2017 Board of Directors Election

2017 Board of Directors Election

 

This year’s Board of Directors election has closed. The election ran from Nov 1 – Nov 14, and member-owners could vote online or by paper ballot. Paper ballots are now in the process of being counted, and we will share election results once they have been finalized by our election manager.

 

 
This year, we had 14 candidates running to sit on our Board of Directors. Six seats on the Board were open in this year’s election: three 3-year positions and three 1-year positions. There were four member-owner Director seats and two Co-op staff member Director seats. Seats will be assigned to candidates based on the number of votes they received, with the three candidates who receive the most votes being assigned to the three-year term seats. Additionally, this year’s election included a series of proposed Bylaw revisions for member-owners to vote on. Each proposed Bylaw line item change was standalone and was voted on separately; it was not an all or nothing vote. 2017’s Board of Directors election ran Nov. 1 through Nov. 14.

Bylaw Revision Proposals

This year, the Board has developed a number of revisions to our cooperative Bylaws for member-owners to consider and vote on. The Bylaws were last updated in 2013, and this year’s proposed changes are geared toward aligning them with NM State Statutes and modifying the processes under which La Montañita Cooperative functions. To view the Bylaw revision proposals, click on the box below:

Click to View: 2017 Bylaw Revision Proposals

Each proposed revision will be voted on separately, so member-owners may vote to approve or reject each of the following proposals independently from one another. For the official Board-approved revision proposal document, click here. The current Bylaws can always be found on the Board of Directors Documents page.

Purpose: The purpose of this proposal is to amend the Bylaws date 2013 to align with State Statutes 53- 4-1 through 53-4-45 and modify processes under which the La Montañita Co-operative functions. The Board has approved these changes to be brought forward to the full La Montañita membership for Vote to accept or not accept each proposed change. These changes will be listed on the Ballot during the 2017 La Montañita Annual Election, and those passed, to be placed into effect immediately following the 2017 Annual Election.

Background: La Montañita Bylaws periodic review contributes to a vibrant Co-operative organization aligned with the changing needs of the organization and membership, as well as gaining compliance with governing applicable statutes. The 2017 La Montañita Policy Committee proposed Bylaws amendments below seek to:
(1) Align La Montañita Bylaws with the applicable New Mexico State Statutes 53-4-1 thru 53-4-45.
(2) Clarify or modify such processes documented in the La Montañita Bylaws, for those processes that have been questioned or had issues raised and brought forth to the Policy Committee on behalf of the membership.

Proposed Changes:

1. Section 1.2
Current: “The “primary member” of the household is also the only member of the household who will have the right to vote in elections for the Board of Directors, cast mail ballots, and vote at membership meetings.”
Change To: “Each household (membership number) shall have the right to cast one vote in elections for the Board of Directors, ballots, surveys, at membership meetings etc. A household is defined as names associated with the membership number.”
Rationale: Often each membership number has an entire household associated. It is up to that household to determine who votes and no member of the household should be subjugated.

2. Section 1.2.5
Current: “The lifetime membership fee paid before November 19, 2013 shall be refundable after a period of two years after payment of the fee. If the lifetime membership is refunded, the household’s membership will no longer be considered current.
Lifetime membership fees paid after November 19, 2013 may be refundable in the discretion of management after consultation with the President of the Board of Directors…
Change To: “Lifetime memberships may be refundable at the discretion of managementafter consultation with the President of the Board of Director…”
Rationale: Any reference to November 19, 2013 is no longer applicable. The refund process is in the Bylaws.

3. Section 2.1
Remove: “Members will have a two week period of Voting”.
Rationale: The Policy Committee does not endorse this as something that should be in the Bylaws. This will give La Montañita Co-operative the flexibility of timing and account for changes to use of electronic methods. The duration of the voting period will be addressed in the Elections and Nominations Committee in coordination with Community Development.

4. Section 2.3
Current: “All candidates for Director shall be honest and caring people and shall have been members in good standing of the Co-operative for the four (4) months prior to Board elections.”
Change To: “All candidates for Director shall be honest and caring people and shall have be members in good standing of the Co-operative for the twelve (12) months prior to Board elections.”
Rationale: La Montañita Co-operative faces many unique challenges given its size, diverse range of locations, along with functioning as a Co-operative business in New Mexico. Active participation as an invested stakeholder in the New Mexico and La Montañita Community through attendance at membership events, Board or Committee meetings, engagement as a staff team member or volunteer exposes potential Board members as to the challenges and opportunities facing the organization.

