Lynn Benander


President and CEO, Co-op Power

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Lynn Benander has worked since 1996 to develop sustainable energy resources in the Northeast based on a community-ownership model.  She has worked with membership groups in New England and New York representing more than two million people, interested in building affordable sustainable energy resources. As Manager of Co-op Power, she has supported the development of five solar installation businesses, Energia - a multi-family/commercial building energy services company in Holyoke MA.  She has also supported the  development of affordable, sustainable energy products and services for Co-op Power's members and supporters.  In the future, this cooperative will go on to partner with communities around the Northeast to build solar, wind, alternative fuel and other community owned sustainable energy resources in the region. Co-op Power currently provides a wide range of energy products and services, including discounts on conservation and efficiency services, solar hot water and solar electric installations,  heating oil, and a wide range of other products and services.

Previously, as President and CEO of the Cooperative Development Institute and the Northeast Federation of Cooperatives, Ms. Benander provided consulting and interim management services to dozens of cooperative development projects each year.  She has a passion for building member owned and controlled businesses that strengthen local economies.  She has supported the development of consumer, producer, and worker-owned cooperatives in the region, primarily in energy, agriculture, and food-related businesses.  Working together with a strong staff, Ms. Benander raised more than $30 million in development grants, equity and financing for new business development and provided strategic planning and technical assistance support to hundreds of cooperative development projects in the Northeast.

Ms. Benander has lead the development of national cooperative education and training programs – Marketing Our Cooperative Advantage, Effective Board Leadership, Making Cooperative Membership Meaningful, and A Technical Course on Cooperative Development for people interested in starting a cooperative.  Ms. Benander developed and ran a national professional development certificate training program for cooperative development centers in the US for four years.  She worked with a team of volunteers to develop web resources for building consensus and making decisions within membership groups.  She has developed and facilitated several online communities and taught classes in online facilitation.

Ms. Benander ran a successful consulting business providing strategic planning, education program design, and business planning support to schools, non-profits and cooperatives for five years.

Previously, Ms. Benander taught Mathematics at Greenfield Community College and taught Professional Development Courses for Teachers of Mathematics through Mount Holyoke and North Adams.  She has completed a year of graduate study in Mathematics and holds a Masters in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

Ms. Benander has served on numerous cooperative and community boards and on her town’s school committee and finance committee. She is Chair of the Energia board of directors and of the Northeast Biodiesel board. She's a member of the Pioneer Valley Clean Energy Collaborative and a member of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network Steering Committee.

She lives in Shelburne Falls, MA.  She loves gardening, dancing, and making music with lots of friends and family.