Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals for Virtual CCMA 2021

Virtual CCMA 2021 will take place online June 7-11, 2021. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives seeks proposals for breakout sessions for Virtual CCMA 2021 through Friday, March 5, 2021. Please read this document carefully before submitting your proposal.

THEME: Reckoning and Renewal

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the flaws that have long existed in our society. Crises have a way of revealing truths and focusing attention on systemic problems. The basics – access to healthy food, healthcare, living wage jobs, freedom from fear of oppression and racism – are not basic but essential.

Crisis also creates opportunity – the opportunity to reinvent, innovate, and adapt. As we have seen across the country, the way that cooperatives do business has been upended. From supply chains to shopping habits, from board meetings to member engagement strategies, everything has changed. Change is painful, yet hopeful. How do we as cooperators capture and apply these lessons to ensure we strengthen our communities rather than reverting to previous norms. Normal wasn’t working for far too many people in our society. The challenging work of the reckoning provides a canvas for opportunity and renewal. This year’s CCMA will focus on how food cooperatives are recalibrating and developing innovative solutions that will ultimately strengthen and enhance our social, economic, and environmental wellbeing as we move through and past these difficult times.


Virtual CCMA is an annual five-day gathering of 400-800 food cooperative leaders, including management, staff, and board members of food cooperatives.


Breakout sessions will be offered online Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the conference. The sessions will be 60 minutes long, including time for Q&A. A typical audience will be between 50-400 people. Sessions will be delivered via zoom with audience engagement through chat and/or Q&A.


  • February 8, 2021: Call for Proposals opens.
  • March 5, 2021: Call for Proposals closes.
  • April 16, 2021: UWCC staff will notify all applicants of their proposal status via email. 


Virtual CCMA will feature two tracks with targeted content for co-op staff and directors:

Operations: potential topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Grocery: supply chain challenges and solutions; prepared foods strategies for the new normal; operational flexibility and experimentation
  • Being a great employer: team building; leadership development; planning for $15 minimum wage, staff engagement
  • DEI: equity and inclusion in policy and practice; abolition and cooperatives; building community in a more inclusive way
  • Innovation: new processes, programs that have emerged from COVID

Governance: potential topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Oversight: GM/Board relations, GM accountability best practices, board latitude under policy governance, succession planning
  • Engagement: board members’ role in member engagement; addressing the digital divide; creating connections in the time of COVID; member education; marketing and meeting the cooperative mission
  • DEI: Equity lens on board policy and executive limitation; supervising GM for gender and racial equity; preparing the organization to support diversity, equity, and inclusion; attracting and retaining diverse board members, pay equity.
  • Innovation: planning for recovery and renewed commitment to all co-op values; stories of mutual aid in action; shifting organizational culture, updating governance for a new era: processes, technology, revision of bylaws.


All proposals for Virtual CCMA 2021 must be submitted online here. Proposals are due by 11:59 pm CT on Friday, March 5, 2021.

Session Proposal Guidelines:

  1. Session title and description (300-500 words)
  2. Track: Operations/Governance
  3. Target audience (board members, GMs and department managers, store department staff, administrative department staff, etc.)
  4. Three active learning outcomes that the attendee can expect to take away from the presentation and apply to their co-op or job/role
  5. Does your session address diversity regard race, class, gender, or other communities? How?
  6. Name, title, organization, email, phone number, and mailing address for all presenters
  7. If a panel, contact information for each proposed panelist. Panels should be limited to no more than three presenters plus a moderator.

If selected, your name, photo, biography, presentation title, session description, and learning objectives will be made available on the CCMA conference website. We will record sessions and post as an unlisted video on UWCC’s YouTube Channel. Registered conference attendees will receive a link to the recording.


To ensure full and fair consideration, proposals will be evaluated and selected by the CCMA Planning Committee according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance – directly addresses the conference theme and selected topic track.
  • Clarity – offers a clear description of the proposed session and learning objectives.
  • Innovation – displays innovations or originality.
  • Application – participants will be able to learn practical tools or lessons.
  • Program balance – the conference planning committee strives to create a balanced program covering a wide range of topics with diverse presenters.

Selection Process:

The CCMA Planning Committee selects a Proposal Review Committee to review CCMA breakout session proposals. UWCC will ensure that each proposal received is reviewed by at least four members of the Proposal Review Committee.  Each reviewer will score each proposal against the criteria listed above on a 4-point scale (1 = poor, 2 = acceptable, 3 = very good, 4 = excellent). UWCC will collect all scores and take the average score of all four reviewers. Next UWCC staff will develop a draft breakout session matrix with proposed sessions for each track and identify any topics that are missing from the track. Lastly, the full CCMA planning committee will review, make suggestions, and approve the final breakout sessions for the conference. Applicants will be notified of selection decisions after April 16, 2021.


Participation as a presenter in Virtual CCMA 2021 is voluntary. In recognition of a presenter’s contribution of time and effort, conference registration fee will be waived. If a speaker requires an honorarium to present the proposed session, please complete the appropriate field on the proposal form for that speaker. Speakers receiving honoraria will be required to complete a separate speaker agreement outlining terms of honoraria.


Please contact Megan Webster, UW Center for Cooperatives, at or 608-890-1048. We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Download the Call for Proposals

Online Submission