2017 Board Candidates

These are the candidates for the board seats with terms expiring in 2019.  You can vote for candidates at the annual meeting on June 27 or online here.

Candidates were asked to address the following areas in their statements:

  • Current employment and work experience
  • Previous Board experience
  • What skills would you bring to the Board of Directors for Granite City Grocery (including training, education, or experience that qualifies you to sit on the Board)?
  • Why would you like to serve on GCG’s Board of Directors?
  • What is your vision for GCG 10 years down the road and what role would you play to achieve that vision?
  • Can you make commitment for the entire length of the term to the responsibilities outlined in the candidate’s packet?

Phil Kolling

I currently work as Executive Director of SerVermont, which is Vermont's State Service
Commission. We are a commission within the Agency of Human Services that is
governed by Governor appointed commissioners, and oversees AmeriCorps and other
national service programs in Vermont. In this role I oversee and administer over $2
million in federal grant programming, mainly AmeriCorps State and VISTA grants, and
oversee Vermont's AmeriCorps grant making process. I have experience directing
start-up organizations and programs, including founding the SerVermont AmeriCorps
VISTA Program, serving as first Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Everett MA, and
growing the Berkshire Teen Trail Crew program of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I
served as a VISTA member with Montpelier Parks developing their youth diversion
program, and as an AmeriCorps Trail Team Leader for the Maine Conservation Corps. I
currently serve on the Board of Directors of America's Service Commissions, whose
mission is to advance national service, volunteerism, and the national network of state
service commissions.I have served as an appointed member of the GCG board since
November 2014, was elected to the board in June of 2015, and currently serve as board

I have extensive experience with start-up initiatives and organizational development,
and have participated in extensive professional development and training in the social
sector. I have a Masters of Science in Managing Mission Driven Organizations from
Marlboro College Graduate School, and a BS in Community Development from the
University of New Hampshire. I am also trained in Results Based Accountability, and as
a Results Based Accountability Trainer, have my Certificate in Nonprofit Management,
and am a member of the Vermont Leadership Class of 2017. As Executive Director of
an organization with a small staff, the skills I use professionally range from grant writing
to communications and social media, program development, compliance monitoring,
event planning, strategic planning, and performance and staff management.

My family and I moved to Barre Town in November 2011. At the time downtown Barre
was ripped up and in the middle or revitalization, but the vision was and still is there.
Downtown has come alive since then, and my family and I spend lots of time in town
eating and shopping at local businesses. What is missing is Granite City Grocery, a
community grocery for everyone. Such an entity appeals to me and my family because
it would fill a void in access to food, and provide easy access to healthy nutritious food
for all. When we learned about GCG shortly after moving to Barre we joined, knowing
that we believe in accessible, fresh, affordable food. As an AmeriCorps VISTA Alum
and someone who has spent my career fighting poverty, I know the role that access to
food can play, and I want to do my part to address it in my community. I have skills and
experience that could benefit the GCG board, and I want to utilize those skills to
continue to establish and grow GCG.

Ten years from now I hope we (owners and the community) will be preparing to
celebrate 10 years of being open, and perhaps even looking to expand or having
recently completed an expansion. When you walk in the store you will find your
neighbors, friends, and lots of other folks shopping. GCG will be an anchor in the food
community, and the Barre City / Barre Town community overall. I picture community
events taking place in the space, and an inter-generational crowd getting involved in a
wide variety of programming. I see people coming out of their homes, and walking to the
conveniently located Co-Op without having to ride a bus, or walk too far in the snow. I
see GCG as a true solution to providing accessible, affordable, nutritious food to the
Barre community.

I can commit to the term of service, and the commitments of serving on the board. I am
a member/owner of GCG.

