Speaker Spotlight: Mike Cook

Getty Images. iStock Photo. Unsplash. Pixabay. All profit driven stock-photography businesses. A rebel to the cause, Stocksy United are a Victoria based platform cooperative home to a highly curated collection of royalty-free stock photography and video footage. For Mike Cook, the grind of spending years in leading stock-photography businesses led him to see the value in the co-operative business model - intrigued by Stocksy after they launched in 2013. By 2016, Mike left the grind behind to dive head first into the co-operative world as VP of Stocksy’s Operations, becoming their CEO in September 2018 to continue his strong advocacy for co-operatives across Canada!

ACCA’s Will McGlynn chewed the fat with Mike on the phone at the start of September…

Will: Tell us a little about your session at the Gathering and your motivation for getting involved?

Mike: My session is titled "Member Engagement: Building trust to drive co-operative growth”. For us at Stocksy, building a ‘Currency of Trust’ is vital to engage our contributing photographers and artists. It is this journey and my first hand-experiences on the front line that I’ll share insights from, and I hope that attendees can really start to think about leading and growing their own co-operatives with members at the forefront of their mind.

Will: Which leader inspires you?

Mike: Wow, great question…it would have to be the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His ‘Meditations’ (or even the many interpretations of them) containing his thoughts on the application of Stoicism to life are extremely practical on a daily basis.

Will: It’s great you’ll be on hand to offer 1-on-1 advice on Day 2 of the Gathering. I’m going to jump in first though and ask, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career to date?

Mike: If you do your job absolutely perfectly as a leader (and remember, no one ever does it perfectly), then at the end of Project X (whatever it is that had to be done) the team should be looking at you and thinking “What did he do?”.

Will: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the co-op sector?

Mike: The biggest challenge across the board is having the ability to maintain nimbleness and agility while allowing input from members. It’s balancing the dance between ownership and control so you are still able to move fast and make the moves you need to make without going to a democratic vote on the smallest of details.

Will: Mike, it’s been a pleasure and thanks for taking the time to chat, we’re excited to welcome you to Stony next month!

Mike: Thanks Will, I’m looking forward to it and it’s great to be able to support fellow co-operatives at such an event.