2009 PCC Annual Election

The election was held April 28 — May 22.

PCC Board of Trustees candidate
statements and video


The 2008-2009 nominating committee presented a slate of five candidates for consideration in this year’s election. We will keep the candidates' campaign statements posted here for your reference as you review the election results.

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The top three candidates who received the most votes will each serve a three-year term.

 

Each candidate has provided some biographical background as well their thoughts on three questions regarding PCC’s future. Those questions are repeated below for each of the candidate's statements.

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Stephen Tan (Incumbent)Elected in the 2009 election.
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PCC does what few commercial enterprises even consider. It puts the well-being of our local communities, this region, and the environment at the heart of its business plan. Abiding by these values presents certain challenges but it also offers us a unique opportunity — to showcase a business willing to make and committed to honoring a pledge to serve the environmental and social interests of its members and customers.

The values by which PCC operates reflect my own. As an attorney with an exclusive practice in environmental law, I have devoted my professional life to the protection of public health and the environment and the wise use of natural resources.

As a trained conservation and field biologist, I understand how impaired ecological health affects our planet and our local communities. As someone who believes in what community organizations can achieve, I have a long history of service on nonprofit boards and as a volunteer. And as a business owner, I know that without financial success, other goals have little meaning.

Our cooperative has built a strong record of success over its 56 years. I hope to help build on that record through continued service as a trustee.

Why do you want to serve on the board? What makes you passionate about PCC and its mission?

We members know we can look to PCC for food that is healthful and responsibly produced. We can expect service by knowledgeable, courteous store employees. We can count on receiving a fair return on our equity as members.

But PCC doesn't merely satisfy our more individual expectations. Through the efforts of its management and staff, it has become an advocate for a more thoughtful agricultural and food policy, a resource to consumers on such issues as nutrition and wellness, a partner to organizations that share its values, and a leader in the business community on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

This way of doing business inspires my commitment to PCC. By imposing environmental and social obligations upon itself, our cooperative declares that financial success isn't enough. These obligations make service on PCC's board challenging, but the opportunity to reach beyond a financial bottom line makes that service particularly rewarding.

What are important elements that sustain PCC's competitive edge in good times or in economically challenging times?

For over a half-century, PCC has done business in a way that others largely have ignored but are now rushing to imitate. It has grown wisely, maintaining a regional focus that allows it to benefit from local economies of scale. It has built strong relationships with those it relies upon, including local farmers, producers, and wholesalers. It has hired and retained talented employees who share a belief in its mission.

And by insisting on doing right by the communities it serves, PCC has earned the trust of its members and customers. The loyalty born of that trust gives me confidence that PCC can succeed even in challenging economic times.

What unique skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I practice law with Cascadia Law Group, which advises and represents clients on a full range of environmental issues. My experience as an attorney and my education in conservation science allow me to understand the environmental concerns of our region and how they impact our local economy and our communities. That insight is critical to any entity committed to social and environmental good.

In addition, through my business and boardroom experience, I understand the responsibility of serving clients, fulfilling obligations to employees, and working with others in managing a business to success.

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Stacey Donahue — Elected in the 2009 election.
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Building a sense of responsibility, respect for our limited resources and a keen interest in healthy sustainable foods is an integral part of my life raising children.

My professional experience has positioned me well to serve on the PCC board. With an MBA in finance and marketing (University of Chicago) and a master's degree in journalism (Northwestern University), I have held various management and executive positions in marketing and operations focusing on educating companies about strategic growth, responsible packaging and innovative recycling technology.

My career in new product development and responsible packaging has allowed me to work with numerous nonprofits, corporations, small farmers and independent wineries worldwide to develop products and procedures that capitalize on long-term planning and protecting resources. I also have served in financial roles on three nonprofits here in King County, including the board of directors for Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS).

Social responsibility, environmental stewardship, welfare of the community and reinvestment in our local resources must continue to be an integral part of PCC despite economic downturns. PCC has been my market for over a decade because it is so much more than a grocery store. It's a wonderful means to positively influence our families' lives and our community's future.

Why do you want to serve on the board? What makes you passionate about PCC and its mission?

My desire to provide a rich and healthy eating experience for my family aligns strongly with PCC's mission of providing delicious, healthy and sustainable foods to our community.

I believe in the strong, innovative leadership that PCC plays in our community. Supporting fair trade, local and sustainable products and practicing social responsibility at home, work and through our local stores helps us advocate an even stronger message to state and national policy makers as well as the marketplace. I would be honored to be a part of its future strategic growth, setting even higher goals and protecting our valuable farmlands through the PCC Farmland Trust.

