Washington, D.C.—Howard Brodsky was the keynote speaker at a gathering of the nation’s top cooperative leaders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., May 3. Brodsky addressed more than 150 executives from multiple industries at the 2017 National Cooperative Issues Forum.
His keynote, “Lead With Our Co-Op Identity,” focused on helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses by providing the scale, resources and innovations needed for small businesses to compete against large-scale corporations that often dominate the business landscape. Brodsky’s speech offered cooperative business strategies that provide small and family businesses a lifeline for success in an increasingly competitive global economy.
“Consumer confidence in corporations has been shaken to the core thanks to the endless stream of stories like the Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and Mylan scandals,” Brodsky said following his keynote address. “Certainly, to succeed, any business needs to be profitable—but not at the expense of its stakeholders and its customers. Cooperatives are democratically run businesses whose members are its owners. That’s one of the key differentiators between publicly held corporations and cooperatives. Simply stated, cooperatives exist to serve the needs of people rather than maximize profits. When you put people’s needs first, the profits will always follow.”
With a spotlight on cooperative power, Brodsky’s speech focused on the co-op business model as a disruptor, differentiator and change agent in the way companies do business. Brodsky shared success stories on ways to leverage the co-op advantage, and outlined the Seven Key Principals for cooperation among cooperatives—voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member’s economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.
“Cooperatives truly are the better business model,” Brodsky said. “I have dedicated my life to spreading that message. Cooperatives have been the key to my success for many decades and I want it to work for millions of others and the good of their businesses.”
Brodsky and his colleague Alan Greenberg founded CCA Global Partners in 1984, establishing it as a cooperative, and launching Carpet One Floor & Home as its first business.