This year, we have three open board positions and six candidates. Vote for your three favorite candidates in stores until Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8 pm, or online until 12 pm on Sunday, Sept. 20. Election results will be announced during the business meeting portion of our online Annual Owner Meeting, and in stores and online the following week. Read the board candidate bios below and then cast your vote.

 

 

I am thrilled to be running for re-election as a member of the Lakewinds Board of Directors. The past three years have been an exciting opportunity to learn more about Lakewinds as both a nationally recognized co-op and as an advocate in our local communities. As the current board Vice-President, I would welcome the opportunity to continue helping Lakewinds as we adapt and improve to meet the challenges ahead.

 

The world is continually changing, and Lakewinds can thrive in this climate because of three essential characteristics:

 

1) Local Producer Relationships: These relationships are a reason we, as shoppers, continue to see full shelves of high-quality, sustainable produce and innovative products. We must continue to invest in our local producers.

2) Safe Food and Safe Environment: Whether it’s clean-label foods or clean carts, today’s environment requires an ongoing commitment to keeping our members and our employees safe and healthy.

3) Financial Stewardship: Regionally and nationally, co-ops continue to see financial pressures that affect their operations. Lakewinds overcomes this very well, with it’s open-book management and influential ownership culture, but this work is never-ending and not easy.

I believe my background in business and fiance offers a unique perspective to Lakewinds. Throughout my career, I have demonstrated strong financial leadership in both medium and large-sized organizations. My experience includes corporate strategy, P&L management, and commercial operations. Today, I am a Finance Director at Ecolab, a global leader in food safety and hygiene, headquartered in St. Paul. I am passionate about finding success through teamwork and firmly believe that working together is the only way to continue long-term growth and success. If re-elected, I promise to continue to serve the needs of our members and help the Lakewinds we love to grown and adapt successfully. Thank you!

 

Food has always been a passion of mine. I have worked in the Food CPG industry for several years, and I come from a family of restaurateurs were we take pride in providing a great experience through locally-sourced food. I grew up in a small city in the Dominican Republic, and literally all of our food came from local farms and farmer’s markets. My dad worked his entire life for the Dominican Agricultural Bank, helping small farmers secure funding to grow their crops so they can have a consistent livelihood while helping nearby communities have access to fresh, organic foods. So, serving on the Lakewinds Board fits perfectly with my background, skills, and person passion!

 

Two important issue I see Lakewinds facing in the upcoming 5 years are:

1) With COVID-19, we have seen a big impact in consumer’s household income, as some are facing job loss or reduction of working hours, etc. It will be important to continue being there for our communities while providing value-driven solutions that can help them continue to count of Lakewinds as a main source of their food.

2) I also believe it will be important for Lakewinds to continue expanding their customer base (owners and shoppers) to reach new groups of people in order to allow Lakewinds to continue to grow and expand. This can be done via a strategic marketing and communication plan geared to educate, drive trial, and increase ownership share.

My expertise in Marketing/Brand Management will serve well not only to help connect with members and build authentic relationship with them, but also understand how we can position Lakewinds for sustained growth.

 

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to apply!

 

I am interested in serving on the board of directors at Lakewinds Food Co-op for numerous reasons. My experience in working for a cooperative (Farm Credit) will be an asset to the board. Cooperatives play an important role in our food system and serving on the Lakewinds board of directors will give me an opportunity to learn more about the cooperative structure and governance.

 

Food is one of our most basic needs. Providing safe, healthy and cost-effective food and nutrition to our society is one of societies’ biggest challenges and endeavors. Serving on the Lakewinds board is one more way I can participate in this process.

 

I believe the two most important issues facing Lakewinds in the next five years are the food supply chain and competition. As the coronavirus pandemic has showed us, our food supply chain is fragile. The pandemic is exposing weaknesses in the chain and we need to be able to adapt, not only now but for potential future disruptions.

 

The other primary issue facing Lakewinds is the competition in the retail space. The retail grocery space in the Twin Cities is very competitive and the value differentiation strategy will be key. The economic downturn is pushing consumers to be more cost-conscious. Lakewinds can’t compete with the Walmart’s and Costco’s of the world on price. However, Lakewinds can offer a value proposition on alternative food choices, sustainable sources of food, and the cooperative member advantage. This isn’t a new concept int he grocery space, but as consumers place a higher priority on cost in their choices of where to purchase food, it will be more important than ever to highlight the value that Lakewinds can offer.

 

In the last two years I have learned the benefit of Lakewinds Co-op goes far beyond a convenient place to shop for healthier options. The co-op aligns with my beliefs on how I want to behave as a community member and the realities of being a busy parent juggling the desire to do better with less time in the day. From supporting local farmers and businesses, providing workforce opportunities and assisting the community with grants and support, Lakewinds makes being a responsible member of a community easier. I am very grateful to have such a wonderful establishment in my community. I would be honored to serve on the Lakewinds Board and to bring my fifteen years of experience in firming up and scaling business operations as well as strategy planning to assist Lakewinds on ensuring a lively future. People are changing how they shop, what their expectations are, and how they want to interact with businesses. In the coming years this will continue to change at an increasing rate. I want to help Lakewinds ensure the core business remains on good footing regardless of these shifts and to support the evaluation of business adjacencies to address changing risk and customer preferences and to do so without sacrificing the core values of Lakewinds and its purpose of responsibly serving its communities and providers.

 

I was initially intimidated by Lakewinds and, although I moved within a mile of the Minnetonka store back in 2015, I did not join until 2019. Despite very good intentions of clean eating and cooking-from-scratch, I routinely prepare “child-friendly” meals that, at best, contain some organic and/or local ingredients. To me, a food co-op was for people who were more successful in turning their good eating intentions into relation. But, as I started to use Lakewinds more, I realized 1) the intimidation was in my head — people at the store were friendly and there were plenty of ready-made meals at Lakewinds for challenged home cooks; and 2) my good intentions were going nowhere unless I committed to learning more about cooking the healthy food I envision me and my family eating. So, the first step was joining Lakewinds as a member and shopping there more. Now I want to be more engaged.

 

And, now more than ever, food co-ops like Lakewinds need community engagement. The most pressing issue is the global pandemic and the fact that increased grocery sales have not benefited local food co-ops. The second, related issue, is the rise of internet grocery sales.

 

Part of tackling these issues is to continually let our community know that Lakewinds is open for business and committed to safely welcoming everyone. This may involve enhancing the store’s Instacart presence and exploring online ordering a customer pick up.

 

I am a problem-solver. I explore all options, listen to others’ input, and strategize how to implement the best approach. I will work hard to keep Lakewinds a vibrant part of our community.

 

I am very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, and for me that starts with the food you put in your body. You are only given one body in this lifetime, it’s not like a car where you can upgrade it every six years, so why not treat your body well and give it the best food you possibly can. Lakewinds is responsible for supplying our community with food that is fresh, local, organic and sustainable. The two critical things I see are growing membership and capturing new shoppers. I feel confident I can help with this given my marketing and brand management background.