What are important elements that sustain PCC's competitive edge in good times or in economically challenging times?

PCC consumers may be faced with new decisions, new family budgets and perhaps even job loss. Eating healthy during stressful times and investing in our future resources and economy becomes even more of a necessity. Integrity, transparency and a wonderful staff will continue to embody PCC. We need to continue educating non-PCC consumers how the co-op benefits our entire community not just individuals.

Retail is an intensely competitive environment with shrinking margins and shareholder pressure to secure inexpensive products at any cost. This is short-term thinking. PCC must maintain its core values and sustainable behaviors and consider environmental and social aspects while planning for our future.

What unique skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

Extensive experience developing new eco-friendly products and packaging has given me a deep respect for limited resources. Our board needs strong financial guidance, leaders with experience managing large budgets and strategic growth plans. As an executive for several packaged goods and beverage companies, I have spent over 17 years in the grocery arena, meeting with shareholders, farmers, distributors, importers and employees.

Most importantly, I have the time in my career to devote to the board and strategic planning, translating these experiences into effective business practices for PCC. I can provide insights from our vendors' perspectives, communicate effective strategies for reducing waste and work as a team with our vendors to serve our customers. I believe my unique skills in the consumer packaged goods arena are different from those of the board and would be a great source of applicable knowledge for the team.

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Stuart Heath    » video

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I am passionate about PCC and its mission and would love the opportunity to contribute my experience as a business owner, a legal advisor, and a board of directors' member to PCC's community. I have a unique background ranging from volunteer service with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India and working on a farm in the Middle East to serving on the board of directors of several socially responsible businesses here in Washington.

Along the way, I have volunteered with several community organizations including Big Brothers, Junior Achievement, and United Way. And, I have worked with retail businesses (including retail restaurants and food distribution operations) and energy conservation organizations.

Finally, my experience serving on four nonprofit boards of directors and another six for-profit boards of directors or advisory boards gives me a strong understanding of how a board of directors should lead organizations by establishing policies and articulating end goals.

Why do you want to serve on the board? What makes you passionate about PCC and its mission?

PCC matches my values and fits my personal definition of what a business should do. I would like to give three examples of the values that I believe are relevant: First, I just completed a term as chairman of the board of a socially responsible company. We returned 100 percent of our net profit to the community.

Second, one of my companies, Elliott Bay Real Estate, sponsors an annual "Community Service Scholarship" where we select an economically disadvantaged young person who shows promise of community service and leadership to go on a Habitat for Humanity International build (I go with the scholarship recipient on the trip). The process of determining what we should do as a company to give back to our community, selecting the scholarship recipient, and overseeing the process as a group has changed our business for the better.

Third, I have been involved with an energy conservation company since 1991; it is now the largest provider of energy efficiency services to residential homes in the Western United States. So, in sum, my belief and experience is that businesses have a tremendous platform to impact our community by focusing on a dual or triple bottom line (not just the single bottom line of net profit). I have extensive personal experience leading those types of organizations, and I would like to help PCC continue its efforts to do exactly that.

What are important elements that sustain PCC's competitive edge in good times or in economically challenging times?

Good employees, good management and a great sense of community. Also, key performance metrics must be constantly checked, analyzed and updated. The board of trustees must lead by setting appropriate policies and ends and then allow management to operate in order to meet the constantly changing economic times.

What unique skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I have extensive experience leading boards and companies. I have served on several different boards for profit and nonprofit companies ranging in size up to 800 employees, 55 physical locations, and $68 million in annual revenues. Several of these companies have been socially responsible companies focused on a triple bottom line returning their profits to socially responsible causes.

Accordingly, I have an extensive understanding of how boards and management should interact to achieve maximum results. I also have substantial experience with financial statements: I have been responsible for the preparation of financial statements; I have reviewed financial statements for general management purposes; and I have written pro forma financial projections in order to raise venture capital.

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Maggie Lucas — Elected in the 2009 election.
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I discovered PCC when I moved to West Seattle in 1997, and have been a customer and fan ever since. My whole family has attended PCC Cooks classes and we rely on PCC for most of our food and healthy living education.

Occasionally I hear someone describe PCC as "an expensive grocery store." I happily launch into the list of membership benefits, the triple bottom line and the superiority of PCC food products. These conversations remind me how important PCC is to its members, and convince me there are thousands of potential members waiting to be educated about the unique and wonderful community that is PCC. I would like to support PCC in these outreach efforts through service on the board.

