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Workforce Innovations for an Equitable Recovery

Thursday, October 28, 2021 -
11:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Zoom Webinar
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The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt by communities for years. The subsequent economic downturn had a disproportionate impact on communities of color and frontline, essential workers. As we continue to battle the pandemic and plan for equitable recovery efforts we must highlight promising strategies to help build back a better and more just economy.

Join us to discuss innovations in workforce models that better protect workers and their needs. Our speakers will highlight promising workforce strategies including worker cooperatives and social enterprises that should be considered as we build back our region’s economy.


Stephen Bediako, Co-Founder, Turning Basin Labs

Stephen Bediako is the Co-Founder of the Bay Area-based Design studio Path Group where he has collaborated with partners like San Francisco Foundation, Citi Group Community Investment and the City of San Francisco, and he is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Turning Basin Labs, a cooperative staffing agency based in California that supports workers to find contract roles, while providing training, access to benefits, and COOP ownership. In this role he has worked with JFF, JVS, Job Train, Community Colleges and others to provide Employer of Record services for their work-based learning programs. TBL participated in the 2020 Start.COOP program and Stephen is now a Board member of Start.COOP. He is Founder/ Chair of The Social Innovation Partnership (UK), a community-engaged team focused on driving inclusive social change, and holds Board roles for Centric, The Barbican Arts Centre, and as an advisor to Guys and St.Thomas' Charity in the UK. 

Stephen has a passion for racial equity and raising the platform for minority-led enterprises / talent. Stephen previously worked at Tribal, iMPOWER and Deloitte in strategy consulting. Stephen was a Goldman Sachs Small Business Programme graduate in 2014, an UnLtd Big Venture Challenge winner in 2015, a SOCAP scholar in 2017, and a Mayor of London International Programme winner in 2018. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Stephen was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Years Honours list of 2020 for Innovation in Charity and Social Impact.

Crispin Delgado, Public Policy Director, Northern California Grantmakers

As a native of Richmond, CA, Crispin’s childhood experiences shaped the path for a career focused on helping disinvested communities like his own. With over two decades of experience, Crispin brings to NCG rich lived and professional experience and a vision for advancing equity and social justice through an exciting policy agenda for our organization, our members, and the community we serve. A seasoned philanthropic professional, Crispin served as program officer for Blue Shield of California Foundation where he worked to advance value-based care policy efforts in California and led signature programs, including the Clinic Leadership Institute. He arrived to philanthropy following several years as a leader within San Mateo County’s safety net healthcare system. He most recently ran a thriving consulting practice where he developed philanthropic strategies to improve access to and quality of care for low-income communities.

Matt Gereghty, Hasta Muerte Coffee 

Matt Gereghty is a founding member of Hasta Muerte Coffee Cooperative, a collectively owned and operated cafe in the Fruitvale district of Oakland. Prior to the cafe he spent 10 years working as a co-founder of the Bikery, a youth-centered bicycle sales and repair shop. Born in Oakland and raised between the east bay and central valley in a working class family, he is a UC Berkeley graduate who notes that self-education and experience have been far more enriching than any degree. The half year he spent after college traveling throughout South America elevated and punctuated his understanding of how poor and oppressed people live elsewhere on the globe. His work remains inspired by collectivist cultural practices that breed not just survival, but vibrancy and unique forms of wealth in places where resources are scarce.

Rani Langer-Croager, Co-Founder and CEO, Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative

Rani Langer-Croager founded Uptima Business Bootcamp to address the challenges of traditional entrepreneurship programs and business accelerators in providing accessible education and mentorship to a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Rani has drawn on more than 15 years of experience advising organizations on strategic and financial planning, capital raising and mergers and acquisitions to develop the model for Uptima. Prior to co-founding Uptima, Rani was a member of the founding team and vice president at Altius Education where she raised over $30 million of capital to fund development of the company’s educational ecosystem.

Rani began her career as a successful investment banker and has led and participated in over 30 financing, merger, acquisition and joint venture transactions, representing over $15 billion in value, for leading technology companies. She has extensive experience supporting very early stage entrepreneurs as an organizer, coach and judge for numerous hackathons and startup challenges.

Leslie Payne, Initiative Director, Irvine Foundation 

Leslie Payne joined The James Irvine Foundation in 2016 as a Senior Program Officer and was named Initiative Director in July 2021. Leslie leads Irvine’s Better Careers initiative, which focuses on readiness for and access to middle wage jobs. Prior to her work on Better Careers, Leslie led the culmination of Irvine’s Elections Policies and Practices work as well as the Arts Engagement program. She was also a part of the Foundation’s Fair Work initiative pilot, Strategic Partnerships team, and Research and Development team. Prior to Irvine, Leslie held a variety of roles in mission-driven organizations in the private and independent sectors, specializing in strategy, innovation, and partnerships. She serves on the board of Innovate Work Labs and Telescope. She has almost two decades of experience helping organizations learn, adapt, and grow to find effective ways of meeting complicated challenges. Leslie received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and MBA from Georgetown University.

Fela Thomas, Sr. Program Officer (People Pathway), San Francisco Foundation 

Fela Thomas is a Senior Program Officer, People Pathway at the San Francisco Foundation.  Fela aims to support the resourcing of work that is going to continue to nurture the people, the institutions and the movements to bring about a just transition in this world. Fela also helps to hold the work and individuals that are connected to the People Pathway in advancing the economic security of low-income Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the Bay Area. Fela does this by listening, learning, and working with people engaged in that work, centering the people and communities closest to the problems.


Target Audience

This program is open to NCG members only.