5. Section 2.3
Current: “Up to two (2) of the nine (9) Board positions may be filled by part-time or full-time staff members.”
Change To: “Up to three (3) of the nine (9) Board positions may be filled by part-time or full-time La Montañita Team members.”
Rationale: The Bylaws are structured to allow for three 3-year Board terms elected each year. As stated “up to ….may be…” there is no guarantee that staff will run for a Board seat, and/or gain enough votes, and this may lead to inadequate representation from an organizational perspective on the Board. As a co-operative, it is vital that team members’ voice be heard, non-team member and team members jointly understand the opportunities and challenges facing the organization, as well as ensuring team members have input on any major decisions facing the Co-operative due to continuously changing economic conditions.

6. Section 2.3
Current: “There shall be only one Board member per household. The following are not eligible to serve on the Board: 1. The General Manager; 2. Anyone directly supervised by the General Manager; 3. Anyone supervised by the Board.”
Change To: “There shall be only one Board member per household. The following are not eligible to serve on the Board: 1. Anyone directly supervised by the Board; 2. Anyone directly supervised by a person directly supervised by the Board.”
Rationale: This enables changes in the organizational structure without requiring a rewrite of the Bylaws. It still maintains the intent of the original statement.

7. Section 2.7
Add: Section 2.7a and incorporate all currently in Section 2.7, items 1-12.
Rationale: Need to add a Section 2.7b to establish Directors compensation

8. Section 2.7
Add: Section 2.7b to read: “ Non-Staff Directors shall receive any compensation in the form of the staff employee discount against the La Montañita Co-operative member number each time they shop at any of the La Montañita Co-operative stores for their service to the Co-operative. Staff Directors shall receive compensation in the form of $150/mo. All Directors may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties to the Co-operative, as approved by the Board.
Rationale: If Non-Staff Directors are to receive compensation it should be aligned with the values of the Co-operative and for the benefit of the Co-operative. The Staff Directors already receive the staff employee discount and therefore monetary compensation is warranted.

9. Section 2.7
Add: 2.7.a.3.i: Provide quarterly financial updates to the Members at the Monthly Business Meeting.
Rationale: It is important for the members to understand the financial status of La Montañita Co-operative throughout the year and be able to understand and/or make decisions as required. Waiting until the end of the year is ineffective and non-responsive to the challenges facing La Montañita Co-operative in the current economic environments.

10. Section 2.7
Current: Section 2.7.a.10 “Make an annual report to the State Corporation Commission within sixty (60) days of the end of the Association’s fiscal year and keep a copy on file at the principal office of the Association.”
Change To: “Make an annual report to the New Mexico Secretary of State within sixty
(60) days of the end of the Association’s fiscal year and keep a copy on file at the principal office of the Association.”
Rationale: The responsibility to maintain corporate reports has shifted from the State Corporation Commission to the New Mexico Secretary of State. All cooperative association annual reports must be submitted to the New Mexico Secretary of State.

11. Section 2.7
Current: Section 2.7.a.4 “Hire and fire managers and establish committees, make policies for their guidance, and approve their job descriptions.”
Change To: “Hire and fire direct reports to the Board and establish committees, make policies for their guidance, and approve their job descriptions.”
Rationale: The current language is not clear about whom the Board can hire and fire.
The concern is the Board could fire employees who do not report directly to the Board without following the process defined in the employee manual.

12. Section 2.7
Current: Section 2.7.a.8 “Have the books of the Association reviewed at the end of each fiscal year by a CPA selected by the Board.”
Change To: “Have the books of the Association audited at the end of each fiscal year by a CPA selected by the Board.”
Rationale: La Montañita Co-operative Association must undergo an annual audit in compliance with NM State Statutes 53- 4, 33. Books; auditing.

13. Section 3.1
Current: “The Board of Directors shall elect the officers at a Board meeting immediately preceding the general election.”
Change To: “The Board of Directors shall elect the officers at a monthly member attended La Montañita Co-operative Board meeting immediately following the general election.”
Rationale: La Montañita Co-operative Officers and Directors should be elected openly in front of the membership. By electing the officers preceding the general election, newly elected Board Members are ineligible for a position as an officer. The change allows newly elected Board Members an opportunity to serve as an officer.

14. Section 5.4
Add: “The voting procedures will be those established in Section 5.1.”
Rationale: La Montañita Co-operative has effective processes in place for voting. There is no need to create additional costs or processes.

15. Renumber Bylaws to incorporate membership approved changes to improve readability.

 

Board of Directors Candidates

Mark Abramson

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
When we first thought about moving to New Mexico from Ohio, we were introduced to the unique community that is the Co-Op. We were impressed with the diversity of product and the professionao and congenial staff. When we purchase our home in Albuquerque, the store on rio Grande was our neighborhood store, and we have used it as a base not only for food purchases, but for meetings over coffee.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Business, Retail

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montanita’s reach in our community is significant, with locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Gallup. It must continue its outreach promoting healthy food and lifestyle. It must enhance its role as a communication link both in the stores and through its online access.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I am a retailer focused on bringing new product ideas to our community, maintaining a focus on knowledge and skills in a friendly environment. Leadership is influence built on trust that is earned. This is the hallmark of our business, and needs to be developed in all aspects of the Co-Op experience.
There must be a clarity of purpose, and the leadership of the Co-Op must communicate that purpose throughout the organization. More imprtantly, I advocate that customers of the Co-Op also know and understand that purpose. Other than paying membership, every member ought to know and own the seven principles guiding membership, goverance, participation, independence, cooperation and concern within the Co-Op community and outside.
I am committed to growing this role and driving evaluation of each of those principles as key performance indicatorsa and evaluating the delivery of goods in our stores.

