Karen Zimbelman is the National Co+op Grocers’ Senior Director for Membership and Cooperative Relations. She has worked as part of NCG, its predecessor associations in the west, and with food co-ops in local and national positions since 1980. Before NCG, Zimbelman was a consultant specializing in co-op governance, education and training program design, and employee benefits. Her work included serving as the founding executive director of Cooperative Grocers’ Network for 10 years, five years as editor of the Association of Cooperative Educators’ newsletter, and almost twenty years providing board training, membership, and governance-related services. In 1994, she was recognized with the Cooperative Service award at the Consumer Co-op Management Association conference and in 1999 was given an award for contributions to co-op education. In 2021, she was inducted into the U.S. Cooperative Hall of Fame.
Karen has a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and her thesis won the Glenn Anderson award for consumer co-op research in 1983. She has extensive board experience with credit unions, co-ops, and non-profits and currently is on the board of the National Cooperative Business Association-CLUSA International. She lives in Eureka, California with her husband, Chris Copple, retired general manager of a worker co-op.