Meet the Crashers

Mags Yen-Chuang Matthews | Jennifer Johnson | Zen Trenholm | Megan Meo | Jimmy Nunez | Ryan Nickerson | Erin Fien | Matthew Epperson | Joshua Sabik | Didas Mwachila Mzirai | Caroline Savery | Brandon Bushnell | Peter Murphy | Michelle Week | Stanley Yang

Mags Yen-Chuang Matthews

Margaret Yen-Chuang Matthews, PT, enjoys a life long passion for healing and movement.

Mags works as a physical therapist specializing in women’s health and fitness. She enjoys teaching pilates, hula hoop, and dance classes. This year she traveled to Belize to study and is happy to offer Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy (AT-MAT) to clients. She has
worked in these fields at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, as well as at her own private practice in San Francisco. Now she is looking to turn her practice into something bigger: a cooperative healing center.

She has thoroughly enjoyed her experience in cooperative living and looks forward to learning more about cooperative business at the NCBA conference. She is honored to be selected as a scholarship recipient for the conference.

Mags hails from Southern California. Mags and her husband Stu are currently searching for a location to start the healing cooperative as well as a cooperative farm.
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Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the Senior Marketing Coordinator, B2B at CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, California. CO-OP is the largest CUSO in the nation, serving 3,500 credit unions and representing a network of 4,500 branches and 30,000 ATMs. Jennifer is responsible for generating interest and growing relationships with credit unions through a variety of marketing programs, including managing CO-OP’s $1 million annual Miracle Match program. She helps credit unions use CO-OP’s products and industry research to connect with their members.

Jennifer has worked in sales and marketing for more than eight years, and has built her career on successfully helping companies grow through strategic marketing and effective community building. A credit union advocate, she has most recently been involved with the Young Leaders for Kids Board, advising Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with other young professionals in the movement.

Jennifer’s educational background includes a B.A. in Marketing with a Minor in Real Estate from California State University in San Bernardino. She has done work abroad in Russia and Panama, and lives in Southern California.

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Zen Trenholm

Zen Trenholm is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley studying Cooperative Business Development. Concerned with addressing the needs of his local community, he has joined the Berkeley Student Food Collective as their Policy Co-Coordinator. He also serves as the Treasurer and Project Director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition.

Zen was a speaker on the “Building the New Economy through Student Leadership” panel at the Spring 2011 Green Festival and has worked on numerous social, environmental and economic justice issues throughout his academic career.

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Megan Meo

Megan Meo is a student at Hampshire College studying cooperative entrepreneurship. Between studying and trying to stay warm during the cold New England winter, Megan works at her school’s food co-op, Mixed Nuts, where she developed a new love for cooperation. Megan also is serving on the interim Board of Directors for CoFED and loves supporting the creation of food co-ops on college campuses nationally. In honor of the International Year of Cooperatives Megan biked across the country visiting cooperatives with Co-cycle, an organization she co-founded.  Megan loves spending time with her bike named Finley and is excited to graduate college and pursue her dreams.

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Jimmy Nunez

Jimmy Nuñez is 19, Dominican, and from the Bronx. He is entering his senior year at Bronx Career and College Preparatory and lives with his mother and four siblings in a Dominican household. Jimmy has been working at Bethex Federal Credit Union for three years. He is a hard worker, goal oriented, enjoys meeting new people, and is dedicated to succeed in the future.

Working at Bethex has opened doors to many opportunities that he is thankful for.  He has become more familiar with customer service, handling financial aspects of the company and gaining more knowledge as to how a business is managed. Attending Crash NCBA will allow him to be more informed relating to cooperatives, such as how they are run and how they are useful to the community. This catches his eye because in the future he would like to manage my own cooperative and be able to improve and provide better services for communities who are in need of them.

During his free time, Jimmy tries to get out into the wilderness when he can and enjoys hiking, rock climbing and camping. He tries to use his time wisely and do productive things especially when he’s in the city. For example, whenever his school does after school activities he is sure to be included, such as parental meeting that discusses new ideas designed to help students further expand their education, new programs that expand their talents, and any activities that help fund money for the school.