 


David Bacon

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I’ve been a member of the co-op for over 20 years. I am currently on the membership engagement committee. I’ve volunteered at several Earth Days.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Other
I have co-hosted a radio show on KSFR for 15 years, called “Living on the Edge.” We cover local political, environmental, and cultural issues. I ran for Governor of NM as the Green Party candidate in 2002. I have supported and worked with the Quivira Coalition, which promotes regenerative farming and ranching practices. I served on the State Land Trust advisory board for 13 years as a conservation representative. I helped Marian Naranjo at Santa Clara Pueblo build a traditional piki bread house. I have built greenhouses, anti-erosion sturctures, and participated in the seed sharing events put on by the eight Northern Pueblos and the Acequia Association. I’ve worked for years on watershed restoration.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
An important part of La Montañita’s role is to support small, non-corporate regenerative farming and ranching in New Mexico and underserved communities. We need to let people know about the great advantages of our co-op and how we are an alternative to the hyper-corporate model of most grocery stores.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
New Mexico is the ancestral home of two of the oldest and most succesful agricultural communities in our nation: the Pueblo people and the Acequia people. There is a renaissance occuring right now within these two communities to return to traditional ways of agriculture, which honor the earth, the water, and the people. I think our co-op can play a supportive role in this renaissance in a respectful and reciprocal manner. Our co-op has a great deal to offer and a great deal to learn.

 


Emily Conway

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I have been a regular shopper at the co-op since moving to Albuquerque in 2009.

As a licensed massage therapist, I volunteered my time giving free chair massage to the employees of our North Valley store several times last year.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Business, Strategic Planning, Other
I am a business owner and community activist. I received a degree in Supply Chain Management from TCU in 2007, and I have been studying natural healing modalities for the past 7 years.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montañita plays an important educational role in our community.

People shop for “good deals” — usually that means cheaper prices, but the co-op has the opportunity to educate our community on why it is a BETTER deal to sometimes pay higher prices. — When it means keeping our community farms alive and ensuring that employees receive a living wage, I am always willing to pay more. We are not a “wal-mart” model. Our bargains mean that we can be sustainable, ethical, and transparent.

La Montañita is also a node for health in our community. We are a vital center for sharing and exchanging healthful information,
community support, and food as medicine. We keep our community alive and thriving.

I shop at the co-op, because I trust the produce is always organic and fair-trade, and the money I spend will have a positive impact
in my community.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I understand what it means to be “competitive” in our capitalist economy. I also see how this competition is devastating our Earth –evermore rapidly. Our Co-op is a pioneer — confronting the challenges we face to creating a sustainable business. We need to ensure that all parts of our supply chain are healthy and being nourished with our business. I want to see La Montañita grow and thrive in the quickly changing environment we find ourselves in today.

I am grateful to my peers in New Mexico, for showing me daily what it means to be in community — how to support and be supported with love and gratitude. My dream for the Co-op is to be one of the premier models for business in a truly sustainable economy.

If you elect me, I will be honored to show up with support and hope for progress toward a stronger and healthier Co-op.

 


Valerie Doyle

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I’ve been living in Albuquerque for 1 year now. Since arriving, I’ve shopped at the co-op what seems like every single day. More than the co-op model, which I enjoy in any place I live, I think its particular model is exemplary by its efficiency, sense of community, and quality of products sold.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Other

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
I see that any co-op can be a desirable alternative to the corporate and commodified experience in shopping. The Montanita co-op is an example of how a co-op should be run. As far as the broader community goes, it should be able to cater to anyone regardless of socioeconomics by offering healthy, informed food choices that value local distributors. By being accessible to the community as a whole, it can help disseminate the information about healthy living that a busy, modern lifestyle does not always offer.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I’ve been interested in community sustainability and health for as long as I can remember. I worked as an editorial intern at Yes Magazine in Seattle before volunteering at free clinics in Portland, OR and realizing I wanted to be in healthare. Now, 8 years after a post-baccaleureate, medical school, and a residency, I find myself again seeking to connect with a community that also sees environmental and food sustainability as a primary goal.

It goes without saying that current politics are actively trying to render communities less powerful and my aim is not to give into that pressure.

