2022 Oryana Board of Directors Election Results

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A total of 2559 valid ballots were cast by Oryana owners to fill three director positions. The top three candidates with the most votes will each serve full three-year terms.

Colleen Valko – 727
Tricia Phelps – 674
Chuck Mueller – 627
Andrew Moore – 531

Andrew Moore

Hello Oryana community! My name is Andrew Moore and I’m hoping to serve Oryana, its owners, and the Board because I believe healthy, sustainably-minded, and connected neighbors are the core to a happy and thriving community. I would cherish the opportunity to serve you by supporting the organization in its proven mission and Ends Policies while offering a fresh perspective as Oryana looks towards the future.

Emily (my wife) and I are owners because our values closely align with that of the co-op. As a Type-1 diabetic (along with Emily’s work as a conservationist), healthy, local, and sustainable food options are not only important to our diets but are true to who we are. We are so grateful that Oryana exceeds our needs and is a celebration of all the good Northern Michigan has to offer.

I’m lucky to call my passion ‘work’ on a daily basis – connecting food, people, and place at Cherry Republic. As Marketing Director and leadership team member, my most important role is ensuring our organization’s values and vision are authentic and meaningful to team members and customers alike. I believe my experience shaping and sharing core human-centered principles is a natural fit for the Oryana board.

Oryana has been a successful co-op because its inclusive and locally-focused character resonates with our Northern Michigan community. I’m happy to say Oryana is wonderful as it is! That said, there are always opportunities. As our community continues to evolve and diversify, my hope is that Oryana is on the forefront of change, driving inclusive and innovative ideas while keeping the spirit of Northern Michigan at heart. 

Oryana is a special place and I’d love to join the decades of amazing work and love that Oryana staff, owners, and board members have put into our community.

Chuck Mueller

Incumbent – I have been fortunate that Oryana owners have entrusted me to represent them for 7 years as a board member. Thank you! I take this role and responsibility seriously. During this period, I have learned much about Oryana and our incredible community. 

I have given a lot of thought about running for another term. I am choosing to run again because of my strong passion and commitment to Oryana’s mission and ends. I will continue to make meaningful contributions to the board as we move forward into the future. 

Our 50th anniversary is in 2023! Oryana has made an incredible impact in our community! It has been my honor to be part of the “Fantastic Oryana Experience” as an owner and board member. I affirm the values and cooperative business model which are foundational for Oryana. People, planet, and purpose before profit is a simple but powerful way to describe the guiding star for Oryana, something that I embrace. We are fortunate to have an excellent board, staff, administrative team and a loyal group of supportive owners to assure success now and in the future. To date, we have over 10,000 owners! 

My social work experiences in special education and child welfare have given me the skills to work with a diverse population of people, and be a more effective board member. If elected for another term, I will be part of an amazing team at Oryana. One of our biggest challenges ahead is balancing the needs of our owners and maintaining fiscal strength and growth while being true to our mission and ends. That, of course, is why I am so passionate about Oryana Community Cooperative. We look beyond profit and keep our sights on our mission to impact the health and welfare of our owners and community.

Tricia Phelps

I have long appreciated Oryana as a leader, collaborator and institution in Traverse City. In 2020 I moved to Old Towne and my appreciation for it has only expanded throughout that time. After 10 years in the local food industry and five years leading a successful mission-aligned business, I

believe I can give back to the co-op with my time and show my appreciation in new ways.

Oryana has always been a shining example of how to invest in and support our local community. I’ve been proud to work alongside Oryana in this space and bring a lot of the same values of localism, community, and economic sustainability to the table. Additionally, as I’ve developed a workplace culture at Taste the Local Difference, I’ve also been grateful for Steve and the management’s transparency in showcasing what they do to be a high-quality employer. I believe allowing other employers to better understand how Oryana “lives its values” only continues to expand its impact.

As an entrepreneurial leader I believe my strengths are in creative problem solving, building systems and culture. Additionally because my work is deeply entrenched in the local food scene and marketing local food, I believe those are also strengths I will bring to the table that benefit Oryana, its members, and the board.

I’m curious to learn how the growth of the staff (with the additional location) and COVID-related challenges in the last two years have impacted staff culture, hiring, etc. I recognize this as a challenge in many businesses right now and would look forward to supporting the GM alongside others on the Board in these efforts.

Policy governance is new to me in practice, but I look forward to learning and contributing as a thought partner while maintaining focus on key values that represent Oryana’s member interests.

Colleen Valko

Incumbent – In my two terms on the board, I have witnessed resounding successes and difficult challenges in the company of dedicated and passionate employees and board members. With five years of Oryana board service, four as treasurer, I am eager to apply the knowledge and experience I have gained to a third term and am excited to support our co-op’s ambitious goals.

Recent years have shown it is impossible to predict what we will face in the future. To address the inevitable challenges and opportunities, we must continue to fully understand our unique value proposition that helps to maintain a vibrant and competitive edge in our region. It is essential that the board reflect on and improve our processes to support healthy board perpetuation. This is key to protecting the owners’ assets and ensuring a fiscally sound and viable co-op. In the three committees I sit on, we are already tackling some of this work and are only at the beginning. I value respecting the democratic process and acting in the best interests of the owners and am deeply committed to the thoughtful monitoring and evaluation of Oryana’s ends policies. It has been an honor to represent you in this work for the past five years.

My career path is driven by my personal passion for food and our local economy. In addition to my experience serving on Oryana’s board, I have worked for local and natural food businesses with a focus on strategy, planning, and analysis for over a decade. I am truly excited to dive into the work ahead of us and feel that my leadership orientation and hands-on experience working in the food industry and with cooperatives will continue to be an asset for Oryana and its owners.