2018 Board Election

Results of the 2018 TCCP Annual Election

Thanks to all owners for engaging in the democratic process and voting in the first board election of our consolidated co-op!

The elections this year had 690 votes cast. The quorum needed was 442 ballots. Ten candidates ran for four open positions on the board of directors. The results reflect the filling of three seats for three-year terms and one for a two-year term.

Me’lea Connelly 447 (17.6%)
Sarita Parikh 446 (17.5%)
Jane Schommer 344 (13.5%)
Emily Paul 328 (12.9%)
Steve Share 283 (11.1%)
Peter Thill 225 (8.8%)
Sheryl Grassie 164 (6.4%)
Daniel Harrell 123 (4.8%)
Christine Winterkamp 93 (3.7%)
Lori Liss 90 (3.5%)

Congratulations to Me’lea Connelly, Sarita Parikh, and Jane Schommer who were elected to three-year terms and Emily Paul who was elected to a two-year term. Welcome to new board member Me’lea Connelly.

Thank you to all candidates for your time, passion and willingness to serve the Twin Cities Co-op Partners.


Vote in the First Board Election of our Consolidated Co-op

Yes! This is our first opportunity to elect board members at-large from our entire consolidated membership.

Your seven current board members were appointed from one of our two legacy co-op boards, Linden Hills and Wedge. Drawing from each original board system, this group has assembled a structural framework of board officers, committees, policies, practices, and goals that will now provide a launching pad for the next board to further realize the potential of our alliance. The candidates you will meet in the pages of this election issue are inspired to do just that.

Each of the board candidates has experience developing healthy and productive group process and has demonstrated leadership skills. All understand the fiduciary responsibility of the board, its central role in relation to the CEO, and its responsibility to perpetuate the co-op’s service to its members.

You will see a variety of characteristics and backgrounds among the candidates. Each one has a unique passion for shopping at our co-ops and all share a common knowledge of and dedication to the cooperative business model. Read their statements and I assure you: you will be drawn in to an uncommonly inspiring democratic experience when you cast your vote.

— Your Current Board


The Board of Directors has three primary duties:
• To ensure sound management of the co-op
• To act as trustees on behalf of the ownership
• To set long-range goals and plan for the future

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Board of Directors, acting in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Conduct, focuses on four key areas:
• Hiring and evaluating the CEO
• Financial oversight
• Long-range strategic planning
• Recruitment of replacement directors



Why should you vote?
One of your most important rights as an owner is voting. Cooperative Principle #2— Democratic Member Control— ensures that you have a real voice in the governance and direction of your co-op. Participating in the election process is a tangible reminder that the Wedge, Wedge Table and Linden Hills are more than just great places to shop, and we hope that you will take the time to make your voice heard.

2018 Board Candidates
Candidates were asked to list their occupation and education and to write a short statement to owners highlighting:
1. Why do you believe owners should choose you to represent them?
2. In what areas should the board be putting its attention in the next five years?
3. What else, if anything, would you like to share with the ownership?

There are four board seats open, so you may vote for up to four candidates. One seat is a two-year term; three are three-year terms. The candidate who receives the fourth highest number of votes will serve the two-year term.

Candidate Forums
Please join us at one of our candidate forums to meet the board of directors candidates and learn about their vision for TCCP and what they hope to bring to our co-op community.

At the Wedge Table
Saturday, September 29 from 5–7 p.m.
Monday, October 8 from 6–8 p.m.
Sunday, October 14 from 12–2 p.m.



The Twin Cities Co-op Partners election starts Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 and ends on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 at 6:15 p.m.

Mark ballot* as directed. Detach, place ballot in envelope and seal. Be sure to print your name clearly and sign ballot where indicated. The name and signature must match the name on record. Affix a first class stamp and mail your ballot. Mailed ballots must be received by Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 (recommended mailing by Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018).

Bring ballot* to your Customer Service desk by Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

Go to www.tccp.simplyvoting.com to enter the secure voting site. You will be asked to submit your owner number. Each number can only be used once. You will also enter your last name, exactly as it appears in our records.

You may vote on your smartphone, tablet or computers we provide at the meeting. We will not be taking paper ballots at the meeting, but staff will be available to assist you with voting if needed. Online voting from any venue must be completed by Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 at 6:15 p.m.

DATE OF RECORD FOR THIS ELECTION IS AUGUST 31, 2018. New owners who joined after this date are not eligible to vote in this election. For more details please see our Bylaws, article 1.4.

*Ballots can be found inside the Cultivate Fall 2018 issue and in store at the Wedge Lyndale, Linden Hills Co-op and Wedge Table.