 


James Glover

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I began working for the Coop as a cashier in the Valley Store on Rio Grande shortly after arriving in New Mexico in 2011. I thoroughly enjoyed my 9 months working at the Store; I met many new friends, both employees and customers, and quickly felt part of the Coop community. I have been a member owner since 2011, and was appointed to the Board of Directors in February 2017. I was elected to the position of Treasurer in March 2017 and have overseen the turn-around in Co-op’s financial position over recent months.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Environmental Work, Finance, Business, Strategic Planning, Retail, Other
After leaving the Coop as an employee, I continued my involvement with the La Montañita through volunteer work at the Nob Hill Store helping with the recycling program. Twice monthly I would remove the recycling collected by the store and drop off the material at one of Albuquerque’s recycling centers. I now own an environmental consultancy based in Albuquerque, serving many local, State, and Federal clients. I am passionate about working to protect water resources and the environment for current and future generations. While successfully growing my business, I have become knowledgeable of financial, employment, and all operational aspects of building and operating a company.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montañita has a wonderful power and influence in the local community to educate and promote healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy environment for all. As a board member, I would work towards promoting these cultures in our local schools and the wider population. I believe empowering our children and NM citizens with the knowledge to make informed decisions on what we eat, and how our food is produced, is the key to a healthy and strong community.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I grew up, studied, and worked in the UK; moving to the US in 2011. I have a Master’s Degree in Water and Environmental Management and I now own an environmental consultancy, based in Albuquerque. Additionally, I teach Environmental Science at the University of Phoenix. I have a strong passion for our environment and healthy eating. I believe that my background in environmental science, and experience owning and managing my own small business, would enable me to enhance the core values for which the Co-op stands.

 


Susan Michie

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I have been a member of the Co-op for several years. I do 80-90% of all of my grocery shopping at the location in Nob Hill.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Business, Strategic Planning, Information Technology
I grew up on a small non-commercial farm in Oklahoma. My parents raised dairy cattle, chickens, goats and organic vegetables. I “volunteered” for many tasks related to those activities and that experience has shaped my fundamental beliefs about food and how it should be produced and consumed.

Our family business for over 40 years is dredge manufacturing and leasing. Our company has been involved in many types of environmental clean-up and reclamation projects across the country.

I have a PhD in business management from Oklahoma State University.

I taught strategic management classes at the university level for over 10 years, including MBA and Executive MBA courses.

I am familiar with most business information technology applications including email, excel spreadsheets, powerpoint, word processing, internet, but not social media sites like facebook, etc.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
The Co-op is the most important business anchor in the Nob Hill commercial district to the local community. It represents the type of retail interaction that people who want to live in walkable communities are seeking. Most importantly, it provides information about developing a more sustainable food industry and opportunities to support that effort.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
In my professional career, I have volunteered for and served on several committees/boards; and I have experience conducting myself as a board director and officer in group decision-making situations. Although the bulk of my experience with the Co-op has been with a single location in my community, I realize that the Co-op’s success depends on the success of every store and each store has issues that are unique to its location.

 


Jennifer Plaut

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I have been a member-owner of the Co-op since shortly after my partner and I moved to Albuquerque in 2005 for graduate school. In those years of a very tight budget we shopped mostly at conventional grocery stores. Over several years, however, our mindset shifted from thinking we couldn’t afford to shop at La Montañita to realizing that it is the most responsible place year-round to buy groceries. I learned more about New Mexico and its farms, as well as other non-profit organizations that turn out to be supported by La Montañita. I have participated in the Co-op purely as a shopper but I have lived the experience of being educated by the Co-op and coming to see the Co-op values and priorities as vital to the communities it serves.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Other

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montañita is the physical intersection of our personal/family values (such as reducing one’s carbon footprint, supporting just working conditions and responsible farming practices, and strengthening the local economy) with thepurchasing choices we have to make every week (food, toothpaste, and toilet paper). La Montañita serves the local farmers and suppliers it supports, but it also serves its customer base by providing access to the products and economic model that help uslive our values. Not every single item on the shelves at La Montañita meets my personal checklist but I know that thought goes into the stocking decisions and that local products are offered to the extent possible. Importantly, the profit from purchases is staying in my foodshed/state, not going to out-of-state executives and administrative offices. Further, reinvesting profits into local organizations positions La Montañita to be a potent force for good in New Mexico but only if it remains financially healthy. The Co-op owes its beneficiaries due diligence to remain solvent and relevant. I realize that this can be a tough balancing act and I am willing to commit myself to the work.
La Montañita also has the opportunity to advance progressive values through member education around legislation. City council meeting agendas and statewide legislative issues relevant to the local food economy could be included in email newsletters and in-store posters. The Co-op could encourage member participation in elections by simply making members aware of the issues at stake. For instance, the Co-op could further its goals of increasing access to healthy foods andsupporting the local regenerative agricultural sector by raising member awareness about the availability of raw milk within the City of Albuquerque. Sales of raw milk are legal in the rest of the state and opening up the Albuquerque market (where raw milk sales are currently not legal) would be beneficial for existing dairies and potentially encourage the development of more Grade A, inspected and licensed raw milk dairies in New Mexico. This is just an example of a legislative issue relevant to the Co-op’s ends, which members might appreciate learning about.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I have been a member-owner of the Co-op for 10+ years and feel that it is time to give back to an organization that has enriched my life during that period. I have two young children and it is dizzying to think of how the world has changed since I was their age, and how it will change before they have children. In a rapidly homogenizing world, how do we preserve local authenticity, our sense of unique place? What makes New Mexico different from the rest of the world, how much do we really value that, and how do we protect and strengthen it? How do we choose food and home products that minimize our carbon and toxin footprint? These questions lead me to the conclusion that we have to support the land and the people who are making things HERE: crops, value-added products and grocery items, radio, social assistance, etc. The Co-op was the starting point for me in developing these priorities and I would be honored to serve La MontañitaCo-op and its broader community as a member of the Board of Directors.

