Meet the 2016 Director Candidates!

These six candidates are running for four seats on our board of directors. Come to the Falcon Bowl on Sunday, May 1st, 2016 from 4-6pm to meet them, ask them questions and cast your ballot. 

Lanore Hahn

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

I am currently a volunteer and member of the co-op. I currently work and volunteer with Victory Garden Initiative and will be serving on the board of a brand new nonprofit that a Marquette student and Pete’s Produce is starting to develop a mobile market in the near west side neighborhood. I am an active member of the Milwaukee Food Council as well. My research through my MPH program has focused on food access and the health effects that limited food access has on Milwaukee’s population. The research has led me to a number of policy solutions, information sharing, mobile applications, mapping and pantry models that could be utilized to help create more equitable access to healthy and fresh food in our community and beyond. I think that my experiences would benefit the board because I can bring community connections and help to visualize how partnerships among diverse community projects and the co-operative could be mutually beneficial.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

My previous research on food access included a market research report for a grocer who was interested in locating to the near west side. I interviewed market researchers across the country and in Milwaukee and developed a detailed criteria for a grocer to follow when opening a store in a limited access/low income tract in Milwaukee. This research has given me insight into marketing and consumer driven decisions about store formats, displays and models specific to grocers.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

The co-op provides access to healthy, fresh and locally sourced food. There is limited access to this type of community owned and community driven initiative to raise awareness about the importance of creating a more just, sustainable and equitable food system.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I hope to work towards better access for people in the city of Milwaukee to what the Co-op has to offer. Depending on the goals of the co-op I would like to be a part of the continued growth of the co-operative and even more direct partnerships with organizations who are working to provide food access to the most limited access areas in the city.

Candidate Bio

Lanore Hahn is a current Masters of Public Health candidate from the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health. She is working with Victory Garden this semester to grow the Victory Garden Blitz from the amazing and successful program it has become in Milwaukee to a nationally recognized event that helps individuals grow gardens across the entire United States. Lanore has traveled the U.S, worked on small farms in North Carolina and Massachusetts, taught families how to cook and grow their own food and grew up in the dirt of a small northern Wisconsin farming community. She recently completed her field experience for her masters degree working with Marquette University and City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration office to qualitatively research the food access challenges that the Near West Side faces and the health impact that limited food access has on its’ residents.

Monica Reida

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

Monica Reida Board PhotoI have been a volunteer in the store at the co-op for more than a year–you can say hi to me on Saturday nights–and I have been serving as an interim board member since January 2016. Because of my weekly interactions with customers and members, I have an opportunity to talk regularly both in and out of the co-op setting about things pertaining to the co-op. Since I’ve been serving on the board since January, I am familiar with issues the board is already working on, which would allow for things to continue to move smoothly.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

I previously worked in the corporate offices of a clothing retailer and have worked in a variety of stores, both locally-owned as well as national corporations. While in college I was a member of the East Lansing Food Co-Op (ELFCO) and I presently work for a credit union.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

The Riverwest Co-Op provides the residents of Milwaukee, particularly Riverwest and Harambee, with all-natural or organic food and local produce. For many residents, it might be a long trek to get the healthy food they need, particularly produce. The existence of the co-op, as well as it’s future, helps build a community of caring individuals in this area as well as ensures the area has easily accessible produce and other items, such as bulk grains.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I hope to help the board implement policies that will allow for the co-op to continue to be around for, hopefully, 15 more years. I would also like to explore the possibility of more collaborations with RCA members and reevaluate current collaborations.

Candidate Bio

I was born in northern California and grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where I was introduced to locally-owned stores providing organic and local products. I’ve worked as a journalist and editor in Chicago and hold a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public affairs reporting from Michigan State University. I moved to Milwaukee in 2014 and have lived in Riverwest since 2015. I work as a teller for a credit union and freelance as a journalist.

 

Jacky Ivy Clark

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

No, I became a member at your last board meeting 2015.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

I believe cooperatives are the new model of independent living. Collective with like minded people. In the form of housing, business ownership, food farms as a start.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

 I ran for 2nd District Alderwoman 2016. One of my platform issue was a city wide cooperative agenda. Particularly for District 2.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I have spoke with individual in New York who would love to assist in helping Milwaukee Cooperatives concept grow.

