Meet the 2017 Board Candidates
These are the candidates (in alphabetical order) who are running for five open board seats. Voting will take place in the store beginning March 29, at the General Ownership Meeting on April 27, and new this year, online voting! (If you supplied us with an email then you should have received a message from us entitled 'Oryana Annual Election 2017,' which has instructions for voting for new board members online. If you didn't get this email you can vote the old fashioned way, in the store with a paper ballot.) Please take time to get to know the candidates and also make sure your ownership is current so you can vote.
Note: You must have been an owner for 30 days before being eligible to vote, as per the Oryana bylaws.
Kathryn Almquist Danielson
I am interested in serving on the Board of Oryana because, as a long time member, I have grown to appreciate the fine quality of services Oryana provides to our community. I would like to become involved by sharing my energy, personal knowledge, and experiences. I believe I have something to share and am very interested in learning from those who have contributed over the years.
I believe in the value of organically grown produce and products for our health and wellbeing as well as for the sustainability of our earth. I also value cooperative efforts and commitments in both agricultural and business communities. I am currently a member of a local CSA.
I have a B.S. degree from MSU in Plant &and Soil Sciences, a Viticulture and Enology certification from MSU, a Masters of Environmental Law from Vermont Law Schoo. I am a Master Gardener in Leelanau County. I have worked in Environmental Law, a local winery, and have always been an organic farmer in my own backyard every summer. I have 10 years experience as an office manager in a law firm. I’ve been a full time mom for 25 years giving me the experience of multitasking for everything imaginable! I’m currently on the Sutton’s Bay planning commission. I’m a good listener and focused learner and I love new opportunities and adventures.
Significant challenges and opportunities facing Oryana: Continuing forward with the support of our organic farmers and producers by creating fair and honest networking. I believe it is important to provide access to organic products to our community while, at the same time, always searching for means and ways to give our community access to their products at a fair and achievable cost to all.
I would represent owners by listening to their concerns and requests and bringing them to the board. I would always be honest with owners and respect their hard earned dollars.
As an Oryana member/owner for 20 years and former Oryana volunteer for 5 years (until the program ended), I would like to give more to helping keep Oryana as a vital community based cooperative market. I strongly believe in the cooperative principle and have belonged to one or more cooperatives my entire adult life, beginning with a coop in Ecuador as a peace corp volunteer. The strength of Oryana being owned by all of us is what makes us stand out from the competition.
As owners we can take pride in the growth of Oryana over the years, not just for the financial sustainability of our efforts, but also for Oryana being a model workplace with fair wages, benefits and expertise in every department. I think the Board of Directors has consistently promoted values that we as a coop want to promote in our local community and I would like to help continue that mission.
I bring a range of experiences and strengths to the Board. My latest jobs have involved doing bookkeeping & payroll for a small doctor’s office and program scheduling at WNMC, where I have also volunteered for over 15 years. I worked for many years as a carpenter, 7 years as a golf course superintendent, managed production for a print company, and recently managed the TCFF warehouse for 7 years. And, I grow Shiitake mushrooms.
I think the coming competition of Lucky’s and Costco in organic food options will challenge us to be creative in marketing and education. We should continue appealing to those who want to join us as owners in a cooperative venture. We will have to keep the values of community, safe healthy food and products, and local economics at the forefront.
As a board member I would work with other members to ensure we grow appropriately and continue as both a store and community center for those seeking healthy living options. Our efforts in support of the local community and the returns & benefits to all the member/owners are what distinguish us from being just a store.
Sean Burns (Incumbent)
My desire to continue to serve on the Board of Oryana is driven primarily by the reason that I truly feel that Oryana is part of our family and I want to support her the best I can. We will face new competitive pressure with the opening of Lucky’s and Costco and I feel that my years of service on Oryana’s Board coupled with my experience in strategic business development will prove to be an asset to our co-op and our community.
My wife Lori, daughter Emma, and I moved to Traverse City 15 years ago to open our retail business, Green Island Earth Friendly Goods. Our mission is similar to Oryana’s in which we put priority in offering high quality products that are made in environmentally sound and socially responsible ways. We also put a priority in customer service, which is one of my favorite Oryana experiences.
I have had the privilege of serving on the Oryana Board since 2007 so I bring many years of direct experience working for the Owners. During my tenure I have also had the privilege of serving on the executive committee as treasurer and secretary. I am well versed in Policy Governance and have a strong passion for Oryana and her mission.
Oryana has always had some level of competition in the market place. Competition is good as it forces us to constantly improve. With the upcoming launch of Lucky’s in our community we will face a new type of competition, one that is directly focused on our customer base. I know our General Manager and staff are preparing for this new challenge and we should all be confident on their success.
What makes Oryana great and unique is that we are Member Owned. We are a community within a community. We need to reach out to our neighbors and introduce them to the Oryana experience. That is our opportunity.