 


Maggie Seeley

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I bought a lifetime Co-op membership in 1996. 70% of my food is purchased there. I have volunteered on many occasions and know some of the staff in several locations.
In 2010-2012, as Adjunct Instructor of Sustainability Studies at UNM, I developed two curriculums: 1) “Co-ops Rock” in which students researched 13 NM Co-ops (Greenbriar, Sweetwater, La Montinita) and 7 international co-ops (REI, True Value, Mondragon). We read the book “Local Dollars, Local Sense” by Robert Shuman & used the University of Wisconsin workbook on Co-ops; and 2) “Co-ops as a Business Model” was targeted to understanding the governance, finances, organizational structure & purchasing arrangements in co-ops. La Montanita became the client of our class. Students worked in every Department, did customer surveys, attended Board meetings, were secret shoppers and really got the distinctions between co-ops and commercial grocers. Co-op staff & Board members gave presentations in our class and worked as mentors to several students. Our capstone was to put the Grab & Go Co-op on campus.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Environmental Work, Business, Strategic Planning
I am the Managing Partner of Seeley & Associates, a management consulting firm of five strong professionals who have worked with a variety of business clients, government agencies and non-profits. A few local clients are Affordable Solar, Anthony Anella Architects & Reid Design-Build. We were thrilled to work with UNICEF in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uganda and China for 10 years. In 2015, I did a cost benefit analysis of seven (7) farm operations at Trill Farm in Devon, UK.
(1) Sheep-Wool-Weaving; (2) Produce for 25 local restaurants; (3) Jams, honey & herbs; (4) Candles-Soaps-Oils; (5) Woodworking; (6) Cattle-hay-alfalfa and (7) Bed & Breakfast. Our dear Co-op needs to have a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), one of the tools Seeley & Associates used at Trill Farm.

Some of our contracts and work products are described at www.seeleyandassociates.com.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
1) Education and advocacy.
$1 spent locally creates $6 of economy in NM. Take that $1 to Wal-Mart and it returns $2 at best (not accounting for the staff who live on Food Stamps and Medicaid). 16,000 members is admirable but we must grow our customer base. Why not 30,000?

2) Foodshed Development
Food Security needs to be the #1priority of our community. Let’s envision 2030 with 30% of food grown and consumed in our 300 mile foodshed radius, a huge leap from 5%. Smarter home gardeners (water wisdom), small farmers, Co-op vendors, CSA’s and organic growers will help reach the tipping point – 15% of the ABQ population.

3) Financial Solvency
Supporting the Grants & Westside Co-op is admirable. BUT, any enterprise has to be profitable in order to survive. The Co-op has to do what is necessary to create a healthy financial future now. Discover: 1) what has been done to cut losses; 2) who shops at the co-op and why; 3) how can the co-op stores compete with Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s; 4) how can Wallace and Kellogg support a management audit & visioning session; and 5) how to increase membership, especially among millenials.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I love our Co-op.
Did you know that 5 years ago, 15% of the GM, Board and top management hours were spent in consulting to and developing other co-ops (Los Alamos, Durango, Silver City, many more).
One of the hidden Co-op treasures is the CDC. Bring your food idea to the CDC and staff will help you launch it, market it and even help you get into Whole Foods (a Co-op competitor). Growers receive micro credit loans from our Co-op. Think of Earth Day and Veteran Farmers! La Montanita is one of the best co-ops in the country.

I want LaMontanita to succeed, to continue to be a shining star, a great community asset and a financially sound enterprise, helping deliver 30% locally grown food by 2030 to 30,000 members.

