Meet the 2016 Board Candidates
These are the candidates (in alphabetical order) who are running for four open board seats. Voting will take place in the store beginning March 21 and at the General Membership Meeting on April 21. Please take time to get to know the candidates and also make sure your membership is current so you can vote.
(Note: You must have been a member for 30 days before being eligible to vote, as per the Oryana bylaws. March 21 is the last day to renew or become a member and vote at the GMM.)
My wife and I moved to Traverse City in the spring of 2014 from Huntington Woods, MI. I became a member of Oryana within a week after our arrival to the area. We had been to Oryana several times before the move and we both immediately liked the store. Oryana reminded me of California in the 60s (that is a compliment), I liked the people who worked there, the products sold, the cafe, and the general atmosphere, I felt comfortable there. I believe that Oryana is a great benefit to the community and well worth preserving.
I retired from the practice of law in June of 2009 after working as a sole practitioner for 31 years. I served as a court appointed mediator for the Wayne County Circuit Court and the Wayne County Probate Court. I also served as a private facilitator, mediator and arbitrator for litigants who wanted to settle their disputes without going to trial. My primary area of practice was in the area of Probate Law and I served as guardian, conservator, and trustee for individuals who were not able to care for themselves. I was responsible for the care of individuals and the preservation of their property, which included investing their funds. After selling my practice the Wayne County Probate Court offered me a position as the Court Ombudsman. My job was to work out problems between the public and the court system. Prior to becoming an attorney I managed a warehouse and an auto parts store.
I believe that Oryana faces significant challenges from large competitors who are now selling organic food items at lower prices. Oryana can continue to thrive because the store is unique and there is a personal touch not experienced when shopping in a chain store.
I am sure that I can work with the other board members as a team as I have no personal agenda to follow. I believe that the best way to represent the member-owners is to make sure that Oryana provides its customers with the service and quality that they have come to expect and deserve.
Kaitlyn Burns (Incumbent)
I am a mother, artist, athlete, Traverse City native, and a cooperator. I am inspired by this wonderful place we call home and the incredible community that we are a part of. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and make a true impact on the world—one of the many reasons I love being an Oryana member-owner.
First drawn to Oryana because of the high-quality food offerings, she opened my eyes to the social, economical, and environmental benefits of a cooperative. I was inspired to run for the Board of Directors in 2012 because I was (and still very much am!) passionate about the interconnectivity of healthy food, the environment, and social well-being.
Four years later, I am still just as geeked about the co-op. Serving on the board has opened my eyes to the many different ways that Oryana strengthens our community and local economy by making more happy, healthy people! From good food to sustainable business practices, from the community grant program to the incredible staff members; it’s been amazing be a part of the co-op’s continuous growth. In my two terms I have had the privilege to serve on several committees, including Membership Engagement and Board Education, and look forward to continuing to serve as a member representative for current and future generations of Oryana cooperators.
Looking ahead, Oryana has an exciting and challenging journey as we work together to achieve the vision “Oryana Imagined: 2022.” I am fully committed to helping achieve this vision on behalf of Oryana member-owners, continuing Oryana to enhance and strengthen the community through an expanded-reach of The Ends Policies.
Along with four years of experience serving on the Oryana Board, my educational background weaves together art, business, and human-centered design. Currently I am the Development & Communications Manager at SEEDS, with prior work experience as the Marketing Manager at a large business in town. I am confident that my educational, work, and life experiences will continue to be an asset as an Oryana member representative. Thank you for your consideration!
Jim Dagwell (Incumbent)
Laura Dagwell and I at TTA – Traverse Tax & Accounting, began building a stronger community in the same year Oryana began building community – 1973. Since arriving in Northern Michigan, I have embraced activities that contribute to the protection of the natural beauty that surrounds us, helping to shape growth in a smart, reasonable manner. Oryana plays a significant role ensuring that this growth is healthy…not just for its members, but also for all of the citizens of our region. A growing, profitable Oryana provides a model workplace for over 100 employees, and contributes dollars, goods and services that enrich our community, directly in alignment with my values. I am honored to share my time and skills, giving back to the community in this my 7th year of Oryana Board service. I am currently Oryana’s Board Treasurer and sit on the Board Executive Committee.
I invested significant time and effort partnering with General Manager Steve Nance and other board members to monitor the feasibility of creating a new store. Financially supporting this venture, I also contacted numerous member/owners during the capital campaign. It was a difficult, but absolutely correct decision to not create a second Oryana location at this time in the face of current competition. Direct competition arrives Fall 2016, along with other competitors on the horizon. This presents a tremendous challenge to the General Manager and staff. Dealing with issues of competition is strongly supported by experienced board members who are up to speed regarding Oryana financials who have experience in working in the format of Policy Governance to ensure that Oryana survives and thrives, in the face of this competition. I bring to the board 36 years of experience in business operations, marketing, and business development. This is also my 7th year growing community as a Board Member for Honor Bank.
Maintaining market share and modest growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace is a significant challenge.
My intention is to continue to ensure that Oryana remains financially healthy, so that it thrives, increasing its ability to be a major asset to our community well into the next century.
I seek your vote. See you at the GMM in April!
I am interested in serving on the Board because I have a passion for helping folks make better life choices – especially food. Eleven years ago, I quit smoking so I could be on the planet long enough to enjoy my grandson who was about to be born. Six years ago, I had emergency quadruple bypass surgery. After that I sat on the Cardiac Rehabilitation committee for Holy Spirit Hospital to act as the patient representative. Today I am a volunteer instructor for the Senior Fitness program (sponsored by Munson) at the YMCA in Cadillac. I took up mountain biking about 3 years ago. For the record, my bride and I moved to northern Michigan a little over 4 years ago, and have a farm here and in northern Indiana. We are experimenting with raising quinoa on the Michigan farm.
