Cooperative Governance

Our Team of independent consultants specialize in helping your board and General Manager work together to govern and lead your cooperative.  We each offer individual services upon request, but most of our clients access our services through the award-winning, innovative Cooperative Board Leadership Development Program (known as CBLD and pronounced C-build).

CBLD 2017

The award-winning, innovative Cooperative Board Leadership Development Program (known as CBLD and pronounced C-build) includes 15 hours of ongoing, customized support and planning and facilitation of one-day in-person retreat, designed to meet your co-op’s needs; CBL 101 workshops for new directors, and a variety of resources and connections for the co-op community including the CDS CC Library; and expertise and examples from peers on current relevant topics. Themes for 2017 will be:

  • Build a strong GM/Board relationship.
  • Compete to Thrive - a board primer on competing in the “new normal”
  • Qualify and elect Directors.
  • Co-op Impact! Co-op Participation!

Our consultants developed and structure their work around  the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance—Teaming, Accountable Empowerment, Strategic Leadership and Democracy.

Support for GMs focuses primarily on building and sustaining a strong Board/GM relationship.

About 125 co-ops are enrolled in CBLD. Participating in CBLD strengthens your co-op and the community of co-ops.

CBLD Features and Benefits

The CBLD program includes regular contact with your primary CBLD Consultant, planning and facilitation of a one-day board retreat, a variety of in-person sessions, our evolving newsletter and online workshops via Connections, and access to resources via the CDS Consulting Co-op Library.

The CBLD fee for 2017 is $6,850, paid in quarterly installments in March, June, September and December. In addition, your co-op is responsible for costs associated with your retreat and attending in-person events.

CBLD for Startups

We recognize the special needs of Startups.   CBLD for Startups includes everything in CBLD plus five bonus hours to be used during the year. Not far enough along in organizing to be ready for CBLD this year? Contact us for information about our new pilot project for group governance support for the very new and very small.

Support for the Very Small

We encourage inquiries from very small co-ops about how we can tailor a bundle of services to meet your needs.


Co-ops also have the option to add a second retreat and/or to purchase bundles of additional consulting hours at reduced rates. Want a CBL 101, Leadership Training, or Power of Participation (POP) Culture Workshop for your co-op or region? No problem, just contact us for a proposal.

Individual Consulting Services

In addition to the CBLD program, our consultants offer a wide range of board development services to meet your needs. Consultants set their own rates for additional offerings outside CBLD.  For information about how our consultants can support your co-op, please contact Thane Joyal or contact any of the independent consultants on our team.  


Associated Consultants

Adam Schwartz

Creating a Cooperative Culture, Connecting Co-ops across Sectors

Art Sherwood

Board Leadership Development, Strategy and GM/CEO Coaching

Ben Sandel

Leadership Development, Startup Co-ops, Capitalization

Jade Barker

Board Leadership Development

Joel Kopischke

Board Leadership Development, MBTI® Personality Type Assessments, Leadership Coaching, Cooperative Governance

Leslie Watson

Board Leadership Development

Marilyn Scholl

Cooperative Governance, Board Training, Facilitation, and Assessment, Cooperative Development

Mark Goehring

Leadership Development, Cooperative Governance, Facilitation, Member Linkage

Martha Whitman

Board Leadership Development

Michael Healy

Cooperative Governance, Team Building, Communication

Rose Marie Klee

Board Leadership Development

Thane Joyal

Board Leadership Development, Cooperative Governance, Bylaw Support

Todd Wallace

Board Leadership Development