Jimmy considers himself a business man. As he gets older and after experiencing all these great opportunities, he’s more driven to work his way up to start his own cooperative one day, and become very successful at it. He wants to make sure that his goals are reached and he can look back at all the hard work it took to get there, and say how proud and thankful he is to have made a successful business and do what he loves, which is to improve the world around me.

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Ryan Nickerson

Ryan Nickerson lives in Doniphan, Nebraska, population 800. He is a Senior Agronomist with a company called Servi-Tech. His responsibilities include checking farmers fields in the area on a weekly basis and developing weekly reports for farmers that include not only the current conditions within their fields, but any recommendations that need to be made. Ryan looks at a wide variety of crops including corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He also consults on organic growers as well. His area includes the counties of Hall, Hamilton, Merrick, Clay, and Adams in central Nebraksa.

Outside of work he enjoys time with his wonderful wife Amanda, and their 2 children, Ethan (Age 9) and their daughter Kayli (age 4). His hobbies and interests include spending time with his family, and following all sports relating to the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, especially Nebraska football.

Ryan is also a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. He spent 6 years in the Nebraska Army National Guard from August of 2000 to August of 2006. During his time in the guard he spent 13 months in Iraq, 3 months at airport security immediately following 9/11, and 2 weeks hauling supplies in Nicaragua to help build hurricane proof schools.

More recently he traveled as a part of the National Cooperative Business Associations Farmer to Farmer program to the African country of Senegal. During his 2 week stay, he taught farmers about soil fertility. They discussed the roles of nutrients within the plan, proper fertilizer application and timing, and also how they can utilize their own resources to help make their fields more productive. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and Ryan learned as much from them as they did from him.

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Erin Fien


Erin Fien is a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo in New York studying biology and environmental science. She spent the past summer as a Wisconsin Farmers Union staff member, working at the organizations summer camp and around the state at various events. With the other staff she help teach youth about WFU, cooperatives and other social issues.


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Matthew Epperson

Matthew Epperson is twenty-four years old, and grew up in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida. He is a child to two air force veterans, his mother a homemaker and his father retired from the US Postal Service. Matthew began as a working volunteer with the Daily Groceries Co-op in January 2010. He was elected to the DGC Board in March 2011 and then became the Member Coordinator in March 2012 and responsible for orientation of all new owner-members, including co-operative principles and history, owner-member events, community outreach, scheduling, training, and appreciation/retention. He is now enrolled in the Masters of Management – Co-ops and Credit Unions at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He expects to graduate in 2015, and hopes to continue pursuing professional cooperative development through his career.

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Joshua Sabik

Joshua first heard of co-operatives while studying political science at Purdue University, and began reading about them voraciously. After some research, he decided to relocate to Austin, Texas to be closer to cooperatives in various sectors. Joshua moved in to the 21st Street Cooperative, one of College Houses’ seven co-ops, and became a member of Wheatsville food co-op. During College Houses orientation, general administrator Alan Robinson invited Joshua to the Austin Co-op Think Tank retreat the next weekend. Later that autumn, Joshua was elected to ACTT’s steering committee. During that time, Joshua was also hired as College Houses’ advertising and marketing coordinator. He was later elected to College Houses board of directors, and leads the Committee to Save the Co-ops, a group organized to protect Austin’s housing co-ops from an unfair zoning proposal.

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Didas Mwachila Mzirai

Didas Mzirai is a youth leader who volunteers to provide social, political and economic empowerment to young people in Kenya.

He serves as the Board Secretary at the Taita Taveta County Youth Network Board and as the president of the Majengo & Mboha Youth Bunge, all in the Yes Youth Can! program, in Taita Taveta County, Kenya-East Africa.



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Caroline Savery

Caroline Savery is a co-operative business development practitioner with Keystone Development Center and an independent consultant in the Pittsburgh, PA region since September 2011.  Prior to this she was on the board of Free Ride! ( for six years, and taught bike mechanics to youth and adults for the last three years.  Inspired by her experiences with Consensus-style voluntary organizing, she traveled the U.S. in 2009 collecting interviews from over two dozen co-operatives and collectives for a zine to be called “Effective Collectives”.  She graduated with a B.A. in digital video production from Point Park University in 2008, and is currently heading a radical documentary project called The Sust Enable Project, dedicated to exploring, “what does sustainability really mean?”  (  Caroline loves constantly learning and practicing strategies for equitable organizing, more inclusive, better decision-making, and community empowerment and wealth-building.  Caroline spends her additional time teaching public workshops about co-operative organizing and sustainability, blogging, making music, gardening, and cooking.

