The Chair of the First Ownership Co-op
Vanessa's involvement with the co-op sector started when she was a farm child in Ireland, wanting to earn pocket money by selling eggs. Over many decades she has helped to develop and strengthen co-ops in the consumer, farming, production and health co-op sectors in over 30 countries. She has worked on drafting and updating co-op legislation in several countries, and the development of co-op federations. Her aim is to raise the profile of the sector and simplify the process of co-op development so that the co-op option is the first thought for community-focused entrepreneurs in Canada and around the world. Vanessa is the Chair of the First Ownership Co-op which encourages entrepreneurs to choose the co-op option for their first business venture, to succeed and spread the word. She is Chair of the Victoria Health Co-op which serves its 600 members and over 7,400 patients. She is Chair of the Health Care Co-op Federation of Canada and serves on the Board of the International Health Co-op Organization. Vanessa was educated in Asia, Ireland, England, Canada and Wales, and by every co-op with which she has worked.