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Employment and Jobs

Five Big Ideas for Employee Ownership


Join us as we wrap up the forum by hearing from five leaders about their big idea for advancing employee ownership.


Christine Curella

Former Deputy Mayor, New York City

Christine Curella is a consultant and entrepreneur working to advance policy, business, and investment models that build community and worker power. Christine advises policymakers on community investment initiatives and is building Organizing Money, a cooperative venture to organize and leverage the financial power of labor unions, workers, and communities. Formerly, as senior policy advisor to the deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives in New York City, Christine designed and operationalized policies and programs to accelerate minority-, worker-, and community-owned enterprises, scale inclusive financial technology to address predatory lending, and forge cooperative strategies to improve job quality.

Christine has worked for over 15 years in international financial institutions, federal and local government, and community-based organizations to drive economic development that realizes shared prosperity. Christine led economic inclusion projects at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the New York City Economic Development Corporation in the de Blasio Administration, coordinated strategic planning for the US Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama Administration, and consulted for the World Bank Inspection Panel. She is a graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York, where she was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and she received her master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s inaugural Job Quality Fellowship and of the Just Economy Institute and is a board member of the Democracy at Work Institute, a national organization that advances worker cooperative development.

Evan Edwards

Chief Executive Officer, Project Equity

Evan began his career as the International Business Manager at an early leading technology start-up, Quarterdeck Corporation. Bitten by the start-up bug, he spent following years in leadership and consulting roles at a variety of early stage enterprises including (Northcore Technologies), Mediaseek Technology and Planesia Corp. Guided by a shift in personal and professional priorities Evan moved into the non-profit sector as Executive Director at YMCA Corporation of Los Angeles, leading the turnaround of an under-performing business unit. 

Driven by the value of social enterprises and the vision of a generative economy, Evan’s work with Project Equity creates strong collaborative partnerships across sectors. Evan is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (a proud supporter of Wildcat football!), and has certification from Stelter in Professional Fundraising Management. When not working he’s playing sports, walking his dogs or cooking a great meal from scratch.

Chris Griswold

Policy Director, American Compass

Chris Griswold is the policy director at American Compass. He was previously a senior advisor in the US Senate. Griswold regularly writes for publications such as The New York Times, National Affairs, National Review, Newsweek, The Hill, and American Affairs, and he is a frequent speaker on public policy, including testifying before Congress. 

He has served as senior staff in the US House of Representatives, was a council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi International Affairs fellow at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo, and prior to his career in public policy helped launch a nationwide youth development nonprofit in South Africa. He is a graduate of Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Wilma Liebman

Former National Labor Relations Board Chair,
Senior Fellow, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

President Obama named Wilma Liebman to be chair of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2009. She served as chair until August 27, 2011, when her third term expired. Since then, she has been engaged in various advisory roles and consulting projects and has taught at several universities, including New York University Law School and the George Washington University Law School. Appointed in March 2020, she served as chief external ethics officer for the United Auto Workers union for three years.

Liebman was first appointed to be a member of the NLRB by President Clinton and was twice reappointed by President George W. Bush. Earlier, she served as deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Prior to joining FMCS in January 1994, she held positions as labor counsel for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, and legal counsel to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  

Liebman is a recent past president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association. From 2012 to 2023, she was a member of the board of directors of the Economic Policy Institute. Since 2013, she has served as chair of the Dunlop Commission on Agricultural Labor, a private dispute resolution body. Since 2022, she has served as a member of the board of directors and the Labor Advocates Leadership Council of the newly launched Ownership Works, a nonprofit organization created to promote employee ownership through private equity. She is a past senior fellow of the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations. She has authored publications on a variety of labor law and policy issues. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College and a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School.


Jason Wiener

Member, Colorado Employee Ownership Commission,
Executive Fellow, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

Jason Wiener is the principal of the boutique law and business consulting practice Jason Wiener|p.c. and co-founder of Colorado Cooperative DevelopersWiener specializes in cooperative law, shared ownership models, cooperative finance, regenerative capital and financing strategies, sustainable economies law, teal lawyering, virtual outside general counsel, and worker ownership. Jason leads the firm’s Healing Law practice. Wiener has advised more than two dozen worker-cooperative conversions, several multistakeholder ownership conversions, and more than a dozen platform cooperatives. Jason has also advised numerous clients through socially responsible financings, including through membership capital campaigns, private offerings, and qualified intrastate public offerings.

Wiener holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, where he received honors with a concentration in international law. Wiener has served on the boards of several worker-owned businesses around the country, including Stocksy United, Equal Exchange, and Colorado Recovery. In 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis appointed Wiener to serve on the Employee Ownership Commission. Wiener has published more than six scholarly law review articles on international, human rights, and fair trade and about open sourcing renewable energy technology topics. He speaks regularly around the country about socially responsible alternative financing and capitalization strategies, employee ownership, cooperatives, and social enterprise business models. Wiener has been an adjunct professor in Colorado State University’s Global Sustainability and Social Enterprise program, where he taught a Master of Business Administration course on business law and ethics. He has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Colorado Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic.

Event information
Wed Apr 10, 2024