2019 Wheatsville Election

Voting begins Sunday, September 9 and online voting ends at 11:59pm on Friday, November 9, 2018.

Cooperative Values

  1. Self-help
  2. Self-responsibility
  3. Democracy
  4. Equality
  5. Equity
  6. Solidarity
  7. Honesty
  8. Openness
  9. Social Responsibility
  10. Caring for others

International Cooperative Alliance Principles for Co-ops

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Candidate Forum

Click on each name for more information and a short 1 minute video.

Brandon Hines

Brandon Hines

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 29
Place of employment:
Dimensional Fund Advisors
VP SR Manager, Information Risk & Security

I am excited about the prospect of continuing to serve on the Wheatsville board of directors. I believe that I bring a unique perspective and strong passion in representing Wheatsville members with my work on the board. I started shopping at Wheatsville in the early nineties shortly after moving to Austin and Wheatsville has been my primary grocery store for more than 25 years. In that time I have gained many experiences that I believe can benefit Wheatsville. I attended the University of Texas at Austin receiving a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Masters in Business Administration.

I have extensive experience in technology and media and have worked across industries such as health care, entertainment and finance. As Austin grows I believe that Wheatsville will need to expand the community of shoppers while strengthening its financial position. I consider Wheatsville to be a key ingredient to my success in life and I hope to continue to contribute back to this organization that means so much to the Austin community.

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?
Austin’s growth will continue to present many challenges. Wheatsville has demonstrated that it can lead on key issues that face the Austin community such as with livable wages. Providing healthy food options are at the heart of many equality and sustainability issues. I think that Wheatsville will lead in the area of supporting diversity by making affordable healthy food affordable available to more portions of our community.

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?
I work to promote ecological, transportation and economic sustainability issues to help preserve and improve Austin. In my view these are interrelated. Promoting healthy local food options reduces the ecological impact of transporting foods while keeping more of our money within the Austin community. I also actively advocate for the transition to electric vehicles and support making Austin a bikable city.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?
Shopping at Wheatsville is about so much more than getting groceries. Wheatsville is the only Austin grocery store whose interests are aligned with the Austin community. Wheatsville has a long history of supporting community initiatives by funding local non-profits and leading on important initiatives such as livable wages.

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?
Social responsibility resonates most with me. I come from a very modest background. I have been fortunate in large part due to Austin’s supportive community. Many people more talented and equally deserving do not have similar opportunities. I believe that by acting for the benefit of society you provide more people with the opportunity to reach their full potential, which in turn benefits everyone in the community.

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Rose Marie Klee

Rose Marie Klee

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 24
Place of employment: TXDot Utility Engineer

Wheatsville is an inextricable part of who I am and what I value in the world.

I first came to shop at Wheatsville as I began to think more about economy, sustainability, and community and it began with the question “if we don’t sell it at Wheatsville, do I really need it?” Right away, I came to remember what real produce and real food tastes and looks like and found that even with a smaller footprint there is a never-ending discovery of new products on our shelves.

I was initially attracted to the Wheatsville board to support the organization while cultivating my own skills, and I have remained deeply engaged because I believe that the ability of leadership groups to work effectively is the most powerful way to affect change.

I am a civil engineer, specialized in transportation and water resources, and I also work to support boards of directors of co-ops and non-profits.

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?

Wheatsville will continue to be a leader and a model for ethical business, including leading on staff treatment (e.g., livable wage, paid sick leave); local economy (cultivating even more small businesses who are farmers and vendors); and creating community (e.g., Thursday $5 dinners and donations to non-profit organizations).

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?

My LOVE of Austin has always been the driver for my profession of civil engineering (developing and maintaining public infrastructure) and decision to enter public service (responsible to, and in the service of, the community). I am committed to a vibrant local economy (restaurants, small businesses, credit unions). I have enjoyed serving on City of Austin boards and commissions, such as the Airport Advisory Commission and Flood Mitigation Task Force and volunteering with non-profits such as Urban Roots and Honk!TX.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?

Wheatsville has a carefully-curated selection of high-quality groceries catering to a broad variety of preferences, cultural, and dietary needs. You can always trust the quality, but you can also trust that Wheatsville is focused on fair wages for staff, fair prices to our local farmers and vendors, and fair prices for customers. At Wheatsville, the grocery cart is the most powerful vehicle for social change!

