Ep. 24: Giving Power Back to the Community w/ Niki Okuk
Giving Power Back to the Community w/ Niki Okuk
What would happen if we gave workers the opportunity to own the companies they work for, and encouraged businesses to reinvest profits in their communities? We’re diving into this question with this week’s guest, entrepreneur Niki Okuk. She founded Rco Tires, a rubber recycling facility in California, in 2012 and her TedX Talk “When Workers Own Companies, The Economy Is More Resilient” has over 1 million views. She’s passionate about giving workers more power in the companies they work for, and expanding accessibility to jobs and resources for people of color in South Los Angeles.
On this episode, Niki is sharing her insight on some of the barriers that underrepresented groups face in trying to raise themselves up from the systems that keep them down, the growing opportunities for cooperative business models, and why aligning your values will help you to achieve your goals.
Listen now to hear more about:
- How economic systems and business creation impact communities that are underrepresented
- Why Niki came back to South L.A. to reinvest in the community
- A lack of accessibility for Black folks trying to start a business
- The extractive nature of big box businesses — and its impact on the surrounding community
- Why leaders NEED to create sustainable opportunities for their workers
- How urgency interrupts equity (and the #1 thing you can do to change it!)
- The importance of being explicit with your truths so you can align with the right customers — plus, Niki opens up about a time she stood up for her truths
- Niki shares why the need for interconnected community relationships and cooperative business models are more important now than ever
- And so much more!
Short on time? Check out the show highlights:
[4:15] The economic systems that impact underrepresented groups
[6:30] What Niki did to reinvest in her community of South L.A.
[10:45] The problems with big box stores
[13:10] Making sustainable opportunities for workers
[21:05] Niki’s experience speaking up about her truths
[30:15] Affordable, cooperative projects Niki is working on
[38: 00] How you can get involved and learn more about local cooperative projects