James Razsa, Co-founder, Business Director
James brings a passion for worker cooperatives and organizing to the team. He hails from Gray, Maine, and has a bachelor’s degree in Community Studies and Economic Justice from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His extensive experience in economic justice organizing includes working for Young Workers United, a workers’ center that educates workers and recent immigrants on their rights as employees; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as both a political organizer and a community organizer; and Jobs with Justice, where he coordinated campaigns that brought together labor, community, faith, student, and immigrant groups. James has also interned for the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, where he documented models of worker ownership and developed recommendations for expansion and funding models, as well as for Equal Exchange, one of the largest worker-owned businesses in the United States. James until recently was the Director of Campaigns for 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future, a community-led climate justice organization. Last but no less important, James has five years experience in the service industry, including work as a barback, dishwasher, bartender, food runner, event staff, and barista, and he has interned with Jason Taggart, Head Brewer of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House.
Jason Taggart, Co-founder, Brewing Director
Jason has been working in the brewing industry for 15 years. He trained for eight years with the Seibel Institute of Technology, a prestigious and internationally recognized brewing academy. For the last eight years, Jason has been honing his craft as a Head Brewer of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House in Cambridge, Massachusetts, continually learning new and traditional brewing techniques and exploring different aspects of the brewing world. As Head Brewer, Jason is in charge of daily operations, recipe formulation, and equipment repairs and maintenance. He provides front-of-house and brewery training to new workers and helps serving staff improve their knowledge of food and beer pairings. Jason has visited family in and around Scotland and England, as well as several other areas of Europe, learning about beer and the rich culture and history that surrounds it. He enjoys sharing this knowledge with colleagues and beer enthusiasts back home in the Boston area. Jason is also involved in several charity organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises funds and awareness for returning veterans, and ALS TDI, the world’s largest non-profit lab working to fight ALS. He is also involved in the Toots for Tufts golf tournament, a charity that helps raise funds for the Tufts neuro-oncology unit.
Rob Everts, Board Member
When Rob joined Equal Exchange in 1997 he brought with him 20 years of challenging big business by organizing the other participants in the marketplace – namely workers, consumers and voters. This background has uniquely prepared him for leading a mission driven, yet for-profit organization.
Rob grew up in Mill Valley, California, and left college in 1975 to join Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. There he worked until 1982 when he became an organizer with the Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Union. In 1987 he joined the grassroots social justice organization, Neighbor-to-Neighbor. There he had his first experience in the coffee industry when in 1992 he helped lead a successful nationwide boycott of Folger’s. The objective was to encourage Folger’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest buyers of Salvadoran coffee, to support a peace accord in El Salvador’s bloody civil war. He later moved to Costa Rica and worked as a consultant to UNICEF and other NGO’s.
Rob was lured to Equal Exchange in 1997 to help design a grassroots organizing approach to building Fair Trade, but soon was assigned increasing responsibilities. He joined Rink as co-executive director in 1999. Rob is a graduate of University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Anne Phillips, Board Member
Anne Phillips is the Executive Director of Class Action, an organization dedicated to building class unity and challenging income inequality. She has spent 18 years in the social change movement as a community organizer and then fundraiser on behalf of many different causes including the environment, reproductive rights, transportation justice and worker rights and public education. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. Her passions (in no particular order) include bicycling, swimming, building community, racial justice and craft beer (of course).