Candidate Bio

Born raised in the city of Milwaukee. Graduate Lincoln High School, Master of Science Degree Springfield College of Human Services, Community Counseling Psychology. Board member project return. Five grandchildren I want to know their lives will be better because what cooperatives are all about. I love what’s happening in Cuba they got it.

 

Sam Odin

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

I love volunteering in the café on Wednesday evenings (3-6), and have been doing so for a little over a year. Among many things, I’m the OCD volunteer who arranges all the lids to fit in the lid bin. As a customer, I’m the thrifty deal-seeker who can be found shopping produce on Wednesdays and bulk on Thursdays. I also always keep a keen eye on the discount bin; I love getting a whole bunch of stuff that’s about to go “bad,” bringing it home, and going to town preserving/processing/ rendering it into another form with my friends!

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

For starters, this summer will be my 6th season farming, and my 4th helping facilitate a community garden. Also, I love pretty much all aspects of working in a kitchen (especially as a volunteer at the Café); from cooking and processing to washing dishes and keeping a tidy workplace. As an undergrad my senior thesis was on food system planning for Milwaukee; presently I have extended this research to include the nitty gritties of community organizing, development, cooperatives, and other alternative living and “societal” arrangements. I am also partner-owner of an LLC where I’ve acquired more business experience than – quite frankly – I ever wanted. And I am a local and international news junky, which helps… I am also very interested and excited to be learning about and participating in different forms of consensus decision-making and non-oppressive meeting facilitation.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

Because Riverwest is important to me, and without the co-ops I just don’t see RW being nearly as radical and accommodating. The co-op is where I get my food, where I hang out, where I meet new friends, where I learn new stuff. It feels good to be at the co-op. I don’t think any place in RW consistently refreshes me – physically, mentally, spiritually, and what have you.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I don’t know yet. First, I’ll have to see what staff, members, customers, and others are up to, and where other folks are interested in taking things. I’d also like to look back on the path our co-op took to get us to where we are today. I will offer critical insight to discussions and the planning process; and when decisions are made, I will do what I can to see those ideas come to life.

Candidate Bio

I am what I eat, and that is one philosophy I try to apply to pretty much everything – conceptually and practically. I try to think about what I need/want in life, where those things come from/how they get to me, and how to better interact with others – human and other than human – that also live within those complex systems. This is what got me excited about farming, cooking, simple living, sharing, and alternative/revolutionary actions such as the cooperative movement. As critical and reflexive as I am as a thinker, I try to be equally as purposeful and responsive in my actions. But serious stuff aside, I like to have fun. You can count on me to make the best out of pretty much situation, no matter how crappy. I like laughing, goofing around, being outside, philosophizing, reading, having a bougie cocktail, playing games, volunteering, backpacking, playing tunes/ listening to music… I like a lot of stuff. I’m afraid of the dark, deep water, and heights; but I love the thrill of confronting all these things!

 

Rachel Messenger

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

I have participated both as a customer at both the grocery and cafe and as a volunteer on the grocery side of the co-op. I believe these roles would be a benefit to my role as board member since I have been able to experience the co-op in several different situations and from different perspectives. It also gives me a base knowledge of the history and current operations of the organization.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

I have experience with project research, development, and implementation during my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. I would also be able to bring my background in nonviolent crisis intervention from my years serving as a Global Professional Instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute. Lastly, I am currently a Project Manger at a translation company that has developed my business mindset and skillset. I believe all of these would serve the co-op in some manner.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

I fell in love with the co-op upon first visit since it supports the local economy, is volunteer-run, and seems to be continually trying to improve upon its methods to better address community needs. This has always been my first choice for grocery shopping and I hope to see it continue to grow and inspire other cooperative movements.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I would like to help the co-op become better organized in some of its documentation practices (I have had some experiences as a volunteer where I would have found it beneficial to have a written instruction in that binder). I also feel that I would be able to help facilitate some of the current processes that might free up some time for the staff members to focus their energy on other projects that could help further the growth of the organization. I would need to attend a board meeting to see what these processes might be, but I always believe getting fresh eyes on an existing practice helps better identify any potential areas of improvement.

