Board of Directors
La Montañita’s mission is to provide to our member-owners, at the lowest price possible, exemplary customer service, environmentally sound products, and the highest quality natural and organic food. We are committed to ethical business practices, participatory management, and cooperative principles. Our intention is to provide to the entire community, through practice and education, a working model for a healthy, sustainable, future.
Global Ends Policy: A co-operative community built on beneficial relationships based in healthy food, sound environmental practices, and a strong local economy with results that justify the resources used.
As a native New Mexican going back several generations, I was raised farming and ranching as a child. The farmers were on my mother’s side and the ranchers on my father’s. Working with my maternal grandpa, I farmed and learned to appreciate the meaning and importance of pure food – the food we now call organic. Truth is, the organic principle was born on farms like ours. All winter long we cleaned out the barns and the corrales of the goats, sheep, pigs and chickens and used the manure to fertilize our land. Then in the Spring we plowed all of that right into the Earth.
I graduated from West Mesa High School with a few years of vocational training at St. Joseph’s College and TVI. I wanted to be a school teacher, but after a couple of years, I changed my mind and migrated to the food industry. I was the lead server for Gardunos and the corporate trainer for the entire wait staff. It was here that I developed my customer service skills. Then I discovered my talent in sales, and built a successful career in retail fashion for over 20 years. Still, my passion was simple: I just wanted to work with organic food and healthier choices. So I left my job at Dillard’s for La Montanita.
When I started at the Co-op eleven and 1/2 years ago, I wanted to work in Produce but landed instead in Grocery, It took another a year-and-a half but I finally got that job: working alongside local, clean and organic produce and farmers. I am proud of the Co-op that promotes and sells local. We’re a community-based organization, helping other local organizations and I believe in supporting our local economy. I also shop and buy local.
I have lived in New Mexico for a long time ! I moved here after attending Colorado State University and the University of Texas. I worked in the forests for several years cutting vigas, firewood, and finally graduating to musical instrument wood, milling guitar and violin soundboards from New Mexico Engleman Spruce.
James Glover — Treasurer
I moved to New Mexico from the UK in 2011. Upon arrival in Albuquerque, I began working for the Co-op on Rio Grande and fell in love with the community spirit and ethical values. After my time at the Co-op, I moved back into my field of study. I hold a BS in environmental science and an MS in water management, and began my environmental career in the UK. I now own and operate an environmental consultancy in Albuquerque. Through my business, I have had the privilege of working closely with many local Pueblos; experiencing the wonders of Native American culture. I reside in the Nob Hill area of Albuquerque with my wife and two children.
Mike Hildebrand — Secretary
I have been working in the natural foods/supplements sector for more than 25 years, including 4 years at People’s Co-op in San Diego, CA. I am currently working as the Wellness DTL at our Santa Fe location (4 years). Because I’ve been shopping and/or working at natural foods cooperatives for most of my adult life, I believe I have a sound sense of their potential and what contributes to their effectiveness. I am a firm believer in socially responsible, local, and more democratic models of business. I enjoy working with and serving others towards bettering their lives, empowering their voice, and creating more social bonds. I love co-ops!
Bio coming soon.
Chad Jones — President
Chad Jones is a writer and economist who regularly bakes brownies, sourdough, and/or cakes. His favorite vegetables are onions. He was trained in group dynamics, facilitation, and the craft of asking questions as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in New York City. On 9/11, he was eight blocks north of the World Trade Center in Tribeca, working in the municipal workforce development agency. He is a member of the Santa Fe NAACP and has previously served on the boards of Grassroots International, Resource Generation, and The Stone House. He lives in Santa Fe with his partner and daughter where he gardens, hikes in state and national parks, and visits the public library.
Susan Michie has a PhD in Business Administration. Her research and studies focused on strategic management and organizational behavior. She moved to Albuquerque in 2008 to teach at UNM and decided to retire there. During her professional career, she served as a director on both corporate and not-for-profit boards. Before all of that, she grew up on a small farm in Oklahoma. Her family raised dairy cattle, chickens, goats and organic vegetables. That experience shaped her beliefs about food and how it should be produced and consumed. She is a strong advocate for chemical- and cruelty-free sustainable farming. Currently, she lives in Nob Hill with her life partner of almost 40 years. They enjoy cooking together, salsa dancing, and hiking with their dog, Zoey.
Jessica Swan — Vice President
I like to read and go to museums. I enjoy horseback riding, swimming in fresh water, hiking in the mountains, teaching cooking classes, farming and spending time with my beautiful, diverse New Mexican familia!
I like to be active in my families lives. I am blessed to have a partner of 15 years and two young children. I believe in fair trade for our workers and farmers. I support community education of our Co-op’s local foods and cooperative values. I believe in sharing and sustaining the resources our Earth provides us. I support cooperative principles within our food system and community.
I look forward to working with you and my fellow Board of Directors.
Send an email to TalkWithTheBoard@LaMontanita.coop if you would like to share any questions, comments or concerns with the Board of Directors. This shared Board email address is checked daily, so please use this email address rather than individual Board member email addresses for the most prompt response.
La Montañita’s Board governs through a process called Policy Governance. The model emphasizes the board’s role in clearly stating what the organization is to accomplish (Ends Policies) while avoiding unacceptable actions (Executive Limitations Policies). The Board also writes policies about its own governing process as well as policies that describe its relationship to the General Manager. As you examine our policies, it’s important to understand that the Board’s job is to explain through its policies what it expects of the organization and then delegates all related issues beyond the written policies on Ends and Executive Limitations to our General Manager. So, as long as the General Manager accomplishes our Ends and avoids those situations described in Executive Limitations, the board is satisfied. We as a Board strive to do our job and allow our General Manager to do the work we delegate to her/him. The General Manager demonstrates accountability to the Board by producing regular reports explaining how he/she is complying with Board policies. For additional information about the model go to: http://www.carvergovernance.com/model.htm
- Increased access to, and purchase of healthy foods.
- A growing regenerative agriculture sector that uses sound environmental practices.
- A thriving and sustainable local economy that benefits members and community.
- A strengthened co-operative community.
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training, and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for the community
- La Montañita Co-op members elect other members to serve on the board. The nine board members spend many hours making sure the Co-op provides what you, the members, want. The Board of Directors also sets goals and provides the vision and guidance for the organization.
- The Co-op board hires the Cooperative Retail Officer and Cooperative Operations and Support Officer to manage the business as a whole.
- The Cooperative Retail Officer and Cooperative Operations and Support Office work in the cooperative spirit to ensure effective leadership across the Co-op
- The Cooperative Retail Officer and Cooperative Operations and Support Officer hire and oversees the staff in their respective Divisions to take care of the co-op for other members.
Attend Board Meetings
Regular Board meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM, and member-owners are welcome to attend. We are in the process of moving to a new location (tbd). If you would like to attend and are unsure where we will be meeting, please contact us at TalkWithTheBoard@LaMontanita.coop. The first hour (5:30-6:30 pm) is a Community Education Session, during which co-op Board, staff, and member-owners explore a topic that relates to our role in the community. Agendas are posted on the bulletin boards in the stores three days before the meetings, and on our website here.
As a member, you are eligible to run for the board. Every fall, members elect candidates to the Co-op’s nine-member Board of Directors. Contact us to become a candidate in the next Board of Directors election. Economic Democracy is the key in the cooperative philosophy, and it distinguishes cooperatives from the standard corporate structure.
Member engagement, Finance, Nominations and Elections, Bylaws, Board Development. For more information regarding the board’s committee work, please email the board at TalkWithTheBoard@LaMontanita.coop.