 


Michael Smith

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
My involvement with La Montañita Co-op as been that of a consumer and My wife and I spend 3-5 days during a 7 day week period shopping at the Co-op. Our biggest shopping day is usually on Sunday, also meal prep day for the week.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Finance, Business, Strategic Planning, Information Technology
My experience aligns nicely with the checked boxes to the left in my current professional position. I currently serve as the Director of a research institute located at New Mexico Mining and Technology (NMIMT). The research division of NMIMT is the Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis (ICASA). I started as a research assistant while earning my Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at NMIMT. After many years of hard work I have been promoted to Director, ICASA. I have been at ICASA for roughly 10 years. I commute from Abq daily but often have meetings in Abq and my job requires me to travel every 3-4 weeks. My job duties and responsibilities are strongly tied to finance and budgeting, business development, forward thinking in order to keep the institute on the bleeding edge of research. ICASA has a strong understanding for the demand on Information Technology (IT) and smart ways to take advantage of this highly dependent infrastructure.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
-To provide affordable options for healthy eating.
-To provide education and training of their own workforce.
-Utilize trained workforce to expand their network through word of mouth, local events and Information Technology (social media)

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
As an Engineer, Research Scientist and Director of a research institute I’ve worked with a diverse group of personnel to include students, graduate students, faculty, administrative staff and technical staff. As an engineer and research scientist I’ve learned it is important to have critical thinking skills when solving complex problems. I’ve learned it often takes a team of diverse folks with different opinions to find a unique and agreeable solution. As a director and leader I’ve learned how important it is to serve the administrative and technical staff at ICASA. These people keep the institute alive and are always thinking up new and innovative solutions to complex problems. In my leadership role I’ve also learned how the importance of personal relationships and in most cases these relationships plus our incredible research and development continue to keep the institute healthy.

 


Jessica Swan

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
In 2005, our family committed ourselves to supporting our local community by spending our money on local businesses.

In 2013, I began working with local charter schools to serve farm to cafeteria foods at schools. I serve the south valley communities in Albuquerque. 1 in 4 children in New Mexico goes hungry every day. Swan Kitchen works with the CDC and Nob Hill store to get clean, affordable food to our students. In the last four years my business has purchased over $250,000 with of food from the CDC. My relationship with the produce department in Nob Hill LMC is thriving. Our family of four does the majority of our shopping at La Montañita. We meal plan, buy in bulk and seasonally to afford the higher prices.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Finance, Business, Retail
I graduated from UNM with a degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. My focus was advertising. Specifically, I was focusing on the advertising of food to the general public. After graduating from UNM, I spent 4 years in the Cascade Mountain Range researching farms and food culture in the Pacific Northwest.

I have been running a sustainable, local, fair-trade business in NM for 5 years. I work with regional and local farmers and ranchers to provide healthy, clean food to the students in Albuquerque. The majority of the children we feed are impoverished and at-risk.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montañita has the responsibility to live up to the cooperative values that are in place. We must continue to honor cooperation among cooperatives as we all seek to better our communities.

La Montañita has a responsibility to show concern for the community they serve in. Recognizing that we are a state where minoriies are the majority is a good place to start. Honoring our commitment to source locally and with fair-trade for all involved is another path that La Montanita can continue to stand strong on. Our local economy is the thriving and will continue to!

Welcoming our community members to our cooperative is vital. We must represent the diversity that New Mexico offers in our stores! Bilingual publications, double up food stamp programs, affordable local food and marketing that reflects this diversity is imperative in showing concern for the community that LMC serves.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I, Jessica Swan want to serve you, our La Montañita Cooperative members on the Governing Board of Directors.

Our people in New Mexico deserve the right to have access to clean, affordable food. Our farmers and coop employees deserve fair trade for their work too. My lifestyle is in sync with the cooperative values that La Montañita represents. My family of four shops at the Nob Hill store for the majority of our food.

I am a local business owner, sourcing my food for my business through the CDC and La Montañita stores and our local and regional farmers. My catering business serves the marginalized and at-risk populations in our great state. In the past 4 years, Swan Kitchen LLC has contributed over $340,000 to our local food shed. We have served a quarter of a million meals to date.

New Mexico and our people deserve access to clean, affordable food. LMC must stay competitive with national food grocers. We can feed our people and create jobs for future farmers and care-takers of the land. I am committed to helping the LMC Board continue to be a vibrant, active leader in the local food movement.

In cooperation,
Jessica

 

 

Co-op Staff Member Candidates

Up to two seats on the Board of Directors may be filled by Co-op staff members. The following four candidates are all current staff members of La Montañita Co-op, so each member-owner may only vote for up to two of them in the election.


