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2021 Annual Meeting Notice

WHAT: Potsdam Food Co-op Annual Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, February 9th. The meeting starts at 6 pm

WHERE: ZOOM, virtual. Register HERE: http://bit.ly/CoopAnnualMeeting

YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED!

Potsdam Food Co-op 2021 Board Member Candidate Bios

if you didn’t receive your proxy authorization via email, let us know and we’ll send you one

  • Megan Lane (3-year term)               
  • Andy Rawdon (3-year term)    
  • Kellie Hitchman (3-year term)          
  • Kim Jukic (2-year term)
  • Marshall Issen (3-year term)            
  • Deborah Massell (1-year term)

Megan Lane

I have been a member of the Potsdam Food Co-op since approximately 2005. 
My experience with the Co-op goes back to when my children were very young and I was a volunteer. Then, between 2015 and 2017 I was employed as the Co-op’s “Packaging Supervisor”. In addition to assisting customers and keeping the shelves stocked and attractive, I was in charge of organizing and overseeing volunteers as they packaged food. It was a great opportunity for me to meet a wide variety of people, make some lasting friendships as well as learn how a food co-operative operates. The connections I made with the shoppers, staff, volunteers, and delivery people made my job a socially-rich experience every day.
 
There are many things I appreciate about the Co-op. Mainly I value how it serves as a hub for people with interests in the areas of health, cooking, fitness, and the environment. People who care about these kinds of issues are interesting and inspiring…and I can often find them at the 
Co-op. The Potsdam Co-op also serves as a landing place for new residents. While working there I met many folks who started volunteering at the Co-op immediately upon moving to the area. They were trying to make connections to their new community and they chose to begin the process at the Co-op. I believe the Potsdam Food Co-op serves a vital role in the community that could not be easily replaced. 

Currently, I work, with my husband Dan, at our farm Kent Family Growers in Lisbon. In my non-working time, I enjoy cycling, hiking, x-country skiing, drawing, and reading. I believe that with my background and skill-set, I would make a valuable Board Member for the Potsdam Co-op. I want to help further the mission of the Co-op while working with other like-minded people. 

Looking to the future, I hope that we can educate students and other newcomers to our region, about the Potsdam Food Co-op and what it has to offer. I feel that more advertising and community outreach has to be conducted in order to let people know what makes the Co-op a special place. With that said, I applaud the new changes, signage and other marketing efforts the staff and general manager have been implementing.

Kellie Hitchman

Although I frequented the Co-op several times a month for many years, I officially became a member in May of 2020! 
 
The first meaningful experience I had with the Co-op was participating in the Annual Meeting as an intern with a local non-profit about 15 years ago. It was a particularly dreary fall day, the weather wasn’t great and it was VERY muddy, but the member turnout was huge and everyone was happy! I remember enjoying the opportunity to meet so many people I didn’t normally have the opportunity to interact with. As I moved on through adulthood and placed a higher value on a healthy lifestyle I continued to appreciate the many offerings of the Co-op.

Both personally and professionally I have always had an interest in groups and organizations that help to improve or bring something special to our community. I think the Co-op is one of a kind and would be happy to serve on the Board.

My professional background has centered around the organization and program promotion so I think I could bring some of that to the Board. As I said previously, I enjoy being involved with groups that work to improve our community. I think there are many opportunities for organizations to work together and I would like to help make that happen if possible.
I appreciate the Co-op’s commitment to the community and its constant growth and evolution.

At this point, I don’t know what I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to speak up!
I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens with the Co-op’s DRI project. It would mean incredible things for the Co-op and our community!

Marshall Issen

I have been a member since about 2001, about a year or so after my spouse and I moved to Potsdam from Chicago.

The list here is very long. First, it’s the members and staff! I could not find a friendlier atmosphere to grocery shop. In addition to the variety of items and the availability of locally produced items, I also appreciate the convenience of the store in terms of parking and shopping efficiency. The Carriage House Bakery rocks! We only buy our bread there now as nothing else compares to it in terms of quality and selection for fresh baked goods. Finally, I really appreciate the choices from the Deli. The selection is tasty and I usually can find something for a quick lunch and dinner options!

When I first joined, I did the packaging. Around 2002, a Core-Working Member-Owner position opened up and I have been filling the bulk bins and keeping the bulk food items organized in the back cooler until this Fall. I had to take a leave from this position due to a shoulder injury, as it affected my ability to lift the bulk food bags.

I have decided to run for a seat on the Board of Directors for a variety of reasons. I was approached several years ago by a former Board member about considering a Board position. At the time, I was still very happy to do my part as a Core-Working Member-Owner and did not want to leave my position in the store. Since my “retirement” from filling the bulk food bins, I have been looking for another way to contribute. I mentioned this to a friend on the Board who told me about the current opportunity to run.

I have degrees in Mechanical Engineering (BS) and in International Business (MS) with a focus on Management/ Economics/Finance and spent most of my professional career at a safety certification company based in the Chicagoland area. My last position was in management (sales and marketing) where I had budgetary responsibility for staff and programs in excess of $2,000,000 annually. I teach project management and other project-based classes at Clarkson. I am also involved in an organization where I hold a Board position, Vice-Chairperson/Treasurer. This group runs an annual summer event on the St. Lawrence River in Massena. I also volunteer at Reachout of St. Lawrence County, answering the crisis hotline during a regular summer shift and during breaks in the academic year. It is through education, work experiences, and volunteer work that I have become quite familiar with accounting principles/financial reports. I expect to tap into the experiences from business/ academia, volunteer work, and academic background as I work with the rest of the Board members in setting the direction for the future of the Potsdam Food Co-Op.

