The BCCA is excited to welcome Elvy Del Bianco as Director of Co-operative Development and Government Relations! Elvy brings a great deal of expertise in advancing GR priorities and experience in engaging with key stakeholders across the province to grow the co-operative sector. We’re excited to have him join our team.
1. How did you come to get involved in co-operatives?
Prior to 2004 I knew virtually nothing about co-ops when former Cabinet Minister and Vancity Board Director Bob Williams invited me on the Vancity-sponsored study tour to Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The scale, diversity and innovation of that cooperative economy, its tremendous social and economic impact, and the intellectual context provided by profs. Stefano and Vera Zamagni happily upset everything I knew about economics. But the clincher was subsequently learning that both sides of my family were members of agricultural cooperatives in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in northeast Italy, and relied co-ops to get through the hardship following the devastation of World War II. In addition to working in the co-op sector, I am a member of Modo, the East End Food Co-op, the Vancouver Tool Library, The People’s Cooperative Bookstore and CFRO Cooperative Radio and Vancity.
2. What kind of work will you be doing?
Developing partnerships with governments, other cooperatives and allies, bringing these partners into working relationships to support the development and growth of co-ops, including new applications of the model, and supporting my colleagues in building out the educational, technical and human capacity we need. In short: help define a system that creates co-ops. I hope to roll up my sleeves and work directly on establishing a few co-ops, too.
3. What are you most excited about in this new role?
Cooperators are the most passionate and values – and community-oriented people I’ve met. I am stoked to have the opportunity to work with such folk, to learn from them how they create solutions to the problems their communities face. Part of that community is the great group of people at the BCCA and ACCA: dedicated and creative, with a great sense of humour. I am excited to be working with such wonderful colleagues.
4. What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
With my spouse Francesca I enjoy walking and hiking and taking in the arts -especially visual art and film. I like taking workshops to make things, like wooden ladles, cameras or a theremin. For peace of mind I tend a garden and practice tai chi. Most of all, and when the pandemic allows, I like to have a few friends over on a Friday night for a meal, a bottle of wine, and a few hearty laughs.
5. What’s your favorite quote?
I don’t know who said it – “Worrying is praying for something you don’t want to happen.”