DAWI Promotes Vanessa Bransburg to Co-Executive Director of Operations and Programs



The Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) announced today the promotion of Senior Managing Director Vanessa Bransburg to Co-Executive Director of Operations and Programs. Bransburg will lead the organization alongside DAWI founding Executive Director Melissa Hoover, who will become Co-Executive Director for Partnerships and Growth until transitioning to a new role in 2023.

“As DAWI celebrates ten years of powerful work, we are consciously undertaking a shift in leadership that will support our growth into the next phase,” said Hoover, DAWI Executive Director. “Vanessa has been essential to building DAWI from almost the beginning, and I can think of no better steward for our organizational culture and values.”

Bransburg has 15 years of cooperative development experience and has spent her time at DAWI developing innovative solutions for excluded workers and shaping the organization’s human-centered, high output workplace. She has developed nationally-recognized models for worker cooperative growth throughout her career, including building Center for Family Life’s Cooperative Development Program, helping establish New York City’s Worker Cooperative Development Initiative, and innovating to meet the needs of excluded workers through DAWI’s Rapid Response Cooperative model. Bransburg joined DAWI in 2015 to lead the organization’s Immigrant Cooperative Initiative. 

“This is a pivotal moment for DAWI and its partners as the uptake of employee ownership is making its way across communities,” said Bransburg. “I’m honored to be taking on the role of Co-Executive Director with Melissa Hoover, and joining with our talented team to do incredible work, both for the field and within our organization.”

Vanessa has been innovative in developing programs for excluded workers through DAWI’s Rapid Response Cooperatives, and fostering the development of cooperatives among immigrant communities as the former Director of the Cooperative Development Program at the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, NY,” said Maru Bautista, President, DAWI Board of Directors. “Vanessa is an incredible leader, and we are delighted in having her lead DAWI in this important organizational transition.”

With the announcement of Bransburg’s promotion and Hoover’s future transition to a Special Projects role, DAWI is launching a search to hire a new Co-Executive Director for Partnerships and Growth. Hoover is the founding executive director of DAWI, building the think tank after helping start and grow the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives.

Bransburg joined DAWI in 2015 and, in her most recent role as Senior Managing Director, has led professional development, organizational culture building, and the Rapid Response Cooperative Development Project. She also provides training and consultation to cooperative developers working with vulnerable workers and immigrant communities. Prior to DAWI, Bransbrug directed the Center for Family Life’s (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Cooperative Development Program. She expanded the program’s capacity by tripling the number of staff, spearheaded the worker cooperative incubator program for hundreds of immigrant and low-income residents, established the NYC Cooperative Development Initiative to support NGOs looking to become cooperative incubators, and was one of the founders of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. She has a background in community organizing and clinical social work. Bransburg earned a master's degree in social work from Columbia University, a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA. She is an immigrant from Argentina.

The Democracy at Work Institute is the national think and do-tank dedicated to expanding worker ownership to meet the needs of workers locked out of good jobs and business ownership opportunities, particularly BIPOC, recent immigrant, and low-wage workers.