 

Jerry Anaya

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I’ve been a worker and member-owner for 12 years. I started in the grocery department and within a year was promoted to Assistant Grocery Manager. I took a leave of absence and upon my return, was rehired to work in the Produce Department, where I’ve been for the last 10.5 years. I also do about 99% of my shopping at the Co-op because I believe in our values. As an employee, I’ve heard coworker and member-owner concerns, complaints and questions about where the Co-op is headed. Most of the comments I’ve received have been positive, with gratitutde for the amazing work we have accomplished in a short time.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Business, Strategic Planning, Retail, Other
I bring to the Co-op extensive experience in customer serivce, sales and business services. As a Division Manager for Dillards (NW US Territory), I developed sales criteria which my group used to achieve the highest sales among all territories. Consequently, I was asked to work with the other divisions to help increase their sales. The key to my success was attention to details and respect for employees. Prior to this, I was a top salesperson at Western Warehouse, where I was recruited by senior management to write a policy manual on salesmanship. Working hard, leading by example and supporting fellow employes has always been important to me. I’m passionate about volunteering my time to causes I believe in. At the Santa Fe Roundhouse, I spoke for gay rights as well as victims and survivors of violent crimes. Some of the most heartbreaking work I’ve ever done was riding along with police officers on domestic abuse calls for DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team), which I helped spearhead with the District Attorney’s office. I evaluated critical markers such as the conditon of the home for safety, the presence of food and actiive utilities and the health and safety of the child(ren).

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
The Co-op is a huge contributor to our local economy. We stand behind our initiative to support local: farmers, businesses, distributors and schools. We need to support farming programs in our schools because when we teach children to grow their own vegetables, they eat and enjoy more of them. The Co-op also empowers the community by providing low-interest loans, which helps local businesses stay profitable. Addtionally, the Double Up Food Bucks progam allows us to support our lcoal farmers, which benefits our local economy, the Co-op and the community as a whole.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I am protector of the Earth, our water and our environment. It helps our local farmers and our pollinators. I feel the Co-op should lead in these areas, supporting our commuinty, protecting our environment and helping other organizations. I changed careers and took a cut in pay to join the Co-op because I believed in it. I still do. By increasing member-owner and employee involvement, we can stand for healthy food, healthy community, healthy economy and a healthy environment. As a current board member, I am pleased that the Co-op has shown increased profitability, and built employee morale. The Co-op has been audited (HR and Financial) and we now know which direction we must go in order to continue to build our success. I ask for your support to continue making a difference. We still have a lot of work to do. Pease help re-elect me to the Board of Directors.

 


Benjamin Bartley

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I have been an employee and member-owner since January 2016. I am a regular attendee of the Co-op’s monthly Board meetings, and am part of the Board’s Policy Development Committee “Core Team.”

I work at the Co-op at La Montañita’s Value Chain Specialist. This is a relatively new position that was born out of a Cooperative Agreement with the USDA. My job is to increase market opportunities for New Mexico farmers and ranchers. Among other things, this includes on-boarding new vendors, providing technical assistance to New Mexico producers, and strengthening La Montañita’s capacity to support our local economy.

I also work to secure new revenue sources for the Co-op and local vendors. To date, I have brought in more than $100,000 in funding for La Montañita, and have secured more than $330,000 in grants for New Mexico food producers. We are in the final stages of likely receiving another grant that I authored, which would result in more than $490,000 in funding for the Co-op, its distribution center, and services our local vendors.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Finance, Business, Strategic Planning, Retail
I am a Board Member and Treasurer for a local non-profit.

I have sixteen years of experience working in the food industry, ranging from organic farming, farm-to-school education, food access, program management at a sustainable agriculture non-profit, catering, cooking, butchery, baking, and food retail.

I am currently enrolled in an MBA program, and have experience overseeing an annual budget of more than $400,000.

I also serve as one of two La Montañita representatives for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). In this capacity, I advocate for the interests of sustainable producers and family farmers in both New Mexico and nationally. This includes spearheading organizing efforts within the Co-op and locally, as well as contributing to NSAC’s lobbying efforts around the Farm Bill and other federal legislation. I participate in NSAC’s Food Systems Integrity, Marketing/Rural Development, and Diversity committees.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
I see La Montañita as the premier retailer of local, sustainably grown products in New Mexico. To this end, I have the great honor of helping to leverage the Co-op’s infrastructure, network, and 40+ years of community-building to better serve our local vendors and member-owners.

I also see La Montañita as a national example of what a cooperative economy can look like, and how it can increase community well-being. Thanks to the La Montañita’s wealth of experience and values, our Co-op has the opportunity to make a difference both locally, as well as serving as a resource for cooperatives and regional food system advocates across the country.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I am very invested in the success of La Montañita, and would like to contribute my skills and experience to the Co-op’s mission and vision. As a 16,000+ strong organization, I believe that I am well suited to represent and serve the interests of all our member-owners, and to help La Montañita grow and thrive.

I appreciate your consideration as a candidate, and for the opportunity to serve as a Staff Member on your Board of Directors.

