noni session
Executive Director
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Noni is a 3rd generation West Oaklander, Assistant Librarian and Cultural Anthropologist. Her research and organizing work spans national and global arenas. In her doctoral work under the umbrella of the UNDP in Nairobi, Kenya, Noni carried out ethnographic analysis of international humanitarian strategies and their on-the-ground consequences. After a 2016 run for Oakland City Council in which she garnered more than 43% of the vote, Noni came to believe that her community’s clearest pathway to economic justice and halting rapid displacement was an independent cooperative economy. Noni holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Black Studies, cum laude, from San Francisco State University, and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. 
Ojan Mobedshahi
Finance Director
Board Treasurer
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​​Ojan is a 2nd generation Iranian American born and raised in the Bay Area. His past work, ranging from healthy urban land use to real estate development, informs his holistic view of finance, with a triple bottom line that includes people and planet along with profit. Ojan lives in a co-op in Oakland and works as a contractor and regenerative landscape designer revitalizing land throughout the East Bay. While earning his B.A. in Economics from Pitzer College, Ojan was inducted into the Economic Honors Society and organized a local chapter of the Occupy movement.

Marissa Ashkar
Director of Community Relations 
Board President
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Born in Los Angeles into a Southwest Asian/North African and European American family, Marissa has lived in and around Oakland for 20 years. Before co-founding the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative in 2016 she spent 15 years in political organizing and institution building. She has worked with a community land trust in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with an international development corporation in Vietnam, and with a cooperative credit union. Marissa is currently organizing with People of Color Sustainable Housing Network and coordinating outreach at Northern California Community Land Trust where she works with BIPOC communities to create sustainable,cooperative housing. Marissa believes that collective land stewardship and cooperative living will be an ever-growing part of the global healing and regenerative movement. She holds a B.A. in the Political Economy of Africa and the Middle East from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from West Los Angeles School of Law.
Shira Shaham
New Projects Director
Board Secretary
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Shira is passionate about design and the environment and strives to bring the world closer to sustainability through integrative approaches. She has nearly 10 years experience leading teams and managing custom design projects and businesses. She played a key role in the growth of a food cooperative start-up in New York from the initial meeting of some 20-odd people to a successful business open six days/week. She currently manages high end residential construction projects. Shira holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a minor in Sustainable Environments. Returning to the Bay Area where she was raised, Shira works to give back to the communities that have nurtured her.
Gregory Jackson
Partnerships Director
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
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Greg is a native of Oakland with deep family roots who feels fortunate to live within blocks of his family that now spans three generations. He is deeply committed to achieving economic equity in the East Bay through collective ownership and democratic decision-making. Recognizing the many social problems rooted in the unequal distribution of wealth and decision-making power, Greg focused his law school research on international cooperatives. During his internship with Sustainable Economies Law Center he created a pilot program for youth-led cooperative development. As a 2018 Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, Greg aims to increase collective decision-making and cooperative-ownership in East Oakland. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from San Diego State University, and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
 A Word On Governance
...the deplorable economic and social circumstances in our communities will change for the better only when Aboriginal communities can construct their own systems of governance and plan for their people’s long-term development.
-Peter Yu, 2002 Indigenous Governance Conference, Canberra
Governance is a critical component of any organization, but especially organizations that seek to challenge the status quo. In creating governance structures, we must lend a critical eye to “established” practices and make a conscientious effort to “indigenize” that knowledge (term borrowed from Ethan Baptiste of the Okanagan Nation) in order to ensure that they align with our cultures, socio-political interests, and economic needs. Our intention is to create a governance structure that allows each member, not only the means for having genuine decision-making power, but also the ability (the necessary resources and support) to practically exercise that power and take responsibility for that power (i.e. be held accountable).