- Hometown: Lombard
- Term: Elected in 2014, 2017, 2020. Current term ends June 2023.
- Contact Kathy
Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
As co-founder and current president, I have substantial knowledge of what it takes to get to opening day. I have many close connections throughout the co-op industry that continue to provide expert guidance and advice to our Board. I welcome the opportunity to serve another term and cannot wait to celebrate with all our Owners when Prairie Food Co-op opens.
Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment
University of Illinois, Senior Systems Engineer, since 2002
Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations past and present
I have spent the past 4 years volunteering my time for Prairie Food Co-op. I have worked on all areas of co-op development ranging from store design to financial feasibility to business planning. Prior to the co-op, I volunteered for a non-profit organization in Champaign, IL that worked for the passage of Illinois House Bill 211 - Contraceptive Equity in Health Insurance. I am proud to say the bill passed. I have also volunteered for Chicago Cares and other organizations doing great work to better their community.
Volunteer: Leadership positions held past and present
I have served as President of Prairie Food Co-op for the past 2 years. During that time, the co-op received a prestigious $10K Food Co-op Initiative grant and also the "2017 Cooperative Citizen" award for going far above in sharing our expertise with other co-ops. I serve as a peer mentor for other start-up co-ops needing board development and leadership guidance. In high school, I founded the Orchesis (dance) team and was co-captain for 3 years. Although this was many (many) years ago, I am proud that the Orchesis team still exists and is a huge success.
Volunteer: Honors/Awards Received
“2017 Cooperative Citizen” awarded to all directors of the PFC board
Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
Project management, Software Development
Please provide details on any marked expertise below
I have been a software developer for over 20 years, primarily focused on web and mobile app development. I have also been a project manager overseeing large software development efforts
What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
I have a combination of technical and management experience that lends itself to helping in various aspects of Prairie Food Co-op’s development. I have used my technical skills to build and maintain the PFC website, create and maintain record keeping systems, and establish various collaboration and project management tools for the co-op. As current president, my main focus is on project management – ensuring that our Board understands the project time-frame and that we are following best practices to develop the co-op. Over the past 4 years, I have attended many workshops to increase my knowledge of what is required to open a successful co-op.
What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
To see Prairie Food Co-op open and to shop at the store! As important as opening day is, though, it's essential that the Board make patient and informed decisions even when "easier" decisions are available that might not lead to long-term success. I want to see our community become more engaged with the co-op so that we gain enough Owners to sign a lease in 2017. I'm excited to be involved in a project that will have such a positive impact on our community
What experiences have you had with food co-ops in the past?
I was an Owner and volunteer at Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, IL for several years prior to moving to Lombard. Shopping at the co-op completely changed my view of how our food is produced and why it’s so important to support local farmers who use sustainable growing practices. Seeing the positive impact that the co-op has had on the Urbana community is very inspiring.
What do you hope to achieve from your board experience?
A bright, beautiful, amazing store that offers year round access to local and sustainably produced food. Passion for local, sustainable food and justice within our food system is why I've volunteered many (many!) hours of my time over the past 4 years to help Prairie Food Co-op become a reality. I also think the co-op is a great demonstration of the power of what a community can do when it comes together for a common cause.