In 2012 I spent my first summer in Erie, working for Americorps VISTA. I quickly fell in love with a community that was diverse, welcoming, and unique. I officially put roots down in Erie in 2013, accepting a job with Bayfront East Side Taskforce, working to improve the East Bayfront neighborhood, where I still live today. My love for Erie and the places that make it special (like Whole Foods Co-Op) inspire me to give back to the community that welcomed me in, which I hope to do as a board member.
I currently work for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, organizing to make sure millions of people across the country can continue to have access to high quality and affordable healthcare. Both this role and my previous work in neighborhood development have taught me how to effectively work within a team and listen to and advocate for broader groups of people. I am a creative and empathetic leader with an eye towards taking calculated risks to grow and challenge the institutions around me. I am passionate about making sure everyone is heard, and look to the everyday experts around me when making decisions.
In the next five years I see the co-op responding to challenges by reframing them as opportunities for new and creative thinking. I think the co-op has room for growth in serving the community at large in expanded ways through partnerships with New American populations, aspiring entrepreneurs, and embracing ideas of member-owners to explore new educational opportunities.
I see so much opportunity to build awareness about the amazing offerings of the Co-op and its potential to positively impact our community. I have 20+ years of professional experience in marketing, studying the end user and creating positive customer experiences. I am also certified in User Experience Analysis from Human Factors International which gives me the ability to think strategically, with the end user, in this case the consumer, shopper, member, event attendee or staff member, in mind. As a lifelong resident, I have a passion for bettering this community. The Co-op is my neighborhood gem. I look forward to my trips for many reasons; the amazing and very affordable (if not free) events, the high quality of products and the new products I am introduced to regularly, the neighborly and extremely knowledgeable staff, and, last but not least, the second-to-none cafe! I joined the Co-op because it took the thinking out of shopping. I know that the Whole Foods Co-op staff and management will do the research for me. I can simply enjoy browsing for products, or stop in quickly to buy what I need, or enjoy a delicious meal or attend a community event without worry, and know that I’m contributing to a better world by doing so. I believe that I can bring innovative thinking to an already forward thinking group. We can use the diversity of our skillsets to our advantage and make the best decisions for the Co-op and our community.
Many years ago, when I was first learning about natural foods and living, the Co-op was heaven sent. Under its umbrella, I’ve been a volunteer, an employee, a writer for the newsletter, conducted classes, a tenant (office space), and a former board member. I would like to serve on the board again as a way of giving back to an institution that’s been positive in my growth and development.
I have served two terms on the WFC Board of Director’s and am currently running for a 3rd and final term, and during my tenure I have been fortunate to collect a wealth of information to utilize the 7 Cooperative Principles to fuel a thriving business. My professional experience in retail, marketing, and nonprofit administration all inform my decision-making process. The Co-op has grown and made huge strides successful transitions by leaps and bounds during my Board service, and I am excited to see many new projects launch and to help initiate and implement more beneficial changes. I had the pleasure of attending the National Cooperative Grocer’s Consumer Cooperative Management Association’s 2017 Conference in June, and I would love the opportunity to act upon what I learned there. I live in the city’s lower west side, and I am the mother of 3 kids, 2 cats, 1 dog, and I am a BARGAIN shopper! I am delighted by the value I can find in so many high quality products at great prices right at the Co-op, and I enjoy working with a team to empower the WFC to keep pricing and selection competitive with other stores locally. I would be honored to continue to use the skills and knowledge I have acquired to advance the Co-op’s values for two more years.
My name is Kathryn and I would love to be able to serve on the Board of Directors again. I previously served 3 consecutive terms, and during 4 of those years was honored to serve as the President. I have been a dedicated member of the Co-op for 12 years, and I want to continue doing my part to see the Co-op flourish and grow. I am an herbalist that is passionate about holistic health and natural foods, and I am also a stay-at-home mother to my 2 sons. Our family is part of an intentional community in Crawford County, where land preservation and regeneration are central to what we do. Community building has become a passion of mine and I want to put my experience to good use for the betterment of the Co-op. During my time spent on the Board in the past, I was able to be a part of some great changes within the Co-op, such as the creation of the community room and the expansion of the cafe. It is important for the Co-op to adapt to changing markets to remain competitive and strong, and I feel it can do this by improving the ways in which it connects with and serves it’s members, as well as by extending the ways in which it can reach a wider portion of the Erie community, such as lower income populations., while also striving to stay true to it’s cooperative values and principles. I believe that my experience and skills can be an asset for the Board as it steers the Co-op through these changing times.
Community is one of my strongest core values. And while I may not have the power to influence the whole city, I do have influence over my corner of the city. Less than one-half mile from my house, the Co-op is a part of my neighborhood.
I have been a member of the Whole Foods Co-op for five years. During those five years, I've walked the 10 minutes from my home to the Co-op a multitude of times. I've walked down with my husband on Saturday mornings for donuts and coffee; I've stopped in to grab an item or two on our walks with our dogs; I've walked down to meet with friends and colleagues in the cafe. Our household has adopted a European-style approach to shopping -- we purchase fresh food as it is needed -- that puts us in the Co-op almost every day. All this is to say, the Whole Foods Co-op has become quite a big part of my life. I will use my skill set to help ensure the Co-op continues to be one of my daily stops and a resource for our community for many years. As a member of many boards -- including the Gannon University Alumni Board Vice President, the Eerie Roller Girls Secretary, and Partnership for Erie's Public Schools Board Committee Chair -- I have both leadership and board experience to support the Co-op in achieving sustainable growth.
I am an Erie native with vast knowledge and experience in financial analysis, community groups, management/administration, personnel/supervisory, public relations and leadership. I have a diverse and sound professional and educational career. I feel I could offer a great deal of expertise, ideas, and approaches that would aid in the constant growth of the Whole Food Co-Op. Organic and holistic approaches are a passion of mine! I truly enjoy watching the impact the organic movement has had on the local Erie community. Cooperatives are a wonderful way for member-owners to have an important voice and presence in true process of a democratic governance structure, such as the Whole Foods Co-Op. Utilizing local products and foods are a wonderful advantage to the growth of our area. My lifelong commitment to enhancing the leadership practices within our community would be an asset to the board. I hold a strong work ethic, moral character and leadership qualities. My commitment to serve the board would enable me to work as a team member in providing wonderful opportunities for all member-owners and the Erie community.
I want to serve on the board of directors to help grow the co-op and expand the possibilities of what it can mean for the city of Erie. Whether that's reaching parts of the city that are barren of healthy food, increasing the community center programming, and finding ways to show off the cafe and new food truck, I want the co-op to be seen as the gem it is in Erie. I've been a member for several years now, and a regular shopper for over a decade, I love the community the co-op has fostered, and want more people to know about it. I've helped manage a local bookstore for the past eight months, and I have volunteered for several community activist organizations in the last year.