2014 board candidate statements and videos

The 2013-2014 nominating committee is presenting a slate of four candidates for your consideration in this year’s board election. Their bios follow, along with their responses to some questions designed to help you learn more about them and why they want to serve you.

Each candidate sat for video interviews so that you can see and hear them.

Each candidate provided some biographical background as well as their responses to three questions designed to give members insight into each candidate's reasons for running.

Carol Binder

Carol Binder (incumbent)

Statement

I have lived in Seattle for over 35 years, all of them in West Seattle. I shop regularly at the West Seattle PCC. By living and raising a family in the same neighborhood, I have come to appreciate the community that I feel in my neighborhood. It is that same sense of community and loyalty that attracted me to PCC and service on its board of trustees.

I have worked for over thirty years in business and finance in Seattle, beginning with work for a large international accounting firm, to owning my own business, and most recently, to serving as CEO of the Pike Place Market. Throughout my work and personal life I have been drawn to businesses whose focus has been broader than just economic success, businesses that understand their role in their community and their obligation to give back. I have a strong personal commitment to food and environmental issues.

I continue to work on community development both locally and globally. In addition to serving on the PCC board, I serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Seattle Waterfront Redevelopment and have travelled to Africa to assist women’s cooperative businesses with financial training and business development.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

A strong board is comprised of a mix of new and seasoned trustees. I have served on the PCC board for nearly six years, and that tenure, along with my professional background, gives me a good understanding of PCC’s business and culture. I know PCC’s management staff, understand PCC’s governance structure and work well with the other trustees.

During the past several years, the board and the management have been working on expanding the co-op with the development of two new PCC locations. I am committed to see these stores opened and the neighborhoods become a part of the PCC community and therefore would very much like to continue to serve on the PCC board.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

PCC is a cooperative business whose bottom line consists of more than just financial success. PCC is committed to doing business in an environmentally and socially sustainable way. The cooperative model generates a strong loyalty from members, customers and suppliers that comes from feeling like you belong and have shared values.

In addition to being an admired brand in the very competitive grocery business in the local area, PCC is also a respected voice in important food and environmental issues. This policy and advocacy role, along with taking positions to better our health and our communities, are what make PCC a different kind of business.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

My experience on the board brings knowledge of PCC’s, business, core values and strategic initiatives. While a PCC trustee, I have served as board chair, chair of the finance committee and chair of the member relations committee. I have attended national cooperative business conferences and shared PCC’s story with other leaders in co-ops throughout the country. In these capacities I have developed a good understanding of the board’s role as representing the members of PCC.

My background as a CPA gives me a firm grasp on the financial condition of the co-op and ability to assess potential risks. My previous work at the Pike Place Market gives me ground level knowledge of the local food and farm issues and these continue to be very important to me. I currently serve on a variety of boards and committees to improve our local community and have volunteered in cooperative business development in Africa.

Julianne Lamsek

Julianne Lamsek (incumbent)

Statement

Community is important to me and I believe in community service. Since becoming a PCC board trustee in 2008, I have supported the health of our co-op through listening and learning, thinking strategically, and collaborating with the board and management to ensure PCC’s continued success.

As the Technology Director at KCTS 9, I plan and execute strategic use of technology to advance business operations. I have a demonstrated background in leadership, analytical thinking, and creative problem solving — skills I’ve utilized as a PCC trustee.

As a consumer, environmental advocate, and cook, I seek food that is safe, nutritious, and sustainably produced. I believe access to quality local food is essential to sustaining healthy communities. Being a Seattle native, lifelong PCC shopper and former PCC Cooks volunteer, I value PCC’s leadership in supporting our community and environment through education, advocacy, and farmland preservation.

Previously, I proudly served as a UW Business School MBA Board Fellow. I have a long history of volunteer service with several organizations, including the YWCA.

I am committed to devoting my expertise and experience to PCC, and I would be honored to continue my service on the board.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

I am passionate about participating in PCC’s leadership because I value all that PCC brings to our community. I appreciate that every product PCC sells contributes to the welfare of its members and customers, the environment, and our community. I value PCC’s commitment to serving member values — supporting sustainable agriculture, building healthy communities, focusing on local, and sustaining the financial well-being of our co-op.

It is my goal to ensure that PCC meets the needs of our community by remaining on a path of sustainable growth, while upholding member values. I want to continue to support the board’s efforts in educating itself on strategic topics that promote effective governance.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

Every aspect of PCC’s business aligns with its model of balancing economic, social, and environmental responsibilities. From consistently providing high quality food to supporting local, sustainable agriculture, PCC is a proven profitable, socially responsible business — a role model for others to follow.

PCC differentiates itself from other businesses with its talented, service-oriented staff, innovative culture, high quality products, and strong commitment to upholding member values. By being accountable to its members rather than corporate shareholders, PCC is actively demonstrating that the cooperative model is a viable and profitable business model.

What experience, skill or perspective have you brought to the board?

After nearly six years on PCC’s board, I have a strong understanding of PCC’s business needs and challenges. My knowledge was built by learning about PCC’s business, listening to members, and educating myself about the landscape in which PCC operates.

As PCC’s current Board Development Committee chair, I help lead the board’s efforts to educate itself about issues that matter to PCC’s business and the communities it serves, so the board remains qualified to provide oversight and strategic leadership. Previously, I served as PCC’s board chair. These experiences have helped solidify my understanding of the board’s role in governing our co-op, how the board supports PCC currently, and how it can shape PCC’s future. My background in information technology is an additional expertise I bring to the board. Information systems are critical to PCC’s operations and I gladly contribute my technical business expertise.

