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  • Chelsea Robinson

Episode 1: Assets in Common

Episode 1 of a conversation series about the book "Assets in Common", featuring interviews with the authors.

In this episode, our host Neal Gorenflo interviews Zoe Schlag and Derek Razo from Common Trust. Common Trust coproduced this project alongside Purpose US. Derek and Zoe discuss the origins of the project and how the needs of the alternative ownership sector shaped the focus on the book and the research behind it.

Relevant Links:

Grab the book at:

Learn about Common Trust at:



Zoe Schlag is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Common Trust with a long standing track record leading and investing in mission-driven businesses. From being an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Eric Schmidt’s family office and a Managing Director at Techstars, Zoe has been a major catalyst for shared ownership and impact investing worldwide. Zoe began her career in international development, working with ex-guerrilla fighters in Guatemala and microfinance in Argentina before transitioning to impact investing in India. Zoe is an Rutgers Executive Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, Aspen Ideas Scholar, JUST and MDaaS board member, and graduate of Tufts University.


Derek Razo is a Co-founder and Managing Partner at Common Trust, where he leads business and product development. Derek has led shared ownership and steward ownership transitions since 2017, and is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities in this field. He co-founded Purpose International in 2016 and then later Purpose US, which have led the movement for steward ownership and popularized the use of Perpetual Purpose Trusts for mission protection. Derek has served as an investor, advisor, and delivery partner for businesses shifting to stakeholder and purpose ownership. Derek’s extensive experience also includes collaborating on community-led projects such as affordable housing and real estate, and indigenous-led funds. Derek studied computer science and business at UC Berkeley, and has been a serial founder of cooperative and open source businesses throughout his early career.

About the Book:

"Assets in Common" reveals a strategy for transforming the U.S. economy through shared ownership and stewardship. Based on extensive research, the authors present in-depth case studies and approaches, such as cooperation between companies, shared balance sheets, holding companies, and shared services. They offer compelling evidence that connecting assets can create economic resilience. "Assets in Common" identifies what's working at scale, and what's needed next. This book is a must-read for business and community leaders who want to be part of the solution. Filled with practical insights, "Assets in Common" offers actionable steps for building infrastructure.


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