The primary role of a director is to act on behalf of Owners. If reelected I will continue to support the Owners and be their voice. We all want Oryana to succeed not only in business but in her positive impact in our community.
I value the roles Oryana plays in our community. I would like to play a more active role in ensuring its important position and sustainability. I believe I would bring useful skills to the board based on my personal and professional background in understanding, supporting, and coaching non-profit organizations and various levels of government. Co-ops can thrive when owners invest time and effort in learning about sustainability, community health, and social responsibility. They can further thrive when those same owners are willing to engage in community discussions and education about those issues. I’m excited to invest my time and efforts toward this end.
I’ve spent my professional career helping organizations address community concerns and solve community problems through active citizenship. I am passionate about working on sustainability issues (economic and environmental) in our unique and beautiful community.
I have nearly 20 years of experience in national service programs. I am currently an AmeriCorps Senior Program Officer with the Corporation for National and Community Service. Together with my team, we work with local and national nonprofit organizations on issues including program development, volunteer management, oversight and monitoring, and more. I would bring skills and background in each of these areas as well as the perspective to understand (and appreciate) how community and organizational specifics matter.
Some of the most significant challenges and opportunities I see facing Oryana include
localism paired with efficiency – owners benefit from high quality, wholesome food and products from area businesses which match our values; local businesses benefit from having a marketplace that is producer friendly
Becoming and remaining an option for the whole community regardless of background or income.
I would represent Oryana owners respectfully and openly. I would be available, responsive, and transparent. Finally, I am genuinely interested in questions and ideas owners may have about Oryana, our values, and our place in the community.
Due to a medical circumstance beyond her control, M’Lynn Hartwell was two days late renewing her Oryana membership, and out of a deep respect for Oryana's Bylaws and principles, is withdrawing her candidacy for the 2017 Oryana Board of Directors. Any votes cast for her will be excluded, all other votes will remain valid.
I have been a part of Oryana culture as a customer and friend since your inception in 1973. I moved downstate to get married in 1975, and returned to Traverse City and Oryana in 1989. I have been active on many boards and commissions Oryana has supported over the years. It’s time for me to return the favor.
Since 1970 I have been, and continue to be: Community activist and organizer. A career in media and communication. An event planner. Some of the organizations I have served include, but are not limited to: Bay Bucks, NMEAC, Human Rights Commission.
Local market share as commercial grocers add so called organic (Chinese and other products of questionable origin to their lineup. Brand loyalty. Competition from a Colorado based organization. As you may know, I was a co-founder of BayBucks and have been a strong advocate of living and shopping locally. Money spent here, for the most part stays here. Only local businesses can make this claim, and in these times, living, working, and spending locally as much as possible is becoming increasingly vital, in order to assure that we remain a viable community.
Chris Miller (Incumbent)
I would represent the owners as a caring individual listening attentively to their needs and concerns and conveying these thoughts to the Board via meetings and other opportunities as they arise.
It has been an honor and pleasure serving on the board on behalf of the owners for the past four years. I remember my first election in 2013 when my wife Patti and I brought our newborn to her first General Membership Meeting. Now, as parents of four children, I find that it’s important to raise them with the healthy food and strong values that Oryana has developed in myself and in our community.
In my role as the Front End Assistant Manager, I’ve enjoyed engaging with our owners as they share how they appreciate the direction in which we are going, and I occasionally hear about opportunities for our co-op to improve.
With more competition developing, I hope to still serve the board in the coming years to open channels of communication between owners and the board. Giving our owners, the lifeblood of our co-op, the ability to engage with our directors will ensure that we are providing the experiences and services that will keep Oryana the trusted, vibrant, ‘happy place’ that it has been for my family and others for generations to come.
Chuck Mueller (Incumbent)
I am grateful for having served as a director on Oryana Community Cooperative’s Board for two years. I have learned much about the job and the complexities of a cooperative food business. I am interested in serving on the board for another term because I believe in sustaining and promoting the mission and values of Oryana.
I am passionate about and share many of the values of Oryana: “All are welcome! We embrace diversity! We are committed to serving our owners and community! We promote good health and wellness with the food and products we sell and education to our owners and community! We support our local farmers, other cooperatives and community businesses! We are committed to the Cooperative Principles and intentionally create a model workplace for our employees!”
I bring to this board two years of on-the-job training. I am a retired social worker (40 years experience) committed to the well being of families. I continue to use my skills by volunteering at the State Theater, Opera House and Film Festival. In addition, I am a board member of our local Community Foundation with special focus on children, youth and education.
One of the significant challenges facing Oryana will be to stay financially healthy while maintaining true to its mission and values with increasing competition from other food businesses. We need to clearly communicate the advantages of being an owner of Oryana: “Why shop and invest in Oryana?” We need to be responsive to our owner’s needs and anticipate and prepare for challenges in the future.
