Founder and Executive Director
Felipe believes purchasing can be a force multiplier for change. He focuses on building the capacity, culture, and leadership of the organization to create new vehicles for collaboration and action. He loves facilitating group meetings and organizing new programs for peer learning and more strategic sourcing.
Prior to CPA, Felipe directed a multi-family energy efficiency initiative at Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF). From 2010 to 2012, Felipe worked as the Lead Organizer for Energy and Partnerships at Groundswell. During this time he collaborated with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility and partnered with Metro IAF to design and organize an innovative community energy program that mobilized $5 million in clean energy. Felipe developed his expertise in energy markets as a researcher and consultant on the Climate Change and Clean Energy Team at IHS Markit (formerly Cambridge Energy Research Associates). Felipe holds a bachelor’s degree in Energy Studies and Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
DC Regional Director
Barleh "Jessica" Johnson manages the group purchasing and strategic sourcing of the cooperative's 75 member community institutions in the Washington DC region. Jessica has 13 years of management, sales, and contracting experience working in the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors. Most recently Jessica led a team at Education Data Systems, Inc. where she assisted with the procurement of $2 million in annual contracts. She also managed and oversaw the daily operations of the TANF program that enrolled over 1,500 program participants each year. Jessica's focus at CPA co-op is growing our membership in the MD-DC-VA metro region and building new programs to meet the needs of members. Jessica holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and International Studies from Elmira College in NY and Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.
CO-Founder CPA Durham
Merald is a passionate and dedicated advocate for economic empowerment and social justice within several North Carolina communities and business sectors. He has over 20 years of experience holding senior management roles in retail operations, staff development, non-profit management, community development, and diversity and inclusion practices, including 10 years directing internal support and external member services at Self-Help, a mission-oriented CDFI headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Dedicated to building and supporting minority ecosystems of business enterprise, he serves on the board of directors for the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce, an advisory board member for the Business Administration department at Durham Technical Community College, and is the founder of The Rockingham Champions For Education (www.rockchamps.org), a non-profit organization in rural North Carolina dedicated to providing support to underserved communities for career pathway exploration, workforce development, business networking, financial education, and community organizing.
Formally educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill, Merald holds a B.A. in both American Studies and Communications.
Senior Communications Associate
Lauren manages CPA's communications. She loves telling CPA members stories through photography and video. (You can follow her work on YouTube here). Prior to joining the CPA team, Lauren worked for Duke University where she focused on continuing education programs for religious leaders and alumni of Duke Divinity School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Religion from Truman State University and a master’s degree from Duke Divinity School in Theological Studies.
Director of Finance and Operations
Boris Sigal works to make sure CPA has the capacity to provide a great experience for member institutions and vendors alike. That includes building out operational systems to accommodate an increasing number of customers and service offerings, benchmarks that maintain financial strength, and strategies to continue to grow cooperative purchasing and social impact opportunities.
Prior to CPA, Boris was the Director of Business Development at New Haven Works, where he focused on building closer relationships with the regional business community and aligning local hiring opportunities with large employers like Yale University and Yale-New Haven Health. Before coming to New Haven in 2012, he served as the Director of Finance and Operations at Groundswell, a not-for-profit social enterprise in Washington DC. There he oversaw financial, legal, human resources, and IT, and worked on procuring and managing service contracts with local, state, and federal government, businesses, and community institutions.
Boris holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan.
Amy White Abbott
“Justice is never given; it is exacted and the struggle must be continuous for freedom is never a final fact.” -A. Philip Randolph
Prior to CPA Amy was a community organizer in Northern Virginia where she taught citizens how to build power in order to change their communities. Amy helped hundreds of people organize around preschool access and won over 800 new slots of pre-k for low-income children. Amy grew up in rural Ohio and is the product of both the immigrant and the American dream. Her grandparents came to the United States from Italy seeking a better life for themselves and their family. Because of this, Amy feels a deep responsibility to make systemic changes and seeks to address issues of inequality, racism and poverty with others who want a more just society.
At Catholic Charities, Amy built successful and diverse teams as the Director of Transitional Housing tackling difficult issues of homelessness, poverty and mental health. She has 11 years of experience in non-profit management and particularly enjoys recruiting, mentoring and training volunteers. Amy serves on the Board of Directors for BEACON, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of immigrants. She holds a B.A. degree from the Ohio State University and an Executive Certification in Non-Profit Leadership from the Center for Social Leadership. Amy sees CPA as a vehicle that allows institutions to align their purchasing power with their values in order to have a more just, equitable and sustainable society and is excited to be part of the team.
Director of Solar Programs
With a career dedicated to the sustainability and solar energy fields for over 10 years, Joe has played key roles in the project development and management of nearly 8 MW of PV installations. In 2007, Joe was a co-founder of FUSE, a nonprofit organization that engaged faith communities in education and advocacy for renewable energy. In 2010, he was a founding member of BAM Energy Group, a solar installation startup firm which he helped lead to successful contracts with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from New College of Florida.