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?

Caring for Others: this value resonates deeply with me, because I believe that the fact that we are different is not so true as the fact that we are one. I want to create and experience a world where we lead with this value because I think it empowers us to be happiest, do amazing things, and contribute the very best that we each have to offer to the world. We all do better when we all do better!

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Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 11
Place of employment: Hospice Austin; Social Worker

I’m a social worker, psychotherapist, and advocate for healthy food and community. Wheatsville is my favorite thing about Austin. I’ve been an owner for 7 years, and throughout my time shopping at Wheatsville I’ve been so appreciative of all it does from supporting our farmers nearby and the local economy to providing a safe space to buy healthy, fairly traded food.

A common thread links my past work and passions. As a therapist, I work with people to help them live a fulfilling life, whatever that means to them, with the hope
of contributing to a more peaceful, healthier society. Prior to graduate school, I was involved in environmental studies/activism, and I worked to protect the planet for people and animals alike. Wheatsville at once combines healthy, sustainable food, community, and economy. I would like to further contribute my time and energy to its mission by serving on the board.

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?

I believe that Wheatsville will continue to provide a space where environmental, community, and people values are maintained. This will only increase in importance in the future as competitors such as Whole Foods, are already owned by giant corporations where the bottom line reigns supreme over people interests.

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?

In my job as a social worker at Hospice Austin, I help Austin individuals die with dignity and acceptance, as well as help their families during this time with support, resources, and community aid. I also volunteer with Grassroots Leadership social justice issue in our community.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?

I choose Wheatsville, because it is a cooperative owned by the people who shop there. I feel represented when I shop at Wheatsville. Additionally, Wheatsville is simply a happy place for me. I feel connected to the community and many of the things I love about Austin when I’m there.

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?

It’s difficult to pick one of the 10, but the most important value to me is social responsibility. Wheatsville acts for the benefit of society at large. This encompasses so much from supporting good farming practices, healthy food, supporting other community organizations, fair trade practices and much more.

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Brian Mikulencak

Brian Mikulencak

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 9
Place of employment: Blue Dot Advocates, PBC; Member Attorney

I get a lot fulfillment out of serving on the Wheatsville board because the organization possesses what I believe are the strengths often held by nonprofit organizations (mission protection and idealism) and those often held by for-profit organizations (protecting and preserving the business and revenues for the benefit of the stakeholders), but are rarely both found in the same organization.

It’s been gratifying to be part of Wheatsville, and I’d love to see more organizations and institutions structured to incentivize the types of positive effects that Wheatsville has for all of its stakeholders on a daily basis!

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?

In many ways, Wheatsville has welcomed and accommodated the local community throughout the city’s growth. I hope Wheatsville continues to provide a healthy and welcoming option to a growing Austin by serving its existing stakeholders while welcoming new customer-members, all while providing an iconic reminder of “who” Austin is.

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?

Professionally, I represent small businesses in Austin and Austin-based investors. I also provide pro bono legal services for Austinites of limited means and for Austin-based arts organizations. I also participate in several national conventions and gatherings around social impact businesses and investors; I’m often the sole Austin-based attendee and I help to bring a lot of the discussion around social impact businesses and investing back home to Austin.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?

As a cooperative, Wheatsville’s food options are informed by the member-owners. Our food choices are one of the most important decisions we make for ourselves and families, so I choose Wheatsville to support the food-choice member democracy as well as the stability of Wheatsville as a part of the community.

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?

The elements of autonomy and independence resonate most for me. I believe that as our societies increasingly embrace globalism we should consider the virtues of autonomy and independence, particularly in the capital structures of our institutions and in the financial impact that we all have on each other.

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Melissa Sledge

Melissa Sledge

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin?: 5 months

Place of employment: Assistant Dean of Students, Northcentral University

Hi, I’m Melissa Sledge, weight loss success story turned fitness professional and bodybuilder. My passion for healthy food was one of the many positive side effects of my personal journey into healthy living. I am running for the Board of Directors because I want to serve an organization that is committed to sustainable food systems, and feeding the citizens of Austin the best local food. If people have access to healthy food, it encourages healthy choices, which contributes to healthier lifestyles and communities. As a person with many food sensitivities, I love that Wheatsville has a variety of products that support the nutritional needs of its unique customers and owners

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?