Candidate Bio

Rachel Messenger was born and raised in Milwaukee county. She left for awhile to study and live in France, returned to complete a year of AmeriCorps VISTA in Racine, and then traveled the USA and Canada for a few years as a nonviolent crisis intervention instructor. Her current occupation is as a project manager for a translation company in downtown Milwaukee where she rediscovered her love for the city and learned she’s pretty good at business since it involves a lot of math and relationship building. In her free time, she volunteers at the co-op, walks her pup, studies belly dance, practices yoga, and gardens.

 

Amber Richardson

Amber Richardson Board PhotoHow have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

I volunteered for a store shift for a little over 1 year. I am also a member and shop at the co-op and eat at the cafe on a regular basis. I think volunteering weekly allowed me to interface with members and non member customers, I heard about what is important to the people that use the co-op.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Rivewest Co-op?

I help people to find work and understand business needs. I think that I could add that perspective to the long term needs of the co-op and to assist in guiding the strategic plan. I understand mission related companies and making sure that all decisions are aligned with your core principals.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

I live in the neighborhood and have a vested interest in things happening here. I have made a lot of new connections with my neighbors while volunteering at the co-op and want to continue to help make an impact where I live.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

To make decisions that impact the Co-op in a positive way and be a strong voice for mission aligned decisions.

Candidate Bio

My name is Amber and I live in Riverwest with my partner Andy and our dog Edel. I have lived here for two years and we recently purchased our first home. I completed two years of National Service with AmeriCorps where I discovered the impact that people can make in their community. I currently work in Milwaukee County assisting people with disabilities find employment and fulfillment in their lives. I enjoy knitting, cooking and brewing beer at home. Making connections with people and helping others is very important to me and guides the decisions that I make.

Lisa Knapp

How have you participated with the Co-op thus far? How would that experience benefit your role as a board member?

I was a weekly grocery side volunteer for 4-5 years. Back in 2009/10 I chaired the communications committee and served on the board back then until I moved away for a couple years. When I moved back, I started volunteering again but had to give up my shift about a year ago. Throughout my years as a volunteer, I trained dozens of volunteers on the grocery side and was a closer for some time as well. Currently, I do not have a volunteer shift, but am a very regular customer of the co-op and café.

What other experience do you have that would make you a good board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I helped start the Riverwest Public House Cooperative with a crew of people that I met through the food co-op years ago. Through the couple years of planning to open the bar, I did a ton of research on all things co-op and have been involved in the daily operations as a worker for the past 4 years now. After a recent re-structure, I am currently the general manager of the Public House. So I have a ton of experience with the ins and outs of co-ops – day to day operations, finances, training, etc. Being involved in running a co-op has been my main livelihood for years.

Why is the Riverwest Co-op important to you?

The Riverwest Co-op was the very first place in Milwaukee that I ate at/visited back in 2007 when I was just considering moving to Milwaukee. I was welcomed with open arms and curiosity being an unfamiliar face from all the volunteers and patrons hanging out outside. Basically, I fell in love with co-op and the neighborhood immediately. And moved to Riverwest that summer. Not only does the co-op hold a special place in my heart, but I value its mission to the neighborhood and its natural ability to be such a hub for members of the community. I also value the importance of having fresh, affordable, organic foods accessible to the community.

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member at the Riverwest Co-op?

I look forward to bringing institutional memory from my past experience on the communications committee (running events, advertising/promotion, handling donations, etc.) and my managerial experience from Public House and prior jobs to help with the day to day operations of the co-op and help bring development trainings to staff, board and volunteers.

Candidate Bio

I was born and raised in Michigan, and have been a resident of Riverwest for the better part of 8 years. I have lived and traveled all over the country, but have named Milwaukee as home. To name a few other places I have called home, Denver while I was an Americorps*NCCC member, which then brought me to eastern Texas, then to New Orleans to do post-Katrina recovery. I stayed in New Orleans to continue relief work on my own for a couple more years after I graduated from Americorps, until I slowly found my way back home to the mid-west and then found Milwaukee. Now here I am. I live with my best human friend and my best dog friend. We all love river walks and long walks on the beach.

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