Occupation: Director, Association for Black Economic Power

Education: MBA, Cooperative and Credit Union Management, St. Mary’s University, Sobey School of Management; Graduate & Cooperative TA Cohort Fellow, Nexus Community Partners North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship

As a member-owner, I peer over at the picture of our Board of Directors each time I shuffle my family of four through the foyer of The Wedge Co-op. Each time we pass, I wonder if behind the smiling faces, the directors know the impact this co-op has had in our small corner of the world. To us, being members of a cooperative opened the doors to a new world, one of local healthy foods, as well as, democratically-controlled, community-owned wealth. This powerful impact has transformed me into a powerful cooperative advocate and ambassador. One with the experience to serve with excellence and the insight to serve with compassion. I know how vital our cooperatives are to everyday families like mine and I know how vital they are in the big picture of the sustainable, local food systems we need.

In the next five years the Board should consider the changing nature and consolidation of the natural foods industry as well as the changing demographics of the Twin Cities. The long-term viability of any organization requires a deep commitment and intention toward reaching out to the growing population of communities of color as well as meeting the diverse needs of our broader community. The Board should lean into and push to learn more about the demands and expectations of member-owners, especially the demand for convenience, locally-sourced food and creative delivery models.

It would be an honor to contribute to Twin Cities Co-op Partners as an active owner, a fierce advocate and a servant leader as a member on the Board of Directors. Thank you for your consideration.


Occupation: Executive Director, The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities

Education: Ed.D., Educational Leadership, University of St. Thomas; M.A., Clinical Psychology, Antioch University West; B.A., Psychology, Macalester College

I think I would make an excellent addition to the TCCP Board of Directors because of my dedication to the co-op movement and my expertise in leadership. First, I am committed to co-op sustainability and have been a member of a co-op for over 30 years (Mississippi Market and Linden Hills). I also shopped during college at the Merri-Grove co-op in St. Paul. Food and nutrition are serious avocations of mine and I am committed to eating healthy, buying locally, and supporting sustainable practices with food. In my free time, I watch nutrition and food documentaries, write and research about food and nutrition, and shop local co-ops and farmers markets when I travel. Co-ops are an essential safeguard on our food supply and we need to support and protect them. Secondarily, leadership is my field professionally. I have a doctorate in leadership and I am currently in my fourth position as an executive director. I have worked extensively with boards, and I love leadership and making things run well! I believe in a service model of leadership, working for the greater good, and serving a cause. I would love to serve you as a member of our TCCP board.


Occupation: Senior Minister, Colonial Church

Education: Doctor of Philosophy, Boston College; Master of Divinity, cum laude, Gordon-Conwell Seminary; B.A. Psychology and Religion, University of North Carolina

As an owner since moving to the Twin Cities, I am sold on TCCP’s mission of providing good food, properly sourced and affordable, while at the same time pressing forward with a business model that advocates fair trade and indicts those practices which exploit food and health for unnecessary profit. I believe access to good food and environmental responsibility to be paramount in our day and am devoted to doing what I can to promote all the positives TCCP stands for. As an avid cook, gardener, beekeeper, weekly Farmer’s Market and daily co-op shopper, and flavor evangelist, I am convinced that the best way forward for nutrition and health is not to treat food as medicine, but as an integral part of our whole lives as flourishing humans on earth. TCCP plays an immensely important role in encouraging a holistic lifestyle while modeling business practices that work for the best of the common good. I would be honored to serve to help direct TCCP toward even greater success.


Occupation: Branding Consultant

Education: MBA, University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration; B.S., Business and Spanish, Skidmore College

Serving on the Board is an opportunity to help bring the views and needs of the owners and community in front of the decision-makers. I believe voices should be heard. The co-op community is diverse, with different needs and perspectives; all should be considered. I am the person to champion this communication and will use my collaboration and teamwork skills to make it happen.

I believe in the co-op philosophy and support of the community and local producers. The experience of shopping at the Wedge and Linden Hills can continue to evolve, in tune with nutritional advancements, improvements in organic farming techniques, and the expanded knowledge of the community. In the next five years, the Board will make the greatest impact on community wellness by making sure the Co-op Partners bring this learning to the co-ops.

My membership in the co-op has been a driving force in my own health, wellness, and sense of belonging to something important. The opportunity to serve on the Board, and offer my skills and expertise, would help me give this gift to others. Thank you for your consideration.


Occupation: Senior Director, Consumer Experience & Strategy, Pearson

Education: B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and B.S. in Economics, Rice University; Certified PMI Project Management Professional

On any given day, I operate in multiple roles—I’m a parent, a business person, a volunteer, and an enthusiastic member of the Minneapolis community. This combination of roles helps me represent the core values of many of my fellow Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op members. In these tumultuous times, TCCP embodies the values that many of us hold dear: democracy, equality, inclusivity, planet, families, and communities. I am honored to serve as a current TCCP Board Member and as a former Linden Hills Board member.

I have significant business, financial, and leadership experience, and have worked in the technology, health, education, and finance sectors. I have held positions as an engineer, project manager, analyst, strategist, and executive. This diversity of experience has helped me cultivate an ability to look at situations from different perspectives and has developed strong collaboration and leadership skills.

Looking forward, a key area of focus is building the co-op’s financial viability: healthy, sustainable, and locally-oriented food is a growing American trend— this is a good thing! It has countless benefits to people and planet. A key challenge for TCCP is remaining financially healthy and competitive while continuing advocacy for environment, sustainability, and a healthy local food system.



