) and the general public,
  • Developed or managed several cooperative businesses and democratic organizations – among them coworking, worker, and housing cooperatives, and
  • Served as a thought leader to the cooperative movement through writing and public speaking – on building cooperative and movement networks, designing governance infrastructure for social movements, building bridges between FLOSS technology and cooperation, fostering cooperative culture, and the necessary role of youth in movement-building. 
    “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” [Audre Lorde]

Additionally, EMLC has been elected to and served in representative leadership roles for various communities – cooperative development (national and international), youth (national and international), community planning and development (local), data collection (international), and cooperative education (international) – among others. Through these experiences, EMLC has developed a strong understanding of best practices for leading large groups of constituents in the adoption and implementation of new or evolved structures and processes. Continue reading “Biography”


Ahoy Cooperative is available to design, facilitate, and implement organizational structures, processes, and gatherings. Every project is unique – please get in touch to explore what working with us might look like for your group.

  • Membership – Systems, Programs, & Communications
  • Volunteer – Systems, Programs, & Communications
  • Governance – Systems + Evaluation & Reporting
  • Management – Systems + Evaluation & Reporting
  • Assemblies (In Person & Online)
    • These customizable processes are for large groups seeking to explore and build agreement around a given issue (e.g. set strategy collectively).
  • Decision-Making (In Person & Online)
    • The many kinds of decisions groups need to make vary greatly depending on their scope (e.g. those impacted, real costs, level of agreement needed), so decision-making processes can be designed uniquely for a group and a given issue. There are many instances in which decisions need to be made beyond the scope of a group’s codified decision-making practices.
  • Consultations (In Person & Online)
    • Using a combination of tools (e.g. online survey, wiki, interview) aligned with the group’s communication culture, consultations solicit feedback on the implementation of a strategy or project, as well as build buy-in for the work. Results are useful in shaping workplans, troubleshooting organizational practices, and revealing ideas for new projects.
  • Accountability & Care
    • Accountability (e.g. Transformational Justice) & Care (e.g. Grievance & Evaluation Processes) – Interpersonal and institutional harm inevitably happen within groups. Accountability processes can be designed to address the harm and pursue healing for the people and the group, as a whole. Care processes that serve all stakeholders in an an organization offer ongoing accountability checks to avoid getting to the point of needing to address significant harm. 
  • Short-Form Gatherings (In Person & Online)
    • Governance Meetings (e.g. Board of Directors), Operations Meetings (e.g. Management, All Staff), Constituent Meetings (e.g. Membership)
  • Long-Form Gatherings (In Person & Online)
    • Leadership Retreats, Planning Sessions
  • Trainings (In Person & Online)
    • Leadership Development, Group Development (e.g. Trustbuilding), Business & Strategic Planning, Entrepreneurship, Network & Movement Building, Cooperative Philosophy & Practice
  • Facilitation Guides
    • Agenda and Session Plans designed to meet your stated objectives, prepared for your group to DIY facilitation
  • Curriculum Development
    • Creation of educational resources for use by trainers and leaders to train individuals in engaging with a structure or process

Sartell Coop Vote


Emily M Lippold Cheney