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.

Private: Biography

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 “Private: 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