Executive Bio | Equal Exchange
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Executive Bio

Rink Dickinson – co-founder, Executive Director, co-op member

Since our founding in 1986 Rink has played, at one time or another, almost every major role in helping Equal Exchange to become a model of a democratically controlled, socially responsible business — Co-founder, Board Chair, Director of Sales, and since 1999 Executive Director.

Rink was deeply influenced by the two principle areas where he grew up: inner-city Detroit and the “Springsteen” region of New Jersey. He first gained a passion for organic foods when working at the New England Food Co-ops in the early 1980’s. There he met Michael Rozyne and Jonathan Rosenthal, with whom he co-founded Equal Exchange in 1986. Their goal was to create an unprecedented, progressive organization that balanced the interests of farmers, customers, shareholders and workers. They had no models to follow, but did decide to forego the privileges that normally accrue to entrepreneurs. Instead they structured Equal Exchange as a worker-owned cooperative, where every employee would also be an equal owner, each with one vote and each eligible to serve on the company’s board.

Rink has also served on the board of another natural foods worker co-op, Once Again Nut Butters (New York). He holds a BA from SUNY-Binghamton, and a MA in Urban Planning from M.I.T. Rink lives in Providence, Rhode Island.