Call for Proposals – CCMA 2018

May 31-June 2, Portland, OR
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Call for Proposals for CCMA 2018

CCMA 2018 will take place May 31 – June 2, 2018 in Portland, OR. 

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives is seeking proposals for break-out sessions through February 7, 2018. Please read this Call for Proposals carefully before submitting. We look forward to seeing your proposals!  

2018 THEME:

Courageous Evolution: Strategies for Strong Co-ops and Communities

The grocery industry is changing at a dizzying pace. Between Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the invasion of the Lidls and the Aldis, and the adoption of e-commerce, it is hard to keep up. Food co-ops are striving for relevance in an increasingly crowded market. It takes courage to evolve and address the imminent change that is upon us. Our co-ops are a vehicle to achieve democratic communities that build capital, good jobs, farmers, and healthy food access. We must identify the communities that feel excluded from our co-ops and better serve and proactively reach out to embrace new communities and new technologies, while deepening our connection with our members and vendors and preserving our cooperative identity.

Throughout history, cooperatives across sectors have served as pioneers of change, pooling resources, organizing for their collective good. We, as food co-ops, continue that legacy in our communities, by expanding access to healthy food, by supporting fair treatment of our employees and farmers, and by fostering democracy and wealth-building in our communities. Our cooperative difference is an opportunity to reach out and engage new and diverse communities, address issues of injustice and racism, food security and access. Our role as change agent is even more important in this time of upheaval in our communities and our country as a whole. We must invest in our leaders and train new leaders, and have the courage and perseverance for sustainable and equitable change in our communities. 


CCMA is an annual three-day gathering of 350-450 food cooperative leaders, including management, staff and, board members of food cooperatives. 


Each breakout session is part of a Track. Breakout sessions are 90 minutes in length and can be delivered in the format of your choice: panel, lecture, or interactive workshop.


CCMA 2018 will feature six topic tracks:

Track 1: Courageous Governance: developing a strong board culture, investment in board development, board self-evaluation, strategic planning, board succession planning, resilient board-management relationships.

Track 2: Be the Best Grocer: pricing strategies, sales, customer service improvement, product mix, merchandising, intentional sourcing, food safety, creating efficiencies, implementing financial improvements, and investment strategies.

Track 3: Building from Within: investment in staff development, living wage, succession planning, improving staff communications, staff recruitment and retention, unions, how to remove bias from recruitment, development of a strong workplace culture.

Track 4: Our Diversity is Our Strength: breaking down barriers to co-op membership, increasing access to healthy food, strategies for reaching out to diverse communities, creating a culture of equity, committing to diverse leadership.

Track 5: Cooperate to Innovate: Strategies to Compete: online ordering, click & connect, meal delivery services, food traceability, strategic partnerships, technology, innovations and tools for driving growth, sustainability, etc.

Track 6: Outreach and Owner Engagement: Engagement strategies, loyalty programs, making ownership relevant, communicating the cooperative difference, owner education and communication, building a strong board, etc.*Preference to be given to Co-op Case Studies – We encourage co-ops to share their lessons learned, challenges, failures, and solutions with their peers.


All proposals for CCMA 2018 must be submitted electronically via email to Megan Webster at [email protected]

Proposals are due by 11:59 pm central time on February 7, 2018. 

Session Proposal Guidelines:

  1. Session title and description (300-500 words)
  2. Target audience (board members, co-op staff, managers, etc.)
  3. Three active learning outcomes that the attendee can expect to take away from the presentation and apply to their co-op or job/role
  4. Session format (e.g., lecture, panel, interactive workshop)
  5. Name, title, organization, email, phone number, and mailing address for all presenter
  6. If a panel, contact information for each proposed panelist

If selected, your name, photo, biography, presentation title, session description and learning objectives will be made available on the CCMA conference website. Conference attendees will receive your presentation in PDF format via a link to DropBox and/or be made available on the Cooperative Grocer Information Network website.


To ensure full and fair consideration, proposals will be evaluated and selected by the CCMA Planning Committee according to criteria that include:

  • Relevance – directly addresses the conference theme and selected topic track.
  • Clarity – offers a clear description of the proposed session and learning objectives.
  • Innovation – displays innovations or originality.
  • Application – participants will be able to learn practical tools or lessons.
  • Format – co-op case studies and interactive workshops will be given preference.
  • Program balance – the conference planning committee strives to create a balanced program covering a wide range of topics with diverse presenters.

Participation as a presenter in CCMA 2018 is voluntary. In recognition of a presenter’s contribution of time and effort, selected presentations will be given complimentary conference admission for up to three (3) presenters per session. Each presenter remains responsible for his or her own expenses (travel, lodging, etc.).

Applicants will be notified of selection decisions no later than March 15, 2018.


  • January 3, 2018: Call for proposals opens
  • February 7, 2018: Proposals are due. All proposals must be submitted electronically.
  • March 15, 2018: UWCC will notify all applicants of their application status via email.


Please contact Megan Webster, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 608-890-1048.

We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Megan Webster

University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

427 Lorch Street

Madison, WI 53706-1503

Phone: 608-262-8966

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