Robert Smith

Corner Brook, NL

Social Justice Co-operative NL

Robert Smith is an experienced software developer, community solutions consultant, and dedicated advocate for co-operative principles. With a background in Anthropology and Geography from McGill University, Robert uses community technology to facilitate accessible, inclusive, kind, and resilient communities.

Robert’s journey with co-operatives began as a member of the Eagle River (now Atlantic Edge) Credit Union and was solidified by attending the 2007 Atlantic Co-operative Youth Leadership (ACYL) camp. During his time at McGill University, he served as VP of Communications for the Photography Student Society and as Photo Editor for The McGill Daily, honing his skills in communication and organization.

Since 2015, Robert has gained valuable experience in software development, starting at Grenadine Technologies in Montreal and later joining Colibri Software in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. These roles allowed him to develop people-centred applications and deepen his expertise.

His passion for cooperative values is most evident in his leadership of Better Together Solutions, a community technology cooperative he intends to co-found in 2024. Better Together Solutions aims to collaboratively design, build, and maintain the Better Together Community Engine, an open-source community empowerment platform owned and operated by its members. This project reflects Robert’s commitment to using technology for social good.

In addition to his professional journey, Robert serves on the board of Foray NL, a citizen-science nonprofit dedicated to documenting and educating on the diversity of fungi in Newfoundland and Labrador. He also lead the Draw Data Rescue Archives and Weather (DRAW) project, preserving historical weather data to aid climate science.

As a queer and neurodivergent person, Robert’s personal journey and experiences drive his dedication to creating inclusive digital solutions that empower diverse communities. From July, he will work fulltime with Better Together Solutions, focusing on developing multi-stakeholder community worker and platform cooperatives. Eager to bring his expertise in community engagement, technology, and co-operative development to the NLFC, Robert is committed to advancing cooperative values and community service.