 


Mike Hildebrand

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I am currently working as the Wellness DTL at our Santa Fe location (4 years). My wife and I became members of La Montanita Coop shortly after moving to Santa Fe in 2008. I was appointed to our La Montanita Board in late June of this year. I have been attending several of our committees to make myself more aware of the BOD and La Montanita business, in general.
I have attended the National Coop Convergence in MN three times.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Farming, Environmental Work, Finance, Business, Strategic Planning, Retail, Other
*My family has an ever-growing home garden — I appreciate the challenge of growing food in NM!
*I have been a member of NM Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG) for several years.
*I am a chair on the BOD’s Finance Committee.
*Been working in the natural foods/supplements sector for more than 25 years. Including 4 years at another Coop (People’s Coop in San Diego, CA)
*Managed a supplement company in San Diego.

*Retail experience includes deli, grocery, front end management, store management, and Wellness department management.
*I hold degrees in Psychology and Counseling.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
To provide the community’s food needs in a more democratic, locally driven, and socially responsible model. The owner member’s vote and voice should be encouraged, empowered, and acknowledged whenever and wherever possible. We are a gatekeeper for which companies to support, how to manage our financial resources, and how to serve the needs of the community, while serving the betterment of coops in general. We should be a voice in the community for our local coop and why supporting this alternative economic model is better for the community, the planet, and the consumer.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I have been shopping and/or working at natural foods cooperatives for most of my adult life. Subsequently, 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 have a strong work ethic and strive to be a good model for others.
I love Coops!

 


Aaron Whiteley

1. Describe your involvement with La Montañita Co-op. Include amount of time spent and specific activities, if appropriate.
I have worked for La Montanita for almost 4 years, beginning as a Produce Clerk at the newly opened Westside location in October 2013. I worked in this capacity until December 2015, as I was offered the Front End Coordinator position. I continued in this role until May 2016, when I was promoted to Front End Department Team Leader, my current role. I have been a member-owner for two and a half years and was part of a family household membership for a year and a half prior to that. I am a regular shopper at the Westside location and have also been spotted shopping from time to time at our Rio Grande and Nob Hill stores. Throughout 2017 I have made a determined attempt to become more involved in the governance side of the Co-op, attending monthly Board of Directors meetings and participating in various Board Committees.

2. Describe any volunteer or paid experience relevant to serving as a Co-op Board member. Please check any that apply and describe your experience. This is not an exhaustive list, the Co-op is about a variety of experience!
Experience Indicated: Retail, Other
In addition to my retail experience as a La Montanita Co-op staff member, I have been actively attending Board Committee meetings for several months. I have been a regular participant in the Policy Development Committee since February and assisted with the review of and the proposed changes to the La Montanita Bylaws that will be up for a vote this November. As a member of the Member Engagement Committee, I am currently working with other staff members to implement a system to improve lines of communication and disseminate information between the Board and its Committees and staff members at the store level. I have learned that much of the important work the Board does occurs during these Committee meetings, and I believe my experience in this area will serve me well as a potential Board Member.

Prior to working for La Montanita, I was a regular volunteer and driver for the Rio Grande Food Project, a local non-profit food pantry based in south Albuquerque. This experience opened my eyes to the hunger crisis that permeates our state and the food insecurity that afflicts so many families and communities in New Mexico.

3. What do you see as La Montañita’s role in the broader community?
La Montanita has been a leader in the local and organic food movements in New Mexico for 40 years. We are a retail grocer, but the scope and mission of the Co-op far exceeds such a basic definition. The Co-op plays a crucial role in supporting our local foodshed economy, not only through the products we source from farmers, ranchers, and producers throughout the state but also by providing vital resources such as education, training, and financial assistance to those producers. Our cooperative business model, our commitment to local sourcing, and the level of service we provide to customers, employees, and vendors is a positive, vital force in a marketplace that too often ignores health, workers, communities, and the environment in the name of the bottom line. We must remain committed to this progressive, positive ethos as we strive to shape and support the communities we serve.

4. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
I strongly believe that serving as a Board Member is just that: service. Our cooperative is comprised of thousands of New Mexicans that have chosen to organize and join the Co-op for what we stand for and promote: healthy and organic foods, investment in the local economy, responsible environmental practices, and a better way of conducting business. It would be my duty to listen to, understand, work with, and utilize feedback from our diverse membership base to shape policy and guide the Co-op into a profitable, productive future that continues to achieve our Global Ends Policy. As a Board Member, I would also strive to be the voice of and representative for the hard-working and talented staff throughout the organization. Our team members are the backbone of the Co-op, and their input must be communicated and heard to achieve our goals. My personal experience working for the Co-op has been extremely rewarding, helping me grow personally and professionally. La Montanita has become a major part of my life, and I consider it my home away from home. I wish to continue to grow with and serve the Co-op during what I believe is a crucial yet promising time for the organization, as we move forward and write the next years of our cooperative chapter.