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Brandon Bushnell

Brandon hails from Roanoke, VA where he has been an activist with many causes for years. An Occupier and former candidate for Roanoke’s city council, Brandon has advocated for the cooperative model of business as both a mechanism by which our country can bring democratic principles into the economic sphere as well as a means to stimulate the economy and to encourage sustainable growth. Brandon is a member of the US Federation of Worker-Owned Cooperatives, a proud member of his local Credit Union, an owner of his local grocery consumer co-op and the author of untold numbers of business plans for worker-owned co-ops in his very conservative region and is honored to receive the Cooperative Trust’s grant to join NCBA members in Seattle this year.

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Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy is events coordinator at the Riverwest Public House Cooperative, a co-op bar in Milwaukee, WI. He holds a BA in English and Political Science from DePaul University in Chicago where he wrote a senior thesis entitled “Cooperative Solutions: Grassroots Economic Democracy in the US and Abroad,” and has just begun work on an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. With others in Milwaukee’s cooperative circles, he is working on a “cooperative of cooperatives” which he hopes will serve as a model for other hyper-local cooperative development around the country. He quotes Arnold Schwarzenegger ad nauseam and dips toasted peanut butter and honey sandwiches in ketchup.

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Michelle Week

Michelle Week is an enthusiastic Co-op supporter, a love sprouting out of her need for local, organic foods. Graduating from The Evergreen State College in 2009 with a B.A. In Cultural Ecology and earning a certificate in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Oregon she looked no further than her local co-ops to help make a meaningful difference in her beloved community in Portland Oregon. She is currently serving on People’s Food Co-ops Board of Directors in Portland as well as hosting a Cooperative Economy Book Club. She’s an avid cyclist, commuting, racing cycle cross and occasionally co-leading Co-op bike tours. She’s been active in co-ops as a hands on owner and volunteer for the last three years. She’s attended as many cooperative events and reading as she can about co-ops of the past and current. An aspiring educator and spokes person for co-ops, Michelle hopes to reach more people through the support of Co-op 101 classes at People’s and hopefully through teaching community ed classes at the local community college. Michelle is also currently an active liaison between People’s Food Co-op, Co-Fed and area student food co-ops. She is also involved with the USA Co-op Youth committee, an “all-volunteer, youth-led committee seeking to foster greater youth engagement in the US and beyond.” She also has a soft spot for adorable bunnies.

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Stanley Yang

Stanley likes cats. A lot. He plans on growing up to be the crazy old cat guy. When he dies, they’ll eat his body.

But before that happens, to support his high-maintenance cats lifestyle, Stanley works at two co-ops. By day, he champions the credit union cause at Verity Credit Union, and by evenings and weekends, he helps members enjoy the outdoors at REI. However, many of the members of the co-ops aren’t even sure what co-ops are all about. This drives Stanley crazy.

Stanley’s also on the “Van Wilder” eight year track in college. Having obtained his brokerage licenses along with taking numerous accounting and finance classes, Stanley noticed they never mentioned anything about co-ops as a business model, or anything co-op at all. This drives Stanley crazy.

Stanley would love to get the word out about co-ops on campus, so the bright young entrepreneurs of tomorrow have yet another option at their disposal. One that will allow them to pool resources and help each other to design a robot to prevent Stanley’s cats from eating his body in the future.

Meanwhile, Stanley enjoys hanging out in the outdoors with his REI friends, snowboarding (broken vertebrae, broken ribs), surfing (broken nose), and playing volleyball (broken finger). He also enjoys hanging out inside at Verity Credit Union where he has yet to break anything.

Disclaimer: Stanley’s really not that crazy of a cat guy. He played it up for the sake of drama. Really. Not crazy at all. Meow.
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