Our Board of
The Portland Food Co-op is owned by people in the community – over 4,500 in total! Obviously, having that many Member-Owners trying to directly manage a business would be impossible. Instead, the Member-Owners elect a Board of Directors to govern the organization on their behalf.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall governance of the Co-op. Directors are elected every spring and serve three-year terms. The Board meets once a month, and Board meetings are open to all Member-Owners. Those interested in running for the Board are strongly advised to attend at least one Board meetings to learn more about leadership within the Co-op.
An important role of the Board is to hire and oversee the General Manager, who runs the day-to-day operations of the retail store. The Board is also responsible for the long-term vision of the Co-op. While the current retail store is the most tangible product of the organization, the Board is always seeking ways to expand the positive impacts of the Co-op on our Member-Owners and the community.
Board meetings are held at 409 Cumberland Avenue on the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 7-9 PM. If you would like to attend a Board meeting, please always check the Co-op calendar to ensure that a Board meeting has not been moved or rescheduled. All Member-Owners are welcome to attend. Board meeting agendas are often very full, so if you would like to speak at a Board meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make ample time for you. (please note that there is no Board meeting in December)
CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS
Colleen Finnell 2022
The Co-op provides a unique opportunity to get state-wide farmers, produce and products showcased in front of a large urban audience. As Portland continues to grow, it will remain important to expose the city’s community to what other counties and regions are producing within Maine. The skills I have and believe will be of value to the board lie within team management, project implementation management and execution, as well as process improvement and assessment. Being on the board is a means to becoming more ingrained and involved in the broader Maine farmers and food industry. As a recent Portlander, I'd like to be able to promote the mission of the Portland Food Co-op as I continue to meet other residents of our beautiful city.
As a project manager in my full time job, management of goals, expectation setting, budget forecasting and overall end result evaluation are skills I exercise on a daily basis. While I have not formally worked in grocery, I have ~15 years experience in retail where I will be able to relate to seeing things from a customer and customer service lens while reviewing store performance and activity.
Julie Baroody 2022
Julie Baroody has been involved in cooperatives since college, when she lived in a cooperatively-managed house where one of the weekly jobs was food co-op shopper. She has been an enthusiastic Member-Owner of the Portland Food Co-op since 2014, volunteering with governance development aspects of the Board from October 2015-April 2016, and joined the Board in 2016.
Julie’s career has been spent with two nonprofit organizations that aim to improve the sustainability of land use: the Rainforest Alliance and the Verified Carbon Standard. Through work and study experiences, she has had the good fortune to encounter many different agricultural production systems around the world, earn knowledge of land use sustainability issues, and develop and challenge cultural sensitivity and curiosity. These themes influence all of Julie’s work on the Board. Julie is happiest when she has prepared a great-tasting meal using local, responsibly-produced ingredients.
Melissa Emerson 2022
A Portland native, Melissa Emerson brings a deep commitment to fostering economic viability and growth of our local food systems and was thrilled to see the expansion of the Portland Food Co-op. She has volunteered, helping to spread the word and recruit new Member Owners since 2014 and assisting with governance development in 2015. Melissa has a passion for meaningful conversation and cooperative problem solving as well as the added perspective that comes from years skillfully managing, and controlling the day to day operations of, a successful retail company. As the owner of Pinetree Garden Seeds in New Gloucester, she offers a pragmatic, fiscally minded evaluation, which is buoyed by her enthusiasm for, and commitment to, supporting local farmers and food producers. She currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Good Food Council of Lewiston Auburn, which works to make quality food readily available to the full community through education, coordination, and policy work
Inspired by the incredible success of the retail store, Melissa believes the Co-op is poised to engage even more meaningfully in the community and to dive deeply into its role as an agent for education, cooperation, and uplift for the full spectrum of Portland’s diverse citizenship. An impressive member of the local food network, the Co-op has, and can continue, to significantly bolster the physical and economic health of its larger community. This is a wonderful place to shop, connect, and support our personal and economic communities. The positive momentum of the Co-op will be maintained by thoughtful recruitment, engagement, and responsible representation of Member Owners as well as increasing access to the Co-op’s resources, both the physical and intangible, for the community at large. Melissa looks forward to serving with care and commitment.
diane rood 2022
Supporting local businesses in our community is very important to me. The Portland Food Co-op strengthens our community by financially supporting local farmers and vendors while providing healthy food options to our neighborhoods.
We are in a unique position of NOT being a big box store in Portland. We can provide a true "customer centered experience" of a smaller local grocer. The Co-op offers nutritious local food while minimizing our carbon footprint--we are not transporting our food from long distances. We offer a much "fresher food" option for foodies and those with dietary concerns. For customers living "in-town" we also offer a walkable or public transportation option.
Having worked in the non-profit sector as a Development Director; I gained experience working with special events, training of volunteers/staff, budgeting, and relationship development. While working in the grocery sector I gained management experience in several departments while handling personnel issues and budget projections/revenues. Lastly, as a commercial underwriter/broker I was responsible for profitable management of a large business portfolio. These positions required refined negotiation skills.
In leadership positions I have always had either a pre-established goal or have asked for a goal. This is the only way to assess how you are doing and/or what you need to hopefully achieve. If goals aren't met or are exceeded then comments as to "why" are helpful for future planning.
The Portland Food Co-op is financially sound and soon needs to begin looking at future long term growth options. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Co-op, as a board member. I would welcome the opportunity to be a small part of our continued growth!
