Thank you for a great AGM Party!

We had a great time at our Annual General Meeting Party (AGM) and hope you did too. Thanks to all the members who participated by voting, giving feedback & volunteering for projects, and bringing food to pass. Thank you to all the candidates who who ran for the board of directors. Thank you to Steve Jerbi and Lisa Knapp who were sitting in as interim board members. Thanks to Lakefront Brewery for donating a keg of Riverwest Stein so our members could drink for free.  Thanks to the other neighborhood co-ops that presented. Lastly, a big thank you to our Workers Collective for all of your hard work last night and all year round.

The 2015 Board of Directors are:
Elena Pires
Eli Wolfe
Avery Edenfield
Peter Murphy
Kelly Todd
Gibson Caldwell
Seth Schuster
Erika Wolf
Carolina Soza

Read a little about the new and returning board members:

Gibson Caldwelllifetime member, current member of the RWPH Board of Directors and Workers’ Collective
My name is Gibson Caldwell. I love cooperatives. I currently serve on the boards of the Public House, Riverwest Co-op, and the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance. I was part of the Public House since its inception. I have extensive experience with and involvement in neighborhood cooperatives for over a decade.

What attracts you to run for the board?

What skills, talents, experiences, and qualities will you bring to the governance of the RWPH?
Over the years I have had the opportunity to serve in many capacities of the cooperative governance and management. I’ve been able to serve in every officer position at one point or another on co-op board of directors. I’ve been immersed in meeting procedures and consensus since youth.

What’s your favorite event attended / think about the RWPH?
Taco Tuesday Twerk Time

Carolina Sozamember
I am a person that dislikes labels, and talking about myself…but I will share with all of you that I am someone committed to social justice and the arts. It all started at an early age in Chile. Under the brutal dictatorship of Pinochet I learned the importance of promoting solidarity, fighting in social justice, and building community.

What attracts you to run for the board?
1)  I know the Public House is much more than a bar. I know this because I spend significant/quality time there, even though I do not drink alcohol. I looooove the Public House as it is, but I believe we can make it grow, make it more diverse, in all aspects. We are having great conversations at the Public House, but right now its community is too homogenous. We need to be what we say we are and create a place open and inviting to all.
2)  I want to learn more about coops, period. I am especially interested in learning about hybrid coops and social co-ops.
3)  I believe in Coops. I understand the overall situation we are in, and I know cooperatives is the way to go in order to build and alternative economy, and regained (or acquire) control of our lives/communities.

What skills, talents, experience and qualities will you bring to the governance of the RWPH?
I am a hard worker, unafraid of challenges, experienced organizer. I am a theater artist formally, with lots of creativity, and a case manager and restorative justice circle’s facilitator (conflict resolution), with tones of resources and contacts in the community. I think out of the box and I believe in Coops.

What’s your favorite event attended at/thing about the RWPH?
My favorites are Night School, and Blind Debates…..but I like to go any time….I have plotted, with my friends and comrades, many revolutions at the Public House, and I am planning to continue to do so. At the Public House I have presented, debated, fought the presenters, made banners for marches…uuufff……the Public House is part of my life.

Erika Wolf: lifetime member
I am a community organizer, peer educator, and public advocate on issues which affect my community – right here in 53212 and on a global scale – from police brutality and deportation to living wages and voting rights. As a Wisconsinite who organized in the occupied State Capitol, I believe that we all have the individual power and responsibility to take action and move this world from human wrongs to human rights. My identity as an anti-racist, feminist, and environmental justice warrior have shaped the person I’ve become, the people I hang out with, and the work that I do. I moved away from Riverwest in 2007 and returned in 2013 to find our beloved neighborhood as an exciting hub of cooperative economic activity. I’ve been a volunteer at all the neighborhood co-ops, and I enjoy a life filled with mutual aid and fun as a result of the relationships I’ve grown. I recently rode my bike from Wisconsin to New Orleans, and I’m proud to report I’ll be playing for the Seitan Phillies softball team this summer.

