Board of Directors Candidate Statements
Natural Times, October/November/December 2012
The 2012 Ballot is in the printed newsletter available at New Leaf Market.
My family and I have been in Tallahassee since 1979 when my new natural resource planning job with the Florida Division of Forestry brought me here from Boca Raton, where I had previously served as the City Forester. I immediately joined the Leon County Food Co-op, and have been a member-owner ever since. I have one son, Ben, and a previous wife, Tara, who remains my best friend.
We love Tallahassee and New Leaf Market (NLM). During my working years with the Division of Forestry, and later the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), I was unable to run for the Board of NLM due to the travel involved with my planning job. However, after retirement from FWC in 2007, I resolved to try for the position. I ran in 2010 against three incumbents, all of whom were (and are) great people and current Board members (obviously I lost!). However, upon the early retirement of Chuck Hungerford from the Board, I was fortunate enough to be appointed to fulfill his unexpired term of office.
The past year and a half on the New Leaf Market Board has been a great learning experience for me. I received Board member training from the NCGA (National Cooperative Grocers Association), and have served with great enthusiasm as a Board member, as well as on the Board’s Elections and Education Committees. I have also participated in the deliberations of the Board’s Scholarship Committee as we consider the efficacy of establishing a 501(c)(3) (Foundation) as an adjunct to NLM.
As our current President Jim Terrell says, a Board member’s first term entails receiving (training, learning about the organization, rules, ends policies, etc.), and a Board member’s second term is about giving back (making an informed contribution as a Board member). I now fully understand what Jim means, and I agree. I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount in the past one-and-a-half years as a Board member, and am now prepared to “give back.” I would be honored to have the opportunity as a Board member over the next three years to help NLM continue to hold its very important place in the Tallahassee Community…a place where we can expect to find healthy food and supplements, great store management and staff, support for our natural resources (we were the top contributor to Save the Apalachicola drive), and contributions to the most laudable of human resource values. I love New Leaf Market!
My mother, Jill Palaez, introduced me to healthy eating and natural foods shopping while I was just a youngster growing up in Orlando, Florida. I was part of a group of people who started a food co-op in Orlando during the 1970’s. Her influence continued as I raised my own children. Sadly, during my past year serving on the board, I have been involved in her care as she struggled with illness. She died in July, but my wish is to continue my involvement honoring her in my commitment to natural living.
I have been involved with New Leaf Market, either as a member or a shopper, since the 1980’s. During the 80’s and 90’s I lived in Cairo, Georgia and would make the trip to Tallahassee once a week to shop at New Leaf Market. Ten years ago I moved to Tallahassee. After raising three daughters and retiring from the public school system as a special education teacher, I took my involvement with New Leaf Market a step further by running for the Board. I have been on the Board for one year filling a one-year position.
This past year, I have had a high level of involvement and training as a Board member. I participated in the Cooperative Board Leadership Training in Asheville, North Carolina. I have started a photo journal, sharing activities of board members with New Leaf Market shoppers and members on the New Leaf Market bulletin board at the exit area of the store. I had 100 percent participation at meetings and at owner drives. I feel a high level of commitment towards ensuring that New Leaf Market continues to have success in its unique services to the community, especially as a supporter of local farmers and growers, and as a place to see neighbors, hear music, sample foods, wines and beers, take a workshop or class while giving back to its owners.
I have always felt a commitment to eating healthy, growing my own food and participating with the community of friends who share similar values. New Leaf Market has become more than just a place to shop. Shopping at New Leaf Market is an event! It is satisfying to know that I can be part of such a unique shopping community. It is also satisfying knowing I can assist in its continuation as a natural foods cooperative.
Over the past year, your food co-op, New Leaf Market, has regained lost market share and a solid financial balance sheet. All of us on the Board, and many of you, knew it would happen. It all goes to show that sound management and a dedicated work force can mitigate an extended economic recession and new competition. It has been beautiful to watch and be a part of. The beauty of serving on the Board of Directors is that the Co-op is so well run on the operations side, that the Board can turn at least some of its attention to the future.
The current Board has the ability to do great things in the community. Because of your support—that is, voting with your dollars—we will have some leverage to be more active in the community. I look forward to serving another term on the Board representing the owner-members we have, increasing our numbers, and making sure we know what is important to you. I would appreciate your vote first.