UW Center for Cooperatives names Courtney Berner new executive director

Courtney Berner has been named executive director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives (UWCC). Berner will succeed Anne Reynolds, the current executive director, on January 8, 2018.

Reynolds is retiring from her post after 22 years with the Center for Cooperatives. During her tenure, Reynolds shared her extensive knowledge of governance, strategy and innovative uses of the cooperative model. Her efforts span economic sectors, income classes and cultures, and involve teaching, research and direct assistance to cooperative businesses. Reynolds holds leadership positions with the Madison Cooperative Development Coalition, several local food initiatives, and education programs related to cooperative board leadership and employee ownership. Reynolds also serves on the boards of Shared Capital Cooperative, The Cooperative Foundation and the Madison Public Market Foundation. In 2015, she was awarded Cooperative Networks’ Cooperative Builder Award, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions at the local, state, and/or national level to advance cooperative philosophy and ideals.

Berner currently serves as a cooperative development specialist at UWCC where she has developed a nationally recognized program focusing on cooperative business development. She has cultivated highly successful partnerships with external stakeholders and is widely sought as an educator and speaker within the cooperative business community. Berner brings research, development and outreach experience in a range of issues related to food systems, community economic development and the cooperative business model. Prior to earning a master’s degree in agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spent five years at the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns.

“We are very excited to have Courtney step into this key leadership role,” says Reynolds. “She is a strong leader with an extensive background in cooperative leadership and experience in Wisconsin and nationally. We know Courtney will uphold the UWCC mission of fostering critical thinking and understanding about cooperatives.”

About the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

Established in 1962, the UW Center for Cooperatives focuses on education, research and outreach on all aspects of the cooperative business model, including development, finance, structure and governance. The Center’s interdisciplinary programs build on the resources of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, and are implemented through partnerships with UW faculty, staff and extension agents, federal and state agencies, state cooperative councils, cooperative business groups and others. For more information, please visit

For more information, contact Megan Webster at or (608) 890-1048.