Creating cooperative structures to allow people to exercise greater control over their own economic circumstances
Thomas Beckett has for much of his professional career worked as lawyer serving the needs of cooperatives, community nonprofits, and other small and startup businesses. He cofounded and is currently Executive Director of Carolina Common Enterprise, a cooperative development center serving North Carolina. In this role he provides business & legal guidance to cooperatives throughout North Carolina and the South. Beckett has completed and is certified by the CooperationWorks! Art & Science of Cooperative Development training program. He co-founded and serves on the steering committee of the Cooperative Professionals Guild. Beckett is a frequent presenter on legal and business issues affecting new cooperatives. He has taught Business Law at Warren Wilson College and is certified to present the FastTrac TechVenture program, the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial training curriculum. He has significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, worker cooperatives, housing co-ops, and consumer grocery cooperatives, as well as any number of innovative cooperative business structures that have arisen in the new economy. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Shared Capital Cooperative Development Fund and a community representative on the board of the Weaver Community Housing Association, a shared equity affordable housing cooperative. Beckett previously served on the Boards of CooperationWorks, the Center for Participatory Change and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and earned his law degree and later an MBA at the University of North Carolina.