Jason Bourgeois

Jason Bourgeois

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 13
Place of employment:
UT Austin, Associate Academic Advisor

I'm Jason, a student services practitioner, a performance conditioning specialist, an uncle, and a learning enthusiast.

I believe my experiences building meaningful relationships as an academic advisor, mentor, and coach uniquely position me to contribute to the Wheatsville Cooperative as a member of the board. For starters, I deeply understand the importance of establishing camaraderie when bringing people together to achieve a common goal. Also, I enjoy utilizing teamwork to strategically attain desirable results.

What I love about the cooperative model is that it supports unity, and successful operations are dependent upon the community working together to be the change they want to see. Additionally, cooperatives are inclusive, they inspire creativity, and are some of the best hubs for community engagement.

Please consider my candidacy to serve on the Wheatsville board of directors, as I will embrace my duty to ensure exceptional organizational performance on behalf of the Wheatsville owners.

1. What role do you think Wheatsville will play in Austin’s future?
When I think about the future objectives of Wheatsville I see opportunities to continue our mission to improve access to locally grown, organic foods, and support sustainable growing practices. Additionally, our intentional focus on buying for our owner, versus selling to customers is how Wheatsville can support a robust cooperative economy and a happy self reliant community.

2. In what ways are you working to contribute to and improve the Austin community?
A few ways I am contributing to improving the Austin community are by participating in and supporting youth development, leadership training, and sustainable organic growing practices with my volunteer work. Also shopping at Wheatsville is another activity that I partake in that directly benefits the Austin community.

3. If you can find healthy, organic food at another grocery store, why choose Wheatsville?
I know that my purchases through Wheatsville directly contribute to building my community through supporting local producers, Community Action Groups, maintenance and training for staff at my Wheatsville stores, and opting to shop at Wheatsville can provide funding for addressing needs that are not being met in my community. These reasons motivate me to shop at Wheatsville.

4. Which of the 10 cooperative values resonates with you most and why?
Voluntary and Open Membership resonates to me the most because it affords access to the powers of ownership and supports democratic principles. Voluntary and Open Membership is the vehicle that perpetuates the message that you are welcomed at Wheatsville, your vote matters in building your community, and that accessible membership provides a platform for social transformation towards a more engaged society.

×

Brandon Hines

Brandon Hines

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 28
Place of employment: Dimensional Fund Advisors Manager, Information Risk & Security

I am excited about the prospect of serving on the Wheatsville board of directors. I started shopping at Wheatsville in the early nineties shortly after moving to Austin and for the past 25 years Wheatsville has been my primary grocery store. In that time I have gained many experiences that I hope will benefit Wheatsville. I attended the University of Texas at Austin receiving a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a Master 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 be able 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?

Wheatsville is one of the few places in Austin that support s our neighbors who have a passion for creating new and interesting products. With this support I believe that Wheatsville will play a significant role in shaping Austin’s growing reputation as a creative center for community, culture and cuisine.

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

The best way to contribute to the Austin community is to broaden the support for all that makes Austin unique. When I meet new Austinites I act as an ambassador sharing Austin’s history and encouraging people to explore the interesting local businesses and events that Austin has to offer.

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. Shopping at Wheatsville, to me, is about honoring the long history of contributions Wheatsville has made to Austin, appreciating all the wonderful things Wheatsville does today, and supporting Wheatsville to continue to address important issues in the future .

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

Social responsibility resonates most with me. I have an eclectic background and have never found a place where I truly fit in. I find that Austin is a great place to not fit in. I feel a responsibility to contribute back to Wheatsville in supporting such a diverse community.

×

Don Jackson

Don Jackson

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 12
Place of employment: City of Austin; Project Coordinator

I have lived in Austin for 12 years, and have been engaged with the local cooperative movement for most of that time. I am a member of three Austin-area cooperatives: Black Star Co-op, Wheatsville Co-op, and UFCU. I was a founding Board member of the Austin Cooperative Business Association and currently serve on its Board. I also served on the Board of Directors of Black Star Co-op when it first opened doors.. Finally I am serving a one-year term on Wheatsville’s Board. The cooperative movement is a vital part of building a more ecologically and socially sustainable world. I have always been inspired by Wheatsville’s efforts at local and natural sourcing, and remain impressed with its commitment to living wages and affordable organic groceries. These commitments help make Wheatsville a national leader in the co-op movement. I look forward to continuing service on the Board.

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

Wheatsville is a local leader in regional sourcing, community engagement, and socially-responsible business in general. I think Wheatsville will maintain and build on these roles, especially by continuing to offer local producers a ready market as the store continues to grow in sales, memberships, and locations. This is especially important as Wheatsville may soon be the last locally-owned grocery store in Austin. 

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

Outside of work I have spent most of the last decade volunteering heavily for cooperatives and community oriented business projects. I currently serve on the Board of Wheatsville as well as the Austin Cooperative Business Association. In my professional work I focus on supporting small, local businesses and business districts through a city program that offers development, district identity, and planning/urban design support.