I practiced law in Seattle for 17 years before deciding to stay home with my children in their younger years. I have since worked to make their school a Washington Green School, volunteered at a free legal clinic and served on the boards of two local nonprofits, including three years on an executive committee and one term as president. I would be honored to bring my skills, experience and enthusiasm to PCC's board.

Why do you want to serve on the board? What makes you passionate about PCC and its mission?

I have experienced many aspects of PCC: as a shopper, member, annual meeting and board meeting attendee, cooking class student, and parent of cooking class and cooking camp students. In each encounter, PCC exceeded my expectations.

PCC is an original in the exciting movement where consumers demand their vendors consider social and environmental factors along with profit. I share these values and am grateful to have PCC in my community. I am excited to be considered for the board and the chance to work in support of PCC's sustainable world vision.

What are important elements that sustain PCC's competitive edge in good economic times or in economically challenging times?

I think the basics are what sustain PCC's edge — high food quality, superior staff, thoughtful governance. Because wholesome food, health and safety have always been PCC priorities, shoppers know they can safely feed their families from our shelves despite increasing numbers of food safety alerts and concerns about ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.

PCC's expertise in local and organic products makes it the leader as this market grows. The value of PCC's professional, personable and knowledgeable staff is tremendous and allows us to retain a loyal customer base in good and bad times. PCC has the benefit of continuous, steady management, and is in a good position to weather an economic downturn.

These factors will help sustain PCC in difficult times but we can help too by bringing more shoppers to the stores. Our existing membership is also a resource that will help keep our competitive edge in this economy and in the face of increasing competition.

What unique skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

I have several years experience as a board member and officer, and a demonstrated ability to work and lead in a collaborative setting. I am a parent of young children, an important perspective shared by a large segment of PCC shoppers. Five years on the board of a nursing home foundation taught me about nutritional issues facing the elderly — a membership group not substantially represented on the board.

My training and experience as an attorney, including many years as a mediator, provide a strong background in critical and creative thinking, problem solving and leadership.

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Mark Woodward    » video

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My background in marketing and communications for nonprofit health care and community-service organizations has given me the experience to make a significant contribution to the continued success of PCC through serving on its board of trustees.

As the director of marketing and public relations for Evergreen Healthcare in Kirkland, my role is to promote the services of a community-owned health care system with the purpose of "enriching the health and well-being of every life we touch."

I see a lot of similarities between Evergreen and PCC — being mission driven, community-owned and focused on ultimately improving the health of the communities it serves. I'm inspired especially by PCC's mission of an economic, environmental and socially responsible triple bottom line. I feel passionately about promoting sustainability and healthy eating by helping individuals and families understand how choices in daily living can make a difference in their health and the environment.

I have a master's degree in advertising, 25 years of professional experience and have served on several boards including Recycle Ann Arbor and the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. My approach to problem solving and making positive change is to keep it simple, stay focused and be creative.

Why do you want to serve on the board and what makes you passionate about PCC and its mission?

I hope to use my skills and experience to be of service and help make a positive difference in my community. Serving on PCC's board gives me that opportunity. PCC is a jewel in the Puget Sound region because it's a model of a successful business that leverages its financial resources to promote better health for individuals and the environment.

Serving on a board is a natural progression of my Leadership Eastside (LE) training. LE prepares its members to volunteer for leadership roles in the community in a variety of ways and work collaboratively with diverse groups of people to get things accomplished. Our team project focused on educating the Eastside community about simple things that can be done to save the environment.

What are important elements that sustain PCC's competitive edge in good times or in economically challenging times?

PCC is not just a business selling goods for profit — it's an organization promoting a philosophy of better living — social responsibility, environmental stewardship and community health. As PCC promotes its ideals and values among member and non-member customers, it creates continued demand for the products it sells and programs it offers.

If PCC can do a stellar job of communicating value to its members and converting more customers to members, it has an opportunity to build loyalty that will sustain it during difficult economic times.

What unique skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

The most important skill I can bring to PCC is the ability to communicate effectively. For the organization to continue to succeed in fulfilling its mission by growing its customer base and promoting its causes, it needs to be clear and compelling in its communications. Through my experience in health care organizations, I have come to understand the importance of effectively communicating information that is often complex or may not seem relevant at the moment to an audience of people with busy lives.

In addition to continually focusing on the communications big picture, I will strive to work collaboratively with my fellow board members to help guide the organization. I will also be an ambassador and advocate for PCC in the community by taking every possible opportunity to tell its story, promote its ideals and help shape a positive image of the organization.

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