Years ago, my wife and I went on some of our first dates at our local food coop. It was the breed of coop that required each of its members to volunteer each month in the store. While interacting with other members at the cash registers and sorting bulk foods, I first learned how remarkable the culture and community of a co-op can be, as compared to typical grocery stores. I have been impressed with how PCC has maintained many of these positive cultural and community aspects, even though it is significantly larger than my first co-op.
Why do you want to serve on the PCC Board of Trustees?
I want to serve on the PCC board because it is a truly special organization and I want to support its mission. I am currently the CEO of IslandWood — a regional nonprofit that is focused on teaching thousands of children each year about the environment and sustainability. From our organic garden to our incredible family-style meals, I get to observe daily the values of both high-quality food and the joy of eating in community. I am committed to PCC because it shares both of these values as well.
I also want to serve as a trustee because I’m impressed with PCC’s culture, and want to help maintain the best aspects of this culture in the future — a challenging goal as we continue to grow and serve more people in our region. Finally, I want to serve as a trustee because I believe in the power that the PCC community has (with our shopping choices) on the world around us. Through my experiences, I believe strongly in the power of our collective purchasing power on creating positive social and environmental change in the world.
In your view, what differentiates PCC from other businesses?
In a graduate class that I teach at UW, I have my students debate whether an apple purchased at PCC is better than an apple purchased from a large chain grocery store. In my opinion, the answer is a resounding yes. PCC’s commitment to quality, organic, natural foods mean there is a good chance that the apple is actually of higher quality than those sold at a competitor. But even if the apples were picked on the same day from the same farm, I’d argue that PCC’s apples are better because of how they are delivered to our members. PCC has made extraordinary decisions that ordinary corporations see as too risky. An example of this is PCC’s pledge to be non-GMO. PCC has also taken stands on energy efficiency, waste management and air quality — all of which corporate competitors struggle to do at times because of their stronger focus on profits.
What experiences, skills and/or perspectives will you bring to the board?
I have an MBA and have served as the CEO or executive director for three different companies. One of these was a membership organization (with tens of thousands of members), and it was focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. In addition, I have served on 10 boards throughout my career — including our region’s largest National Public Radio affiliate, with an audience of 350,000 listeners. While serving on boards, I have held officer roles ranging from treasurer to secretary to board chair. Early in my career, I worked as a management consultant at Deloitte, and I specialized in Change Leadership. I will work to help PCC maintain its positive culture and values as it navigates an increasingly competitive marketplace.