Coop Board Members

Vanessa Bittner

Position: 
President
Vanessa Bittner

 

Co-op Member Since: 2008

Board Member Since: 2010

Favorite Co-op Item: Local dairy products and deli items

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: As a source of healthy, responsibly produced and local food, the Potsdam Food Co-op is and has been a focal point for the community. I wanted to share my energy to help the Co-op meet new economic, cultural and demographic challenges.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?: I will contribute my unique perspective gained from volunteer experience in the U.S. and abroad, appreciation of the cooperative principles, and my belief in personal and group responsibility as a member of the Board. I support the expansion of local sourcing for both produce and value-added products, and reduction of food miles.

Abigail Lee

Position: 
Vice President
Abigail Lee

 

Co-op Member Since: 1988

Co-op Board Member Since: Initially in the 1990's and now again in 2013

What brought you to the Co-op?: What I appreciate most about the Co-op is its commitment to provide local, international and basic goods (at reasonable prices) to the community.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I have experience with not-for-profit organizations (from both the Board member and employee perspective.) I have organizational and system analysis skills and understand, from experience, the complexities of retail operations.

Robin McClellan

Position: 
Treasurer
Robin McClellan

 

Co-op Member Since: 1973

Co-op Board Member Since: 2012

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: The Co-op has been an important part of my community since its inception. It has been through many changes and survived many challenges. As long as I have been in the North Country I have wanted to serve on the Board and this moment in time, when the Co-op is looking forward to the next 40 years, seems like the ideal moment to use the organizational and governance skills I’ve learned to make a difference. My hope for my tenure on the Board is to prepare the Co-op for the next generation of leadership so that it can serve coming generations as well as it has served mine.


Mary Egan

Position: 
Secretary

 

Co-op Member Since: 2009

Co-op Board Member Since: 2011

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: I like the freshness of the food and that I am able to obtain products I cannot get in any other store. I had an instant interest in how the Co-op functions and to offer my services.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I worked in the retail business in a variety of department stores. I have experience in an office setting as Executive Secretary for the Sr. Vice President for Finance at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. I worked as an executive secretary for 17 years and then as a grant writer until retiring.

Janet Learned

Position: 
Board Member
Janet Learned

 

Co-op Member Since: 1991

Co-op Board Member Since: 2009

What brought you to the Co-op Board?:  A sense of responsibility to the membership and the community that stems naturally from a deep appreciation of what the Co-op has been and what it can and should become.  Food co-ops arose historically in response to a collective need for good food at reasonable prices.  That need still exists within our community and as our economy makes the necessary transition to local and sustainable, that need will grow.   Since we own the store collectively, it can be directly responsive to our needs, to the needs of our community, and to the growing network of local suppliers.  This requires dedicated leadership.

What can you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?:  I have been an active member of the Co-op for 21 years. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in an alternative food economy, and I love having access to healthy and local food, and sharing my food store with good folks. I have served the Co-op in a number of capacities – I am the gardener/chief composter and have been on the Board for nine years, off and on, to name what I believe to be my most significant contributions. I am interested in the process of governance, and don't mind at all spending time with the committed, creative and agreeable members who serve on the Board of Directors.  

Arthur Freeheart

Position: 
Board Member

 

Co-op Member Since: Originally joined very shortly after the Co-op was founded. Rejoined in Oct. 2006

Co-op Board Member Since: 2009

Favorite Co-op Item: Equal Exchange Chai Tea

What brought you to the Co-op?: A high school friend's Mom who was a founding member.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: Passionate commitment to cooperative ideals and community-building. Decades of experience as a Co-op shopper, volunteer, and worker. A great love of healthy, fresh and local foods.

Pamela Maurer

Position: 
Board Member
Pamela Maurer

 

Co-op Member Since: May 1985

Co-op Board Member Since: 2011 (previously Board chair 1988-1992)

What brought you to the Co-op Board?:   I have become more involved with the local food movement and want to be involved with its further growth through the Co-op's place in the community.

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?:  I chaired the Potsdam Farmers Market board in 2010 and helped start the Be local, Buy local, Eat local campaign sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which I served on the Board of for 5 years, including being the president. I organized the 1st Spring Fling and local hero's parade for the Summer Fest in 2009, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to serving and helping to secure our local food future!

Laura Cordts

Position: 
Board Member

Co-op Member Since:   A long time!  I can remember packaging at the old Co-op on Market Street, by the bypass.  

Co-op Board Member Since: 2013What do you appreciate most about the Co-op?  The availability of healthy, local, and/or organic food, in a fun and friendly setting.

What brought you to the Co-op Board? I love the Co-op and want to make sure it remains viable in our community.  

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board? Well, I am certainly interested in food: growing it, cooking and baking it, and eating it!  I also have a keen interest in my own health and the health of our local economy and environment.  For more than 25 years I have worked in fund-raising, marketing, and public relations. I was a Board Member and past President of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, past-President of the Potsdam Rotary Club, and I am currently on the Potsdam Holiday Fund Board, so I know what it takes to be a volunteer-leader.   

Will Siegfried

Position: 
Board Member

 

Co-op Member Since: 1992

Co-op Board Member Since: 2009

Favorite Co-op Item: Organic valencia oranges

What brought you to the Co-op Board?:  Desire to ensure that the Co-op continue to be able to meet its members' needs.

What can you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?:  My work on the coöp board is directed toward improving the accuracy and timeliness of financial reporting, with the ideal that this will help us to better assess and direct the coöp. I would also like to help shape what the coöp does next.

Rajiv Narula

Position: 
Board Member
Rajiv Narula

 

Co-op Member Since: June 2012; customer since Sep. 2005

Co-op Board Member Since:  June 2012

Favorite Co-op Item: Fresh, Equal Exchange, Organic and Healthy Food and other products; also international variety

What brought you to the Co-op Board?: Generally shopping there, attending events

What can you contribute to the Co-op Board?: I am an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Potsdam-Canton community. Having recently graduated with a PhD from Clarkson University in Environmental Science and Engineering, I am currently an Assistant Professor at SUNY Canton's Science and Criminal Justice Department. My doctoral research on pathogen quantification and reduction in dairy operations took me out of the laboratory to interact and exchange knowledge with farmers, policy makers, government officials and engineers in the local area focused on adopting new sustainable technologies in farm management. Both my education and personal convictions compel me to promote a cleaner environment and wider availability of nutritional and organic foods in the local community. I share these goals with the Potsdam Co-op.

I am also actively involved with the Sustainable Living Project (SLP) and Local Living Festival, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton and Clarkson University organizations, and am a member of the board of Potsdam's CORC Thrift Store. Having grown up and studied in India and knowing 5 Indian languages has greatly expanded my understanding of different cultures. I believe that my strong organizational and communication skills, with diverse and intense academic, professional, and leadership experiences will make me a valuable asset to the Potsdam Co-op Board of Directors.