Wheatsville has an opportunity to make a substantial impact on the food access challenges of Austin. Specifically, I see Wheatsville taking intentional steps to connect with historically underrepresented communities in an effort to diversify ownership, and promote the importance of local sustainable food systems within these populations.

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?

As a member of the American Heart Association – Leaders with Heart Policy Cohort, I have been working with other Austin leaders to improve health inequity through policy change. One area of focus has been to address the food insecurity issues plaguing several Austin communities.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?

Wheatsville is food sensitivity friendly! I suffer from several food sensitivities, and grocery shopping can be challenging at a store that only has one aisle for one type of sensitivity. The intentional inclusiveness of all eating needs sets Wheatsville apart from any other retailers.

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?

The cooperative value that resonates with me is caring for others. Healthy thriving communities are an essential competent for a growing city like Austin. Providing access to fresh, local, healthy foods shows a commitment to the health and wellbeing of members of our community.

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Wheatsville Community Action Nominees

Organizations* with an asterisk were Community Action recipients during 2018. Organizations without asterisks were nominated through application.The ten non-profits receiving the most votes will be assigned a fundraising month in 2019. Two months are reserved for the Wheatsville Cooperative Community Fund.

Click here for additional Community Action Nominees financial Info such as date of 501(c)3, 990 filed, net assets, grants and other support. Financial information has been collected from each of our non-profit nominees in order to help you make a more informed decision about the relative size of each candidate.

Note: Selection of recipients for Community Action donations is by non-binding vote. These votes provide advisory input from the owners to the Board and management.

Austin Parks Foundation

Improves public parks,trails and green spaces

Austin Pets Alive!*

No-kill animal shelter, run almost exclusively by volunteers.

Caritas of Austin*

A safety net for those experiencing poverty

Central Texas Food Bank*

Distributes food and grocery products throughout Central Texas.

Farmshare Austin

Teach new farmers & sell locally-grown produce at mobile markets

Foundation Communities

Creates housing where families and individuals succeed

Go Austin/Vamos Austin

Bilingual community organizing for health in the eastern crescent

Hospice Austin*

Hospice care & heath care for terminally ill persons.

Keep Austin Beautiful

Protect the environment through education and volunteer projects

Keep Austin Fed

Food rescue and distribution to charitable organizations

KOOP Radio

Representing the underserved, through diverse programming

Meals on Wheels Central Texas*

Prepares and delivers healthy meals to homebound persons.

Partners for Education Agriculture and Sustainability (PEAS)

Connects people to the natural world using science education

People’s Community Clinic*

Non-profit, primary health care facility.

SAFE*

Safety for those affected by sexual & domestic violence.

Stronger Austin

A local initiative bringing fitness and nutrition services to Austin

Sustainable Food Center*

Cooking classes, nutrition education & farmers markets.

TreeFolks

Plants thousands of trees in Central Texas

* Urban Roots

Sustainable agriculture internships for Austin youth.

* Workers Defense Project

Seeks to improve working conditions of low-wage workers.

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Wheatsville Election Ballot

  • Voting begins Sept. 9 and online voting ends 11:59 pm, Nov. 9, 2018
  • All Wheatsville owners are eligible to vote. In order for your ballot to count you must include your name, address, email, and owner card number. All information is confirmed and confidential.
  • Vote for FOUR candidates to fill four terms.
  • Vote for TEN organizations to be recipients of the Community Action donation program. Organizations with the most votes will be assigned a month in 2019. Two months of each year are reserved for the Wheatsville Cooperative Community Fund. Note: Selection of recipients for Community Action donations is by non-binding vote. These votes provide advisory input from the owners to the Board and management.
  • One owner per ballot. Couples, please vote individually.
ONE Owner Name only. Couples must vote separately.
Email will only be used to contact for questions related to this ballot

Vote for the Board of Directors:

Vote for FOUR candidates to fill four terms.

All candidates have been endorsed by the Board Nominations Committee.

Vote to select which organizations we support:

Vote for up to TEN organizations to be recipients of our monthly donation program.

Organizations* with an asterisk were Community Action recipients during 2018. Organizations without asterisks were nominated through application.