What attracts you to run for the board?
I paid money down on my lifetime membership the first time I visited the RWPH because the business is genius and the bar holds down some very important space in the neighborhood – both literally and figuratively. The Public House has become a crucial hub for public dialogue and community building, and with the activity of Co-op Fest and the RW24 sign-up in Garden Park, not to mention Locust St Fest, I think that this little-bar-that-could is well-positioned to be a leader among small businesses and entrepreneurs citywide in how to show concern for community while running a neat balance sheet.

Beyond my support for the health of this business, I strongly believe in the RCA principles, and two of them in particular stand out as reasons why I want to be on the RWPH board: stakeholder sovereignty and subordinated nature of capital. To me, these principles reflect the need for us each to step up to transform our community and to do so without seeking personal financial gain but to see the cashflow as a means to achieve this transformation. If we neighbors don’t use our voices to shape how businesses like the Public House operate, how can we expect them to truly give back to our neighborhood?

I’m tickled with joy at the prospect of going to work on the Riverwest Public House board because I see myself as a member of this community who wants to see the propagation of more cooperative businesses. The Public House was set up as a means to build more co-ops and broaden the community educated and involved in them, and I’m ready to take my turn behind the scenes, rolling up my sleeves to do the (sometimes thankless) work of shaping this bar as a tool for neighborhood transformation.

What skills, talents, experience, and qualities will you bring to the governance of the RWPH?
For more than 10 years, I’ve spent most of my time as an organizer, earning all the standard merit badges (like event planning, meeting facilitation, campaign research and implementation, hiring/training/firing staff, press outreach, lobbying, etc.), but I’ve also done my time in retail and working on farms. From being the manager of a couple tourist shops, running a farmers’ market stand, and managing product inventory to keep regular customers stocked and satisfied, I’ve had some experience in many angles of running a business. My work in these varied industries, my training and practice working for the public, as well as my do-er mentality have set me up to be a useful team member on the board. I am always looking to collaborate with a multicultural and intergenerational group of people who share my values and a dedication to see their commitments through to completion.

I have sat on the board for Citizen Action of Wisconsin for over 2 years and have sat on other organizational boards previously. As a staff member at the UW student union, I led our staff and leadership through a capacity assessment and strategic planning process in order to understand how to make benchmark goals to grow our ability to affect change and impact students statewide. At my current job building a new park in Harambee, I write project plans and grants, run logistics for programming and community outreach, and work with a couple others to co-produce on a budget with 6-figures. I believe these experiences and my infectious positive attitude allow me to adapt to the needs of the co-operative as we continue to grow and change.

Favorite event attended at/thing about the RWPH?
Burlesque + Drag show with FREE rapid HIV testing?! Before Taco (LGB)Tuesdays, I wouldn’t have imagined so many spectacular things in one safe space!

However, I did have a rip-roarin’ good time watching the Bill Nye/Ken Hamm debate: the bar was packed, people were paying attention to action, and though the subject matter was heavy, it was about the arguments and not about trashing anyone personally.

Elena Pires: lifetime member, current member of the RWPH Board of Directors
I have served on the Public House Board of Directors since the beginning. I also worked at the Public House as a cleaner, door person, and barback until 2013.

What attracts you to run for the board?
In my time on the board I have enjoyed learning details about running a bar, cooperative business structures, and many other things. I am always impressed with the energy and hope I see from Public House workers, directors, and members and look forward to staying involved into the future.

What skills, talents, experience and qualities will you bring to the governance of the RWPH?
I have served on this board since the Public House was incorporated so have seen firsthand the development and changes of the past three years, and have an understanding of both the day-to-day and long term functioning of the cooperative. I communicate effectively and think I have developed good working relationships with workers and board members.

Favorite event attended at/thing about the RWPH?
It is hard to choose a favorite; what’s on my mind currently is Locust Street Fest. Every year we see the entire neighborhood come out and have fun together, though by the end of the day we’re exhausted. Locust Street Fest is one of our biggest days of the year, is the day I consider the official start of Milwaukee summertime, and is overall a really good time.



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