I would best represent our owners as a director by being actively present during board and committee meetings, being open to new ideas and knowledge, showing respect to all, recognizing the strengths of all people, making positive connections and supporting change. I will help guide Oryana as it grows into the future making sure Oryana Community Cooperative stays true to its mission and values.
Rebecca Teahen (Incumbent)
I have so enjoyed serving on the board the past ten(!) years. I can’t imagine my life without this role! I value the sense of community, the mission, the values, and the products that are so much a part of my life at Oryana. The co-op is important to me and my family, and to our community.
I am proud to be a part of Oryana because it is an organization that lives its values, which I believe in and also live by. The Cooperative model is one that strengthens communities and promotes equality and social justice by design. I believe this is a model worth supporting and investing in!
Oryana is fortunate to have a strong board of directors, an outstanding General Manager, and a highly capable staff. Each of us brings different strengths to our roles which makes the organization that much stronger. My strengths include an open mind, willingness to discuss diverse viewpoints, accountability, commitment to continuous improvement, and an understanding of our role in policy governance.
The most significant challenges I see ahead for Oryana are competition and a changing landscape. We are facing direct competition and competing for the time and attention of our shoppers within an environment where all of the large format stores are also offering more similar products. The opportunities, however, are many: the strengthening our relationships with our 7,000+ owners and shoppers, the benefit of a locally elected board that directly represents you, our owners, and the benefit of deep roots in our community. Oryana is very well positioned, so I am optimistic we’ll thrive well into the future!
I think the most important thing I can do to represent the owners is to help Oryana stay strong and healthy. The stronger Oryana is, the more we can give back to our owners and the community. But I’m always open to ideas and feedback from owners to ensure we are staying connected and as relevant as ever.
I appreciate your support over the past ten years, and look forward to serving Oryana and all our owners for another term. Thank you!
I have been interested in the cooperative movement since I was a college student at MSU, where I lived in the Student Housing Cooperative in East Lansing. During my time in East Lansing, I also worked for the East Lansing Food Co-op. This experience motivated me to choose Food Industry Management as my major. I then moved to TC and started working for Cherry Capital Foods. I’m very passionate about food and our local food economy, and feel that my leadership orientation and hands-on experience in the food industry and coops could be an asset for Oryana.
I support the core principles of the cooperative movement: democracy, equality, and equity. Additionally, I am passionate about solidarity and social responsibility within the food system. Above all, as the former Treasurer of my student housing cooperative, I value respecting the democratic process and acting in the best interests of the member-owners.
I have experience both in cooperatives and in the food industry. As a student, I was employed by ELFCO, and was a member of the student housing cooperative, where I served for one year as corporate treasurer. I studied food industry management at MSU, and worked for a year as a Analyst for CCF. I’m currently employed as a strategist for Tamarack Holdings, the holding company of CCF. As a leader, I believe in and emulate self-responsibility, honesty, and openness.
The region is likely to experience accelerating growth in the coming years. This will bring with it new market opportunities for Oryana, but will also increase the likelihood of additional competitors. Addressing these challenges and opportunities will require Oryana to be on and ahead of trend and to fully understand the unique value proposition that will help maintain a vibrant competitive edge.
I believe in democracy and utilitarianism as key guiding philosophies in cooperative governance. In addition to my experience working within cooperatives, I believe that my education, my relatively short tenure in northwest Michigan, and my Millennial demography will provide me with unique perspectives as an Oryana board member.
I have been an Oryana owner for many years and believe in supporting our local Cooperative. As a healthcare provider, I am a firm believer in local, homegrown organic food grown in our local community. I advocate for this with the patients I serve. I am at a place in my career where I can give back to our community and have placed Oryana as the top organization I would like to be a part of.
I personally subscribe to a whole, local, organic food diet, primarily consuming a plant-based diet myself. As an advocate for integrative health and wellness, Oryana supports my values, for myself, my community, and my patients.
I have been a healthcare provider for the past 38 years, adult nurse practitioner for the past 12 years, most recently as a nurse practitioner for the Department of Veterans Affairs, running the Cadillac community-based outpatient clinic. I have a strong focus on integrative health and wellness, adherence to nutritional guidelines and the foods that are consumed as it relates to overall health, wellness, disease management and prevention. I am currently enrolled in the 200 hour yoga teacher training program that coincides with my overall goals in giving back to a healthy community.
The most significant challenge I see facing Oryana today, is competition in the local market as the Traverse City area community continues to grow and more chain markets begin to move to our community. It is imperative that the community rally around our local cooperative during times of growth and change. I also believe that continued expansion, with the addition of a second store being placed on the east side of town, is important. I know this had been contemplated in the past two years but plans were put on hold. I believe this should be revisited.
I am a strong advocate for our community and with my background in medical practice, health and wellness, I believe I would be an asset to the Oryana board.