I have had been attracted to cooperative ideals since the early 70’s with the 3 Rivers Co-op in Fort Wayne. Also I have been a member of REI since 1984.
My experience has been very diverse including Indiana, Alaska, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Washington DC, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia working with retirement plans and other financial matters for small, medium and large corporations, foundations, not-for-profits, Alaska natives, governmental units (townships to states), hospitals, and even a multi-state cooperative. It has yielded a very interesting network.
My hunch is that one of the big challenges is the perception is that Oryana is too expensive. I even had a personal trainer say that recently – and she / he should know better. In addition to the perception issue, we must offer the best food and wellness choices at the best possible prices from local suppliers wherever possible. It is also important that we provide what members want and need.
One of my strengths is listening. I plan to make a concerted effort to listen to members wherever possible. I encourage my friends to join Oryana and to take advantage of their great resources.
I am interested in serving on the board because I love Oryana. My husband has heard me say “I could live happily in a small room in the back of this place.” The purpose, the vibe are the best. A small backyard in a city block offered itself to our family and we planted tomatoes, green peppers, peonies, and roses. It was enough to get me interested. Having parents who raised me with an appreciation for slow food and good healthy selections for nutritional value, I got an early start in life toward a growing appreciation of the plants and animals of the earth as our partners in this journey. During my undergrad year of 1970, Earth Day finally came into reality and spurred many good recycling, water care and responsible waste methods. It makes me proud that my home community of Leelanau arduously practices recycling.
I would bring common sense and reason to my role as director, having been the former chair of International Human Development and Learning Division of the American Society for Quality. I am a former Fortune 2 executive coach with relation to corporate culture, strategic planning, visioning, decision-making, teams, problem solving, communication, covert processes, conflict management and I was responsible for evaluation and management of elite and standard education programs, as well as a developer and deliverer of training and interventions to internal and external employees.
I have 20 years experience farming on the Leelanau peninsula with my husband, created business; all R&D, and successfully launched online commerce, retail, wholesale and farmer markets presence. My strength was visioning and creating, not finances.
Some of the most significant challenges and opportunities facing Oryana include continued emphasis on capitalizing on strengths, recognizing weaknesses and determining optimal methods to address those areas (i.e. facility, finance, employees, products, community). I would represent the member-owners of Oryana with dedication, courage, truth and authenticity.
Holly Jo Sparks (Incumbent)
Elected to the Oryana Board of Directors in 2014, I have been a co-op member and leader for over 20 years, and think my energy, enthusiasm and experience make me a valuable part of the gove r n a n ce te a m . I joined my first food co-op as a college student in Ann Arbor, and have since belonged to food co-ops in Isla Vista and Davis, CA; Cambridge, MA; Carrboro, NC; and East Lansing, MI. I am a dedicated supporter of cooperatives as a model for economic, social and ecological sustainability.
A Traverse City native, I am eager to help build a strong community-based economy that emphasizes local reliance for food, finance, housing and health. I want to serve on the board of directors in order to put my passion for cooperative development and involvement within the national cooperative movement toward good work in our shared community.
In 2011, I co-founded Collective Seeds Consulting Co-op, through which I advise cooperatives and nonprofits in financial management, fundraising and grant writing, organizational development and real estate acquisition and renovation. I also own and manage Creekside Cottages in Interlochen, a small seasonal and monthly rental property, which houses Northern Michigan’s only hostel.
Prior to this, I studied housing, community and economic development at UNC Chapel Hill and at MIT, from which I hold a degree in City Planning. A member of Oryana’s Financial Due Diligence Committee, I applied this experience when reviewing and monitoring the feasibility of opening a second store. Although this was not the “right place, right time,” I am proud that Oryana remains strong and vital, and look forward to exploring other opportunities to develop our co-op as part of the 2020 Vision.
As Executive Director for the MSU Student Housing Cooperative, I travel frequently, and have the chance to learn from and advocate for local food co-ops, community enterprise and other businesses working to build healthy, thriving local economies. If re-elected, I will continue to offer broad perspective and deep co-operative knowledge that help to advance Oryana’ s mission.
As a staff member of Oryana for the past 4 years I have worked to understand and pursue the mission and goals of our Co-op. I see becoming a member of the Board as an extension of this process of learning and working to make Oryana the best it can be for our member-owners, staff and community.
From growing up on an educational farm to studying sustainable development in college to working in organic agriculture and now food service at Oryana, I have been driven by my interest in food systems and local economy. I feel strongly that not only do we provide an essential service to our community by providing both sustainable food and economic models, but this also has a larger impact on changing the global food economy.
One strength I would bring as my role as a director is a solid understanding of cooperative values, and specifically Oryana’s mission and ends policies. I am driven to make a significant contribution to any endeavor I undertake and have strong attention to detail and problem solving skills. Not least, I feel a strong commitment to the continued success of Oryana.
One of the most significant challenges and opportunities I see facing Oryana is growing competition in the area which will be be significant to Oryana going forward. At the same time we have more potential shoppers and members coming to the area; within the broader culture there is a move toward understanding the importance of our relationship with food; and farms and small producers continue to provide better access to local food sources. These trends provide the opportunity for Oryana to better serve our mission and provide good food and education to a wider community while being a model business by living our cooperative values.
I would represent the member-owners as a director of the board by striving to hear the concerns and opinions of member-owners in both my daily interactions at the store and in the wider community. I believe one of the most important ways I would represent the membership is by helping to ensure that Oryana remains healthy and vibrant by striving to continually meet our ends and grow our impact on the community.