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

The actual quality of Wheatsville’s products exceeds most other Austin groceries easily, especially for meat and produce. Besides simply being higher quality, Wheatsville is committed to its members’ interests and preferences. This goes beyond taste and brand to integrating real values into the store’s policies and selection. Wheatsville outperforms every other store in the region in terms of stocking local produce and locally-made products. It also gives members a voice in selecting community organizations to support, and offers real benefits to them.

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

P6: Co-operation among Co-operatives resonates most with me. Cooperatives offer an important opportunity for community-driven, values-based business. We are most effective when we collaborate as a sector. The long-term health of any one co-op demands on the health and enrichment of the entire cooperative ecosystem.

×

Brian Mikulencak

Brian Mikulencak

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 8
Place of employment: Blue Dot Advocates, PBC; Member Attorney

For my “day job,” I advise organizations on governance, legal compliance, and financial matters, but when I decided to seek out a position for board service, Wheatsville was clearly the organization I was most passionate about. Why? The simple answer is that my family and I love food and Wheatsville is a place we get excited about visiting. More personally, focus my law practice on serving organizations that effect positive social change by using alternative business forms. I’m running for the Wheatsville board because I have a personal and professional interest in seeing all of these alternative businesses thrive and serve as an example to other fledging social organizations and potential founders. To that end, I’m committed to supporting Wheatsville and all of its stakeholders in the best way I can, which I believe is through board service.

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 also provide significant pro bono legal services for Austinites of limited means and for Austin-based arts organizations. I also actively participate in professional organizations and business leagues that are devoted to the growth of Austin in a smart and sustainable way.

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.

×

Lyz Nagan

Lyz Nagan

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin?: 4

Place of employment: Clockwork, Communications Director

I decided to run for the board because I believe Wheatsville – and the co-op business  model – are crucial in today’s economy. The core cooperative principles and values  center on people and community in a time when most traditional businesses feel less  human and more removed from our daily lives. Wheatsville defies that trend.

I grew up shopping at local food co-ops and feeling, firsthand, the community they  build; they’ve always been a bedrock of my daily life. As I’ve gotten older, I recognize  the best way to ensure their legacy and growth is by becoming even more involved. I’m excited about the opportunity to increase my level of commitment and the depth of my contribution by representing Wheatsville owners on the Board.

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

Wheatsville will help maintain Austin’s local character and economy ; continue to be an example of a fair and viable business structure; and grow to bring more Austinites quality, whole food. It represents what makes  Austin a distinct – and role model – city in Texas.

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

I believe in small, personal actions. I work hard at building a strong neighborhood, supporting local businesses and workers, and doing one thing a day to make the city a better place.

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

I trust the grocers and their food selections, I enjoy the friendly and familiar atmosphere, and appreciate the  range of local and sustainable products. In the broader picture, shopping isn’t just about the product, it’s also  about the experience and nothing beats Wheatsville at that.

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

Equity. Not until everyone has equitable access and opportunity will we really achieve wholeness as a society.

×

MeriJayd O‘Connor

MeriJayd O‘Connor

Board Qualified

How many years have you lived in Austin? 19
Place of employment: Self-Employed CranioSacral Therapist

In 1995, as a college student, Wheatsville sealed my decision to move to Austin. I found the natural foods community I was seeking and a business that gave voice to my ideals and world view. Fast forward 22 years, I am a mother of two young children, a self-employed CranioSacral and Massage Therapist, and wellness educator. I resonate deeply with the co-op principals and values and I want Wheatsville to succeed and grow. Through my personal and professional life, I understand the value of holistic health. The members of the Board are responsible for protecting and cultivating the health of Wheatsville and our members are the heartbeat of the co-op. As a Board member, I will bring my experience as a health educator to support the General Manager and help create innovative ways to attract new members and educate customers on how to get the most out of the co-op.

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

Beyond the BIG direction, Wheatsville will continue to model a financially successful business that takes care of the Austin community and beyond. I see Wheatsville as a fearless innovator supporting sustainable food production, like aquaponics and vertical farming, preventing waste, and creating strong cooperative alliances with other industries like healthcare.

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

Professionally, I work with clients to improve health and well-being. I hold a CranioSacral Therapy study group and present wellness talks. I am part of a developing organization providing therapy to victims of torture and trauma. I garden organically, participate in river cleanups and volunteer for Highland Park’s Garden Club.

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

I keep shopping at Wheatsville because I feel acknowledged, listened to, and I can participate in shaping Wheatsville. With a bit of education, new and returning customers can learn how to shop Wheatsville on a budget, and/or shop Zero Waste, knowing that dollars spent at Wheatsville improves the community.

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

“Caring for Others”— When every person has basic needs met, and feels empowered to create a joyful, abundant life, then there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Caring for others ultimately turns into self-help, opening our hearts, positively transforming society, taking care of Earth. That is how I want to live.

×