Andrew Magoun 2020
Since moving to Maine in 2012, my family and I have been exposed to and gotten into the local
food movement (my 6 year old daughter’s favorite type of meat is “local, grass fed” now). I first discovered the Portland Food Co-op during its fundraising stage for the new store. We became members and watched its progress and success ever since. My family and I benefit from the ability to buy high quality, locally produced goods and food. I see a position on the Board of the PFC as a way to give back to the local community by helping to strengthen a grocery store
focused on both the community and local food.
As a Board member, I will call on both my experiences as an analyst for the Department of Defense, as well as my recent MBA from the University of Southern Maine to address some of the the strategic issues facing the PFC.
Two main issues I see currently are how to achieve and then maintain profitability for Member-Owners while solidifying the PFC’s position within the community and ensuring the PFC is accessible (and useful) to all socioeconomic backgrounds. I see this balance between profitability and accessibility as one of the largest issues facing the PFC in the coming years.
I know my skill set will help the PFC find and maintain the right balance that will benefit all stakeholders, including Member-Owners, local producers, and the local community, alike. Given my strong analytical, data-driven background, I can help ensure data collected by the PFC is both used and communicated effectively to Member-Owners and Board members for furthering important decision-making.
Lien De Brouckere 2022
I love real food! So at a time when mega-companies increasingly drive our agricultural production, food distribution and retail away from real food, I want to help the Co-op to succeed as a local, sustainable, profitable and value-driven organization, striving to increase the Co-op’s accessibility to the broad diversity of individuals and communities in the greater Portland area. I also want to help foster greater representation of that diversity among Member-Owners and the Maine farmers, producers, and vendors – recognizing the systemic obstacles faced by most.
Beyond serving as a food retail space selling outstanding local, natural and organic foods, I see the Co-op as hub to serve the broader Portland community making healthy local food more accessible to all, raising awareness in the community and schools about growing food, avoiding food waste, supporting local growers and producers, and more sustainable habits. The Co-op also represents a space for democratized decision-making by Member-Owners, supporting like-minded groups and organizations with shared values.
I’m a lawyer with more than 10 years of project management experience, most of it in the non-profit sector defining and implementing strategies to empower local civil society organizations in sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan defend and assert the rights of local communities affected by mega-projects such as dams, palm oil plantations, mining, oil and gas operations. I manage my own consulting business and have served in a Director role at two international non-governmental organizations in Washington DC, including budget oversight responsibilities.
I have designed and facilitated bottom-up processes defining long-term goals for coalitions working on corporate accountability in challenging contexts across the African continent, and nationally on community rights in Guinea, Liberia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these processes involved a broad range of actors, from small community-based groups in rural settings to leading national and international non-governmental organizations. Progress towards the goals of each coalition requires understanding complex challenges, breaking ambitious goals down into manageable, actionable items that can drive change, hold people accountable with defined responsibilities, and result in just community outcomes.
Timothy Lynch 2020
I believe in the Co-op’s mission to build a strong community by bringing together local producers with educated and discerning consumers. Each party benefits. Local producers profit from a larger market, and can in turn have more confidence to reinvest in their business. Consumers can get fresher and healthier local products from producers that share their values. This all helps keep money invested in our community.
My business experience is varied. I have a BS in computer science. Worked in healthcare. Earned an MBA from NYU. I worked in corporate banking. I took off time to stay at home, and raise my children. It was then that I really started focusing on where my food originated, what we ate and how it was prepared.
I’ve found a like-minded community in the Co-op. Portland Food Co-op is filling an important niche within Portland’s competitive food landscape. The Board, membership, general manager and vendors all worked together to build a very impressive storefront. The store has a broad and varied merchandise mix with quality products that meet the needs and budgets of the membership. The board puts a lot of effort and commitment into continually canvasing the membership and redirecting their efforts to interpret and adjust that mix of product offerings. My professional experiences and personal interests will allow me to make a valuable contribution to the board.
Mary Malia 2022
Mary is a long-time citizen of Maine and the Portland area. She has led three different nonprofits over the last 12 years at both the national and local level. Her experience includes working with a board consensus decision making model, strategic planning experience both as an ED and as a consultant, leadership development, employee engagement, grant writing and management, community relationship building, board recruitment and training, budget development, event planning, financial reporting and compliance. She has also sat on two boards.
“I love the Portland Food Co-op and what it does in this community. I believe in the co-op model for food access and distribution. As a vegan, the PFC is one of my go-to destinations for the kind of food I want to put in my body. Local, organic and grown and created with love. I’m always telling friends about the Co-op.”
Sarah Alexander 2021
Sarah’s experience advocating for sustainable, local and fair food systems goes back more than fifteen years. A native of Ohio, she attended Northwestern University, then moved to the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where she spent 3 years helping to restore traditional food systems and stop the genetic engineering of wild rice. She then headed to Columbus, Ohio and helped to grow the urban agriculture program at the American Community Garden Association. From there she went to Washington, DC and spent nearly ten years as the National Deputy Organizing Director at Food & Water Watch. She moved to Portland in 2015 and now works as a senior strategist coaching progressive nonprofits.
“I understand the hard work that goes into producing healthy food, and how important it is that the Co-op is a place where farmers can get a fair price for the food they produce. Our Co-op also helps keep our money local by supporting Maine producers who provide our community with food that is good for us and our environment. The experience I’ve gained working in diverse communities mobilizing people towards common goals will inform how I work with my fellow member-owners to help direct the growth and evolution of the Portland Food Co-op.”