Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Jacquelyn Casazza

  • Hometown: Glen Ellyn
  • Owner #: 886
  • Term: Elected 2021. 1st term ends 2024.

Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
I have a personal passion for community connection and environmental awareness and education. I see the Prairie Food Coop as a natural intersection between these two areas, and the PFC as a place that will have positive benefits on our community, environment and local economy for years to come. I am excited about working with other passionate volunteers to make the PFC a reality.

Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment 
I was previously a senior manager with Deloitte Tax for over 16 years within the Global Employer Services practice. I advised clients on the tax and human resource implications of global talent deployment as well as employee experience. I also led a number of internal initiatives focused on training, mentoring, and creating a motivating, fun, and inclusive work environment for my team through events like office scavenger hunts and decathlons.

Currently I am a consultant with Beautycounter, a safer cosmetics and personal care products company. I share information about ingredient safety so individuals can make informed decisions when purchasing a product. Additionally I advocate for stronger, more transparent regulation at the state and federal level that considers the health of consumers and the planet.

Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations/Leadership past and present

  1. HFS Chicago Scholars; mentor and volunteer, 2005-2017, Young Professionals Board Member, 2014-2017
  2. Abraham Lincoln Elementary School PTA; Auction Fundraiser co-chair, 2018 and 2019
  3. La Escuela Cooperativa de Sayulita; current Board Member
  4. Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission; current Commissioner
  5. Glen Ellyn Park District Environmental Advisory Board; current Board member

Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
Management, Fundraising, Event Planning, Communications, environmental education including recycling, sustainable swaps, safer food, cosmetic and cleaning products

What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director? 
During my time at Deloitte, I worked with multiple clients around the world and even spent time working abroad, both in India and Switzerland. This taught me how to consider ways to engage and more importantly to listen to multiple perspectives throughout the life of a project. I feel strongly about making sure all stakeholders feel “bought in” and listened to, as well as transparently providing feedback. I gained an understanding of how to effectively serve clients by creatively balancing their priorities and goals with the realities of a budget and timeline in which to accomplish those. I also learned how to identify strengths of my team members, then manage and motivate the group to work collaboratively towards our goals.

Additionally in my experience with Beautycounter as well as serving on multiple volunteer boards in Glen Ellyn, I have learned different ways to engage community members. This has ranged from creating my own facebook group with 230+ members to share environmental and clean living tips, to creating and organizing a "Trash Talk" zoom to share recycling information with friends and neighbors, to planning in person “Green Gatherings” at the Glen Ellyn Library with the Environmental Commission. I have learned and continue to learn what it takes to create and engage a community both virtually and in person. I would love to bring these skills to the PFC and make it a welcoming place to gather and exchange ideas for community members, whether online, in person or both. My career has been working with people to help overcome the barriers preventing their progress. This involves listening, planning, consensus, execution and monitoring while communicating and adjusting with all stake/shareholders as necessary. I have collaborated with others to accomplish this in the past and I believe PFC will benefit with these skills and those noted in the expertise response above. I have always been prepared to dig in as far as necessary to get things done.

What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
A trip to the grocery store is a part of our everyday lives, and my goal for the Prairie Food Coop is to make that grocery trip a bit more purposeful and magical! I see the PFC as a place where individuals feel connected to each other, the community, and our environment. There is a great opportunity to not only serve individuals who already value supporting local producers and socially conscious companies, but to include and educate individuals who haven’t thought about these things before when they visit a grocery store. I would also love to see the PFC as a place where the "environmentally curious" can gather to learn more about ways they can have an impact on caring for our planet. Being environmentally friendly can sometimes feel intimidating, but we will need all of us to help protect the planet. There are a number of different ways people can play a role in caring for our environment by participating in the PFC, for example, making a more environmentally friendly purchase, or learning and engaging with other community members during an online event. By bringing environmental awareness through these opportunities and others, individuals can learn about what personal impact they can have on the health of our community and planet, and share that knowledge along to family, friends and neighbors.

What experiences have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
I currently serve on the board of La Escuela Cooperativa de Sayulita, which is a cooperative preschool based in Sayulita, Mexico. La Escuela is a Montessori-based preschool for 3-5 year olds in that offers a tuition-free education for families who participate, and has recently expanded to offer after school programs and summer programs. La Escuela Cooperativa collaborates with student families, educators and community members in its educational and community program offerings. I have advised in areas of communication and advertising, fundraising and event planning, and program planning related to gardening and composting.

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