The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

September 26, 2007 14:53 ET

Hands-On Approach Works for Youth Leadership Award Recipient

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - At 30 years of age, Graeme Hussey has already carved out a unique niche in Ontario's co-operative movement as a manager, developer and booster. On October 17th, his skills, passion and commitment to the co-op business model will be recognized when Graeme is presented with the Ontario Co-operative Association's Youth Leadership Award.

Graeme Hussey has spent the last five years of his life immersed in the co-operative sector. Graeme describes himself as "a firm believer in the power of values-based enterprises to drive social change." For the past two years, he has been the board chair at Ontario Natural Food Co-op (ONFC), a distributor of natural and organic food products, motivating the board and management of the organization with his passion towards local food security. Until recently, Graeme was the general manager of Karma Food Co-op, Toronto's only consumer-owned retail grocery store, overseeing a staff of 12 and generating $1.7 million in annual sales.

Brian Iler, legal counsel to many Ontario co-operatives is impressed with Hussey's participation and commitment saying, "Graeme's involvement has provided new momentum to Karma and the ONFC, particularly with regards to promoting sustainable business practises and long term planning."

Graeme has moved on to his next project - leading a group of Toronto residents to develop The West End Food Co-operative, a consumer co-op that will provide local, fair trade and organic goods. He is helping them focus their passion for a sustainable local enterprise. He's guiding them through the co-op development cycle and, in the process, is attracting young people to the co-op business model.

Encouraging young people to become involved in the co-operative sector comes easily to Graeme Hussey. His energy and entrepreneurship naturally attract them to his beliefs in social justice and sustainable business practises.

Graeme Hussey, of Toronto Ontario, will be presented with his Co-operative Youth Leadership Spirit Award on Wednesday October 17 during the 9th annual Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards banquet and ceremony. The awards ceremony, the crowning jewel of the Co-operative Conference and Gala, takes place at the Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West in Burlington ON. Graeme was nominated for the Youth Leadership Award by ONFC, saying in part that he "is helping to bring about a renewed energy about co-operatives amongst a young demographic that may be new to the co-op business model."

The Co-operative Conference and Gala, now in its 7th year, is a two-day event that brings together co-op sector supporters, champions and friends from across Ontario and beyond for professional development, meetings and networking. The conference includes tours of Hamilton-area co-ops and more than a dozen workshops and sessions. This October, the Spirit Recognition Award banquet, a tradition in the Ontario co-operative sector for almost a decade, will celebrate the successes of 10 of Ontario's most distinguished co-operators - including Graeme Hussey.

The Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op), host of the Co-op Conference and Gala, and the Co-operative Spirit Recognition Awards ceremony, is a resource and common voice for Ontario credit unions and co-operatives in the areas of co-operative development, government relations, membership and communications, and lifelong co-operative learning.

Contact Information