Clay Whitney

I work for a cooperative (Cabot Creamery), am a member/owner/volunteer of another (Adamant Co-op), and a member/owner of Granite City Grocery.  Part of my job is to visit food co-ops around the country to cooperate with them in accordance with the 6th Rochdale Principle: “Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.”  I attend national and regional co-op meetings (CCMA, NFCA [New England], MAFCA [MidAtlantic]), work with NCG (National Co-op Grocers), and have helped to organize a first-time meeting of all the various types of co-ops in Philadelphia.  I also work with individual, and groups of, food co-ops to try to solve distribution problems.

While presenting available Cabot outreach support, and programs aimed at cooperative education and volunteerism, to the co-ops I visit, I learn a great deal about what other start-ups are doing that is successful, and what existing co-ops did to get themselves to their opening day, and to prosper since then.  There are many common hurdles, a good number of unusual ones, and many creative ways co-ops have found to get over them.

I’ve never been to a food co-op that is the same as any other.  Every co-op is an expression of the community it’s in, the people who own it, and the people who staff it.  Barre needs a co-op that will meet the needs of local natural and conventional food shoppers in much the same way City Market – the most successful single co-op in the U.S. -- did in Burlington with a mix of products.  Our grocery will be the “beating heart” of Barre: a center of community; a resource for locally produced food as well as national brands; and a source of local pride.    

Since joining the GCG Board in January of 2015, I have participated in our board meetings, taken co-op training courses, and joined the Member Development/Community Outreach Committee (chairperson since 2016).  The Committee works to reach out to individuals, employers and civic groups to find new member/owners; develop events for owners and to attract new members; and create marketing materials to promote the GCG in and around Barre.  I’m looking forward to continuing to help give direction to our co-op so it grows…opens…meets your needs…and thrives.

Jan Zemba

I am a relative newcomer to Barre City, having moved here in September 2014. We lived here for a
year in an apartment, found we liked the area and bought our house. It took us a little while to find
your group, but it was an easy decision to join Granite City Grocery - I believe that co-ops can be
strong members of community life. My work has always been in education - I teach science and math
at the Initiative, a Waldorf high school on Goddard's Campus. At a startup everyone wears many
hats - beyond teaching I carry many of the administrative tasks for the school: scheduling, registrar,
finance management, all of which I have also done on occasion at previous schools.

I served on the school's board when I lived in Saratoga Springs (Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs)
and previously on a church board, serving at different times as a general member, secretary or
treasurer. Serving on the Board of a non-profit such as these or the Granite City Grocery, I know it is
important to retain a clear picture of the goals of the organization. The work of the Board is to support
the mission and move it forward, not to drive one's personal agenda. This work has been really
rewarding and I enjoy the opportunities for collaboration and community work.

I bring strong organizing capacities, ability to take minutes, and familiarity with spreadsheets, balance
sheets, quickbooks (in a school and non-profit setting, not retail). I have experience with consensus
decision making as well as voting board structures. The current group of teachers I work with is
entirely horizontal, with no administrative head, so I have a lot of experience with collaborative
decision making as well as turning tasks and work over to an individual and empowering them to make
something happen!

I am now in the position of having time available and am looking for places and organizations with
which I'd like to spend it. I like fresh food, local food, supporting my home community and it's growth.
I think the more we can make good food accessible the better for everyone! The school that I work at
has students cooking lunch for each other, often from local foods, as an integral part of our week.
Beyond that, supporting the forward movement of the co-op is supporting Barre- as simple as that. My
hope is that we will find the right place and time for the beginning of GCG. With that solid beginning
my hope is that in ten years, the co-op will be an integral part of Barre's community- a part of the
business life of the city as well as the social and communal life of residents and those who work in
Barre. I've seen partnering with Barre businesses occurring- very encouraging steps! Often it can be
difficult to go from an idea or possibility into manifesting a plan of steps to make it happen or to
evaluate it's possibilities. I see that as a real strength that I can offer.

I am also willing and able to assist in ways other than serving on the board. Regardless of my service
on the board, supporting GCG is something I'd like to do.


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