Occupation: Director of Programs, The Good Acre

Education: Culinary Arts, L’Academie de Cuisine; B.A., International Studies, University of Illinois; Minor, Spanish, CEGRÍ

I’m proud to serve as a member of the board of directors because TCCP supports our local food community (growers, makers, and consumers) and promotes equity and access for all community members to local, sustainable food choices. The opportunity to continue in service to TCCP is both systemic as well as personal—my passion for local food, where it comes from, who grew it, and what can one do with, let’s say, kohlrabi (the answer is: quite a lot!) fuels my desire to continue to enhance and enrich our local food system. On a co-op level, upholding good governance, fiduciary oversight, and engaging in strategic planning and goal-setting both interests me but also provides me the opportunity to exercise many years of nonprofit development experience, in tandem with the Twin Cities cooperative community, for the good of our greater food system.



Occupation: Intellectual Property Paralegal, CPA Global

Education: Paralegal Certificate, Minnesota Paralegal Institute; M.S., Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Northwestern Health Sciences University; B.A., Psychology, Hamline University

As an owner of the Wedge for 20 years, and now as an owner of our new organization, the perseverance of the co-ops has always been impressive, and especially so in the consolidation. We face important choices on how to remain relevant in a competitive environment, and to ensure that the co-ops continue as central resources for future generations. During my first term on the board, we worked through some of the inherent challenges of consolidation. I hope to continue serving and creating a robust post-consolidation organization by maximizing our strengths in quality of service, relationships with local farmers and businesses, and distribution of resources throughout the region. Food and community are common and vital factors of our lives, and our co-ops are invaluable sources of both. I would like to help sustain and grow these resources. I believe that my current role on the board of directors, combined with my professional work in health and law, as well as my history as a Wedge employee, can be beneficial to co-op governance. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the community.



Occupation: Editor, Minneapolis Labor Review

Education: B.A., History, Yale College

As a 20-year member of Linden Hills Co-op and 30-year member of the Wedge Co-op, I offer that long-term experience and perspective for the TCCP board. Our family spends nearly 100 percent of our grocery budget at Linden Hills or Wedge. We are deeply invested in and committed to the co-op ideal. We want our food dollars to support a local, member-owned business which promotes sustainable food systems, and which also provides good jobs. Shoppers today have more choices in the natural foods marketplace. The TCCP board needs to focus not just on strengthening the business, but also on communicating what’s unique about our cooperative business and why shopping co-op makes a difference. How can our stores truly be not just a place to buy food, but where you know the dollars you spend are building a better future for our community and our planet. As a board candidate, I offer nearly 40 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. I’m a past editor of “Co-op Consumer News,” formerly published by Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops, and a past editor of “Rollin’ Oats Journal,” formerly published by Linden Hills Co-op. Since 2003, I’ve worked as editor of the Minneapolis Labor Review.


Occupation: Physician (Retired), Children’s Respiratory & Critical Care Specialists, P.A.

Education: B.S., Biology and Psychology, University of Michigan; Doctor of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School; Pediatrics Residency, University of Minnesota Medical Center; Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship, Northwestern University

I have always believed that people with a common mission working together can accomplish great things that cannot be done when everybody is only looking out for themselves. The Co-op and its mission embody that to me. There is a certain way I feel when I walk out of the doors of the Co-op and I’d like to put my time and talents into an organization that gives those benefits and that feeling to others.

In the next five years I believe there is an opportunity for the Board to bring the benefits of the Co-op to an expanding owner base through ongoing improvement of access while balancing out the real costs of providing these benefits in an ethical way. I think the Board can continue enhancing the added value brought by having two stores. I am excited about the potential for more partnership with other groups and resources in the community, and even more educational opportunities.

I was recently sitting in the audience at a lecture by Michael Pollan. He said, “Healing begins at the table,” and that struck a chord with me. I want to play a role in the Co-op moving that thought forward into action.


Occupation: Sourcing Manager, General Mills

Education: M.S. Agricultural Economics, Texas Tech University; B.A., Agronomy, Oklahoma State University; Licensed Project Management Professional

Please choose me for the Board because I believe we have a responsibility to ensure our community has the best food available. In the next several years we have an opportunity to evolve our community to be more inclusive. This means expanding our reach and providing affordable quality to our owners and guests. To do so we will partner with suppliers to expand our efficient, effective supply chain while eliminating waste. We will engage new suppliers to provide an expanded offering to our owners based on owner suggestions.

During my 20-year membership, I have seen the Linden Hills Co-op evolve from not selling meat when we were in the current Settergen’s Ace Hardware store, to buying and expanding into Sunnyside Grocery. By expanding the space of the facility and including the sales of meat the co-op has expanded the community that is served. By merging the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op, two powerful organizations are even more prepared to face changing food and eating trends together.

I would like to be part of the group that takes the next step into the future to meet the needs of established customers and new members yet to join.