Community as an Economic Engine (Laird Schaub & Terry O'Keefe)

Presented by Laird Schaub & Terry O'Keefe

Session Description

In most communities the group confines its economic attention to making sure that members pay their HOA dues and there’s enough money in the budget. It could play a more dynamic role. In this workshop we’ll explore how communities could actively partner with residents to help them make money and improve the quality of their lives at the same time. While this is not an obligation, it is an opportunity. Community assets are often idle (think how frequently the lights are out at the common house), communities have certain market advantages that are not being developed (such as a pool of people with high communication skills eager for part-time work with flexible hours), and the community could encourage entrepreneurs among the membership to create jobs for the non-entrepreneurs. Economics is the poor stepchild of sustainability. Let’s change that!

About the Presenters

Laird Schaub lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing community he helped found in 1974. In addition, he served as the main administrator of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, a network organization he helped create, for the period 1987-2015. In addition to being an author and public speaker about various aspects of community, he's become an expert on cooperative group dynamics and has parlayed his passion for effective process into a consulting business. Over the last 30 years he's worked with more than 100 different groups—including 61 cohousing groups—many of them multiple times. His specialty is up-tempo meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict, and at the same time being ruthless about about capturing as much product as possible. In 2003, he pioneered a two-year training in Integrative Facilitation that he's delivered 11 times across the continent.

Terry O'Keefe is a North Carolina-based business writer and consultant. He is also the cofounder (with Laird Schaub) of C–Biz, a project that seeks to build stronger economies for intentional communities and cohousing groups. Terry brings almost 50 years of business experience to this project, including almost three decades of experience in high-tech marketing; several successful entrepreneurial ventures; and leadership of one of the West Coast's first green business networking organizations. He is also a popular business writer and speaker, and was a business columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times. Terry is also a former communitarian and a past member of the board of the Fellowship for Intentional Community.