Our Board of Directors
Paul became the Executive Director of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council in February 2012. Prior to joining OCDC, Paul was CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association. Under Paul’s leadership, NCBA’s cooperative development portfolio grew from $8 million to over $30 million annually. During his 25-year tenure with the organization, he held key positions, including chief operating officer, vice president of public policy, vice president of member services and director of consumer cooperatives. Paul is the one of the founders of DotCoop, the top-level domain for cooperatives around the world. In demand for his cooperative expertise, Paul speaks frequently at national and international forums on the role of cooperatives in community and economic development. In 2001, he was named CEO Communicator of the Year by the Cooperative Communicators Association. Paul serves on the Finance Committee for Foundry UMC and also the Finance Council for the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodust Church A native of Wauzeka, a rural community in western Wisconsin, Paul holds a B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Wisconsin.
Ellen has been serving Temple Sinai as its executive director since 2008. Ellen’s previous professional experiences include running facilities and programs for Jewish and healthcare organizations meeting the needs of seniors in the Washington area. Ellen attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, and returned there to pursue a master’s degree from the School of Public Health. As executive director, Ellen has responsibility for the temple’s administrative activities ranging from financial matters to staffing, coordinating logistics for the busy congregation, and taking care of the temple building.
Troy has more than 10 years of finance and executive leadership in one of DC’s most vibrant congregations: Emory Fellowship. She oversees the operations at Emory, including the finance committee, which she chaired for several years. Troyann also brings more than 20 years of experience in health care administration.
Irma serves as the Deputy Director for Operations at the Center for Community Change. A leading national social change organization whose mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better. Irma has more than a decade of organizing experience working on immigration reform and voter engagement campaigns. Over the past two years Irma has shifted form issue campaigns to working on facilities and operations. She is excited that CPA provides a community and a platform to develop the leadership of operations staff. And… as she loves to tell folks, “The savings are also great!”
Ms. Fuller is the COO at Friendship Public Charter School. Prior to her current role as COO, Ms. Fuller served as CFO at Chavez Schools and in a number of roles at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) including Program Manager of the Direct Loan and Credit Enhancement Program, Fiscal Officer for the Race to the Top Grant, Fiscal Director of the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, and most recently as Director of the Office of Public Charter School Financing and Support. She was a Vice President at both BB&T and Citibank as a commercial lender primarily serving the non-profit sector before her transition into education. Ms. Fuller earned her B.A. in Economics at Spelman College and her MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School (UNC) with a concentration in Sustainable Enterprise. Passionate about the environment, Ms. Fuller spends her free time outdoors as much as possible with her husband and children.
Martin Paul Trimble
Martin is the Supervising Organizer for Metro IAF and it's local affiliates in DC, Virginia, and North Carolina. Martin has been pioneering Metro IAF's earned-income strategies to provide a long-term sustainable funding stream for community organizing for the past 10 years. Martin has expertise in affordable housing and real-estate development, community finance, and earned-income strategies for organizing. He was instrumental in the creation of the Opportunity Finance Network. Martin has organized with the Industrial Areas Foundation for 25+ years in Philadelphia, PA, Wilmington, DE, Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.
Maria Teresa Gaston
Maria Teresa Gastón is the managing director of Foundations of Christian Leadership(link is external). Originally from Havana, Cuba, Maria Teresa is an organizational psychologist with rich experience training and coaching innovative leaders in educational, faith, corporate and community settings. She enjoys researching, designing, and facilitating group processes for collaborative discernment and decision-making. Other research and practice interests include career development, motivation, organizational mission morality and engagement, organizational creativity, teambuilding, program evaluation and immigrant integration. Her formal education includes a master’s in Hispanic/Latino theology and ministry from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, and a master's and Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Rosemary Mahoney is the former CEO of CoMetrics. Prior to joining CoMetrics, Rosemary worked as a consultant on international cooperative development projects and cooperative business development projects in the United States. She was a founding partner of MainStreet Cooperative Group, LLC., director of New Venture Development for Cooperative Solutions, LLC., executive director of Cooperative Development Services (CDS) and Regional Director for Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. At present, Rosemary serves on the boards of directors of the National Cooperative Business Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association Development Cooperative, Thanexus, Inc., dotCooperative LLC, The Cooperative Foundation and NCB Capital Impact. Rosemary formerly served on the boards of directors of NCB (formerly known as the National Cooperative Bank), Cooperative Development Institute and CooperationWorks.
Institute of Local Self-Reliance
Neil Seldman is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) where he provides technical assistance to cities, community groups and businesses in the field of sustainable resource management. ILSR’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development. Since 1974, ILSR has championed social equity and building local self-reliance, a strategy that underscores the need for humanly scaled institutions and economies and the widest possible distribution of ownership. Dr. Seldman has pioneered developments in processing, building deconstruction and small scale manufacturing from recycled materials. He is a founding member of the National Recycling Coalition at the First National Recycling Congress and the Grass Roots Recycling Network. He is known as grassroots organizer who, “shows communities how to fight against and how to fight for the sustainable solution to solid waste and economic problems.” Dr. Seldman was a manufacturer in New York City and a university lecturer in political science before co-founding the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.