In addition to currently serving on PCC’s board, I have proudly served my community through other organizations. These experiences have taught me the skills and value of effective board governance.

  Bruce Williams (incumbent)

Bruce Williams (incumbent)

Statement

I am completing my first term as a PCC trustee and would like to serve another term. I believe my values and my life experiences enable me to be a strong, contributing trustee. There is a learning curve in serving on any board and I am looking forward to applying my first-term learning in a second term.

My wife and I have shopped at PCC for more than 35 years and it is an important part of our lives. For example, eating healthy, sustainably grown food is important to us, so we have an organic vegetable garden — and we shop at PCC. The environment is important to us, so we bike to work, are active with environmental groups — and we value PCC’s support of local farmers and its advocacy work.

I was born and raised in Seattle. I have many years of board experience for numerous organizations. I also have been a Peace Corps Volunteer, parent, lawyer, banker and the CEO of HomeStreet Bank, a local community bank with an award-winning social responsibility program.

Because of my values and experience, I am an enthusiastic and experienced board member, working to provide value to our members, to maintain PCC’s financial strength and to increase PCC’s influence in our region.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

First, I am passionate about PCC’s mission, which is not only close to my values but also important to our community. To be economically prosperous and environmentally sustainable, our region needs more businesses like PCC.

Second, because of my commitment to PCC’s mission and my many years of board, experience, I believe I make a difference in the board’s contributions to PCC’s success and I can contribute more in a second term.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

PCC is different from most businesses in its ownership, its mission, the value it provides to its customers and the benefit it provides to its communities. PCC is owned by members who, through the board of trustees, have directed that its mission go far beyond profitability and even beyond providing healthy food at fair prices. Our mission includes nutrition education, support of local sustainable agriculture and policy advocacy. Through PCC, members’ individual actions in buying their groceries are united into a strong collective force that advances our mission. When we spend our money at PCC, we not only get healthy food — we join together to contribute to a safer food system, a healthier environment and a stronger community.

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

I bring many years of experience helping organizations contribute to their communities and be financially strong. This includes serving on boards of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations and experience in all aspects of board work: board chair, chairing and serving on board committees, planning and leading meetings and board retreats, recruiting and evaluating board members and working with management teams and employees. For example, I was the board chair and Finance Committee Chair of Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy). For eight years I chaired the board of HomeStreet Bank.

In addition to board work, I have been a Peace Corps volunteer, lawyer, banker and CEO. These give me skills in community service and working together with diverse people, and many years experience with legal, financial and leadership issues.

Finally, I bring a cooperative spirit and enjoy sharing different perspectives and ideas, resulting in a better solution than any of one of us could have created individually.

Betsy Lieberman

Betsy Lieberman

Statement

I joined my first co-op in 1975 and have been hooked ever since. After moving to Seattle in 1978 I joined PCC and remain a committed member, shopping weekly at View Ridge. As a long-term local and sustainable food consumer and advocate, I love learning about (and sharing) the joy of food. Like so many PCC members, my passion for local ingredients has meant finding varied uses for winter’s root vegetables!

For 35 years I worked in and led Seattle nonprofits, including founding and leading AIDS Housing of Washington/Building Changes, and developing Bailey Boushay House. Through this work I have come to a deep understanding of complex organizations, management and leadership, board development, as well as financial oversight and real estate development. I have also served on a number of boards, including the Pike Market Preservation & Development Authority in the 1980s.

I began my education about local organic farms in Pike Place, developing my understanding of the economics, challenges, and long-term relationships involved.

I have strong roots here over three decades, championing very complex issues and have a long history of working across many diverse communities. These experiences will contribute to my effectiveness as a board member for PCC.

Why do you want to serve on the board?

Since I retired as founder and executive director of Building Changes (formerly AIDS Housing of Washington) in 2012, I have had one answer when asked what I was going to do: run for the board of PCC.

I am passionate about the mission and business of PCC. I have developed a deep understanding of the importance and role of a board — supporting my own board for 25 years at Building Changes and serving on a number of nonprofit boards. My career has been spent working with organizations to find the delicate balance between the bottom line and the commitment to mission.

What makes PCC a different kind of business?

PCC is so much more than a traditional retail grocery store — it's a model business that serves all of us — customers, members, employees and the greater community. I see PCC as the model food co-op in the United States, presenting a business model with clear purpose and an obligation to our community to steward and expand access to fresh, local, organic and sustainable food.

Understanding the importance of employees and suppliers, PCC offers living wages, good benefits, and programs for first-time employees and those with a range of disabilities — as well as support for regionally-based farmers and ranchers. With an eye toward consumers and the community, PCC has built new stores to expand access to healthy, sustainable food. These actions have resulted in a healthy, sustainable business model and a growing customer base, despite increasing competition.

What experience, skill or perspective will you bring to the board?

Since receiving my Master of Public Health degree, my professional life has been dedicated to helping organizations meet their missions while creating long-term sustainable business models. My experiences — first at the Pike Market Community Clinic, later as the founding Executive Director of AIDS Housing of Washington — have solidified my commitment to helping organizations and bringing diverse communities together.

I have extensive experience working with boards, community constituents, and volunteers — and I understand each group's incredible value and contribution to an organization. I also bring experience with advocacy at the local, state, and federal level bringing together nonprofits, corporations, government, and philanthropy.

It would be an honor for me to serve on the board of PCC and to give back to the co-op and this community.

More about: board of trustees, election, member meetings, membership

Related Content

Election guide