Co-op’s DRI project. It would mean incredible things for the Co-op and our community!

Andy Rawdon

I have been a member of the Co-op since February 2018 when I moved to Potsdam following my retirement. I previously lived in Potsdam in the early 1960s when my father taught at Clarkson, and again from 1973 to 1977 when I was an undergraduate at SUNY Potsdam. I now do freelance grant writing for several national and international organizations. Since joining the Co-op I have volunteered on the fundraising committee tasked with exploring options for funding of the proposed Co-op relocation and expansion. As a Co-op Board member, I will be able to increase my involvement in the dynamics of this transition and help to enhance the organization’s stability and growth.

I am an attorney and a professional grant writer. I have over 40 years’ business experience in government, corporate and nonprofit environments. I have a life-long commitment to environmental, economic, and social justice ideals. The presence of a food Co-op represents a community’s endorsement of these ideals. What do I appreciate most about the Co-op? When considering where I wanted to retire, the existence of a food Co-op was a prerequisite. What do I think is working well? The Potsdam Co-op fulfills the increasingly-important value of encouraging and supporting local suppliers. What do I think is missing? The Co-op needs to expand so it can support more local suppliers yet retain a quality “experience” for its members and shoppers. The future will see the Co-op as an increasingly-important, vibrant, and welcoming resource in downtown Potsdam.

Kim Jukic

My family and I moved to Potsdam during the summer of 2004 and became members of the Co-op in September of that same year.  The Co-op became a quick favorite of everyone in our household.  Being able to walk to the Co-op and shop for local food while enjoying its friendly atmosphere, the benefits of helpful staff, and a comforting mix of music played throughout the store is one of the best aspects of living in this community.

I served on the Board of the Co-op from 2005 – 2008 and found that experience to be tremendously educational and rewarding, so much so that I hoped to be able to serve a second term once the opportunity presented itself.  During my first two years on the Board, I became involved with the Finance Committee which oversaw the implementation of a new point of sale system, participated in a reset and renovation of the store, and worked to ensure the successful completion of a five-year financial audit.  During my last year on the Board, I served as president.  To have worked and planned with such an incredible group of individuals who care deeply about the continued success of the Co-op was truly an honor. 
 
In addition to serving on the Board, I have been involved in the hiring process of two managers, volunteered and participated in the annual holiday baking fests and annual open houses, and have written for the newsletter.  Each experience was enriching and fueled growth and learning.  This is an exciting time to be a part of the planning of the future direction of the Co-op.  I believe that expansion is paramount to continued success and long term stability for the Co-op. I am looking forward to helping move the Co-op in that direction while ensuring that the Co-op maintains its unique charm and dedication to treating all of its customers like family.

Deborah Massell

I’ve been a proud Co-op member since 2000. I found the Co-op the week I was interviewing for the job I still hold at the Crane School of Music.

I have been on the Board of the Co-op for the last year as a short-term replacement, as well as on the Outreach and Fundraising Committees. Before that, I volunteered as a working member many times, but most often it was my husband, Jackson, who could be found working on the stone wall and seating area next to the Co-op, repairing the parking area after a hard winter, setting up the plant tables and watering system every spring, and working in the Bakery. He did anything and everything the Co-op needed. His stroke in July of 2017 and the subsequent loss of his physical presence in Potsdam was felt keenly by me of course, but also by many of the community projects we worked on together with his “can-do” spirit. Luckily, he is still a reliable resource for advice and loves all the food I bring him from the Co-op!

Our Co-op needs continual input and energy from as many of us in the community as possible. It is a true community institution, seeking to deliver the best, most healthy local food. Our food travels the least distance and comes from the land we live on, that we can watch cultivated by our neighbors and our friends. That passion for locally grown plants is what drives me to support our Co-op in any way it might need.

I am a teacher and a performer. I love helping individuals and our community grow, and cooking up local projects. In 2008, I brought the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD to the Potsdam Roxy Theater and introduced hundreds and hundreds of North Country residents to the phenomenon of opera. In 2012, we rescued a dash-into-the-street kind of dog, and after four years of fundraising, forest-clearing, and fencing, we finally opened the gates to the Potsdam Community Dog Park. Both projects took an understanding and galvanizing of our community resources and an ability to help negotiate with long-standing institutions.

From the moment we came into town, the staff we met at the Co-op, the food we found, and the way the whole place lifted our spirits at the beginning or end of a long day was strong motivation to be a part of something that was so embedded in the community. It’s a personal place where staff and shoppers know each other’s names and care about each other’s lives. The Co-op is the place I go shopping for the freshest fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, as well as the most diverse selection of vegan-friendly packaged foods in the entire North Country. Our Co-op is a place of community, a place for us to have a say in what and how we eat.

I want to help our Co-op to expand, to reach more people in order to provide a venue for learning and distributing the best our food system can provide. We can become a teaching institution with a focus on health and well-being. We can host wellness and cooking classes, tastings, and joint ventures with other food and beverage producers. We can be the hub of local and organic food in the North Country, and we can answer to the people of the North Country with all of our personal attention and expertise. 

And since my husband is now disabled, I have a personal stake in making our Co-op more user-friendly, and easier to access and navigate. We need to become a welcoming site for everyone, no matter their physical capacity. I think the Co-op needs to be a place for anyone and everyone to shop, to cultivate understanding and knowledge. Diversity in all its many forms is our richness and we need to be at the center of promoting that with open doors.

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