Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism and director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Jensen joined the UT faculty in 1992 after completing his Ph.D. in media ethics and law in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics. Jensen is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen is also a founding member of Third Coast Activist Resource Center and a longtime activist in movements for economic, racial, and gender justice.
Ricardo has been a lifelong cooperator since moving into College Houses cooperatives as a college freshman in 1986. He helped restart one one College Houses’ co-ops twice, serving as director of the house the second time and board of directors representative the first time. He went on to serve a 3-year term on the College Houses board as a Community Board Representative after finishing college, where he served as VP of the board. Near the end of that term the College Houses board nominated him to serve on the board of North American Students for Cooperation (NASCO), where he went on to serve two 3-year terms including stints as VP and Treasurer as well as serving on NASCO’s other NASCO Properties and NASCO Development Services boards during that time. Ricardo is also the former Social Media Director of the Austin chapter of the American Marketing Association, the former Chair and a continuing ambassador of the Social Media Ambassadors program of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, worked at one point for a cooperative fair trade organization Pueblo to People, did radio shows at KOOP radio, and is a current member of Wheatsville Food Co-op, Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery, as well as University Federal Credit Union, and a founding member of the Austin Cooperative Think Tank. Ricardo joined the Board of Cooperation Texas in July 2011.
Dana Curtis is a native Texan and one of the founding members of the Workers’ Assembly at Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery where she began working in January of 2010, overseeing the membership and investment campaign which brought the Co-op from a dream to reality. Currently she is on the Business Team and serves on Black Star’s Board of Directors. Dana attended the University of Texas at Dallas where she studied Literature and Philosophy and attended graduate school at Texas Women’s University. She taught undergraduate Women’s Studies at Texas Woman’s University before leaving academia to join the labor movement as a union organizer. Dana has committed her life to social justice and strongly believes in the transformative power of the cooperative model.
Anika recently moved to Austin in May of 2012 to join the team at Public Works as a Program Associate. In this role, Anika is responsible for conducting trainings, reaching out to new potential allies and working with state and national partners as they strive to build support for an effective public sector that is dedicated to equitable opportunities for all Americans. Prior to joining Public Works, Anika was part of the inaugural class of State Policy Fellows with the D.C. based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities under the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative. She was placed with the Michigan League for Public Policy in Lansing, Michigan, for a two-year fellowship committed to expanding diverse voices in state policy debates. During her time with the League, Anika became their first lead policy analyst on racial equity, immigration and the corrections budget. Anika has her Master of Social work emphasizing in social policy from the University of Michigan. While in graduate school, Anika was a resident and member of the Black Elk student housing cooperative where she was nominated to serve on the board for North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) where she served a three year term from 2009-2012. During her time on the board she was the co-chair of the inclusion committee and led several workshops on non-violent communication at the annual NASCO Institute. Anika has also served on the board for the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, Michigan chapter as their Public Policy Chair, and is a current member of the Wheatsville Food Co-op and the University of Michigan Credit Union.
D’Ann has more than two decades of legal experience in the areas of nonprofit management, banking policy, and the development of legal resources and training programs, and is a longstanding advocate for cooperatives. She currently serves as the Legal Services Director for Texas C-BAR, an organization that provides free legal services to Texas nonprofits working to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods. An honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, D’Ann’s prior work experience includes serving as legal counsel to state and local governmental entities and a nonprofit membership association of attorneys. She is a graduate of Leadership America, a Friar, and a founding board member of a pro bono legal program for immigrants. D’Ann is also responsible for coordinating C-BAR’s work with community-based nonprofits in rural communities.
Prior to joining Tribe Creative Agency — a local, democratically run advertising agency — Christie ran her own graphic and web design studio in both New York and Austin, working for clients ranging from small businesses to large corporations. In addition to this 2D foundation, Christie is well versed in 3D arts of environmental design, creating everything from interior graphics to innovative wallcovering products and installations. She also does work with non-profit organizations that are focused on developing a sustainable future such as Austin Green Art, Project H and Sol Design Lab. Christie has a BFA in Graphic Communications from New York University, and an MFA in Design from the University of Texas.
Cathy Ruiz is a graduate of Cooperation Texas’ start-up course through the Cooperative Business Institute (CBI). Her introduction to worker-owned cooperatives came while watching Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, which inspired Cathy to realize a long held vision to operate her own vegan bakery business. Following a year of planning and completion of the CBI course, the dream became reality and Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery began production in May 2011. Cathy’s prior experience includes certification from the University of Texas’ Legal Assistant Program and five years of legal experience. Cathy also earned a Pastry Arts Diploma from the Culinary Academy of Austin and spent four years working in various pastry production roles at a large-scale commercial bakery, gaining production experience in preparation for starting her own business. Prior to moving to Texas in 1998, Cathy earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology at Essex University, UK. She now lives in Austin with her husband, 3 cats and a dog.
Ricardo moved to Austin, TX in 2007. He currently serves as a manager for a global patient navigation program called Health Network at the Migrant Clinicians Network. His professional interests have been in healthcare relating to migrant populations and other marginalized communities. Ricardo has conducted Promotora training workshops across the U.S. designed to promote community involvement in health issues and patient advocacy. He is also a volunteer for the Care Communities, a local non-profit providing assistance with patients battling Cancer and /or HIV/AIDS. Ricardo also played an active role in the launching of FarMax, a start-up pharmacy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. His background in Business Management and Marketing, along with his interest in sustainable business practices, led him to volunteer in Cooperation Texas’ Cooperative Business Institute (CBI). In 2012 he was able to be part of the launch of the first worker-owned green cleaning cooperative in Austin, TX called Dahlia Green Cleaning Services.