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Board of Directors News

2019 Election Results

The election results are in! Wheatsville has two new Directors and two returning incumbent Directors. We’ve also chosen eleven non-profit organizations to benefit from our Community Action program. Thanks to all of our Owners who voted and congratulations to all four of our election winners: Melissa Sledge, Megan McDonald, Rose Marie Klee, and Brandon Hines. New board members will be seated at the January board meeting, Tuesday, January 29 at 3101 Guadalupe.

As with any properly functioning democracy, elections are a required and critical part of the process. Most co-ops today are guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles laid out by International Cooperatives Alliance, the basic statement of which were set out by the Rochdale Pioneers in the mid-1800s. The second cooperative principle, and arguably the defining characteristic of a cooperative, is Democratic Member Control requiring cooperatives to be “democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.” For Wheatsville, this means that we depend on those Owners who are willing to give the time and energy to participate in this important way.

897 owners voted this year. There are now over 23,000 Wheatsville owners and we know we can do better! Remember, as an owner, you have a voice and every year we need to hear from you when it’s time to choose the owners you want to lead Wheatsville!



The next time you are enjoying your food on the porch at Guadalupe or in the community room at South Lamar, be sure to look up and notice the flags that display our seven Cooperative Principles. To support and highlight these principles, we’ve created unique ways for owners to get to know their co-op and engage with the Board of Directors. “Yay!” for Co-op Principle #5 Education, Training and Information!

From eating with a Board Member on Thursday’s $5 Dinner, to owners visiting 4th Tap Co-op for a brewery tour (Woo-hoo! Principle #6 Co-operation Among Co-operatives), to visiting with owners during Wheatsville’s Ice Cream Social compliments of Nada-Moo, we have had fun opportunities to learn and enjoy what the co-op has to offer!

Afraid you missed all of the fun? Not a chance! Let’s not forget principal #2, Democratic Member Control. Coming up October 6th is our BIG CO-OP FAIR and ANNUAL OWNER MEETING. This is where your Board of Directors demonstrates accountability to the membership. You will hear the Wheatsville financial report, listen to board candidates speak, and enjoy some stories about how Wheatsville positively impacts our community (Principal #7 Concern for Community...sweet!). It will also be a great opportunity for you to cast your vote in our annual election, hint, hint…

Plus, Wheatsville will have some fun surprises to make the gathering a great way to spend your day and celebrate all things Cooperative.  The board’s Owner Engagement Committee is working hard to plan for the next year so be sure to stay informed by signing up for the weekly email (upper right corner of our website or  follow us on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram – either way, stay connected!

The next time you participate in an event, come up and introduce yourself. Board members are first and foremost Wheatsville owners, just like you! We look forward to having a conversation and learning more about our owners and co-cooperators! —MeriJayd O'Conner, Board Member


Welcome the 2018 Board of Directors

This year, the Wheatsville Board seated our 2018 Directors at the January 16th meeting, and held our annual retreat on the second weekend in February. It was a great opportunity to develop as a team and do some foundational work as we embark on our journey together this year. It is exciting to lead the co-op as we turn 42 (which I am told is the secret of the universe) on March 16th, and as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dan Gillotte, our Chief Executive Grocer, who was first hired on February 18, 1998. We are deeply grateful to THAT Board of Directors for a wise decision that has paid dividends to our organization many times over!

We welcome four new directors along with two re-elected incumbents to the 2018 Board.

Jason Bourgeois describes himself as a student services practitioner, a performance conditioning specialist, an uncle, and a learning enthusiast. He loves that co-ops support unity, are inclusive, inspire creativity, and are some of the best hubs for community engagement.

Brandon Hines is a dimensional fund advisors manager specialized in information risk and security. He has been shopping at Wheatsville for 25 years because it is about so much more than getting groceries! Brandon believes that through support of our neighbors, Wheatsville will play a significant role in shaping Austin’s growing reputation as a creative center for community, culture, and cuisine.

Don Jackson is a dyed-in-the-wool cooperator who currently serves on the Austin Cooperative Business Association Board, and formerly served on the board of the Black Star Co-op. He is a Project Coordinator at the City of Austin focused on supporting small, local business districts, and he is inspired by Wheatsville’s efforts at local sourcing, commitment to affordable groceries and to livable wages.

Brian Mikulencak is an attorney whose law practice is focused on serving organizations that effect positive social change by using alternative business forms. He values the role that Wheatsville has played in the community throughout the course of Austin’s growth, and is passionate about supporting the food-choice owner-democracy of our co-op.

Lyz Nagan is the communications director for a Minneapolis-based firm, and she grew up shopping at local food co-ops. She knows from those experiences that co-ops build community. She believes in the value of small, personal actions, and she strives to be part of building a strong neighborhood by supporting local businesses and workers, and by doing one thing each day to make the city a better place.

MeriJayd O’Connor is a cranio-sacral therapist who sees Wheatsville as a fearless innovator, supporting sustainable food production, reducing waste, and creating strong cooperative alliances with other industries as we grow into the future. She dedicates herself to improving the health and well-being of others and is part of a developing organization that provides therapy to victims of torture and trauma.

At the January board meeting, three new officers were elected for 2018: Lisa Mitchell is Treasurer, Lyz Nagan is Secretary, and Rose Marie Klee is President. We are looking forward to supporting the work of this board!

We stand on the legacy of so many great directors and boards who came before us, and so I would like to say a special word of thanks to our outgoing directors: Julie Le, who was our star, leading more than her share of committees in her two years on the board; Andi Shively, who served as Treasurer and continues to provide leadership as President of the Austin Cooperative Business Association; and Kitten Holloway, who served as Secretary along with so many years of service on the Nominations Committee.

—Rose Marie Klee, Board President