Board Elections 2020: The Candidates

All candidates have provided written answers to a series of questions, which can be read by clicking on the names below. Responses were limited to 250 words. The candidates have also recorded video statements, which are also embedded below. When you're ready, don't forget to visit the online ballot to vote! (Login required.)

Danielle Duckett

1. What is your current Weavers Way shopping frequency? Describe your involvement in Weavers Way committees, projects, and activities.

I shop at the Ambler location five days a week. I generally visit the Chestnut Hill location three to four times a week for lunch. I have supported many of the Co-op’s efforts, including Food For All, postcard writing, and the $4 Friday dinners in Ambler.

2. Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization’s budget and financial performance.

I have both macro and micro experience overseeing government agencies and those who contract with them. As regional licensing administrator for Southeastern Pennsylvania, I was tasked with the oversight of budgets for over 200 provider organizations contracted to provide services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, through my quality management role in the Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, I worked to ensure fiscal responsibility for every individual receiving services.

3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way, and how should we address them?

Education and internal and external stakeholder engagement should be a continuing area of emphasis and focus. Short-term challenges: Weavers Way, in concert with the board, will need to ensure that the Co-op remains true to its principles and fiscally strong as it seeks to expand and engage members of its various communities. Long-term challenges: Weavers Way should ensure that the Co-op continues to be mission driven, value oriented, and financially strong despite competition in the marketplace.

4. What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the Weavers Way Board?

I was the past president of Montgomery County Head Start (Ambler Campus). I also served as a catechist at my parish for over 15 years. I am currently the vice-president of the Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors. Additionally, I am the policy director for State Representative Chris Rabb.

Jason Henschen

1. What is your current Weavers Way shopping frequency? Describe your involvement in Weavers Way committees, projects, and activities.

Two to three times a week at the Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy stores and occasionally to Ambler, especially for their Friday evening dinners! We make a weekly trip to the Henry Got Crops Farm Market when open. I sat on the Environmental Committee for four years.

2. Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization’s budget and financial performance.

I sat on the advisory board of High Point Wholesale for multiple years. On this board, we reviewed the financial status of the organization as well as long- and short-term financial projections brought to us by the financial advisory team.

3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way, and how should we address them?

The communities that surround our three locations are beautifully unique. Our greatest long-term challenge is cultivating a similar business model that can allow this unique operation to be replicated in other diverse neighborhoods. In the short term, broadening our accessibility and approach to a more diverse socioeconomic population in Philadelphia is our greatest challenge. Discount memberships for SNAP benefit holders and strong community and citywide partner- ships are great first steps, but working with members of this population to address their immediate challenges with affordable food is vital.

4. What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the Weavers Way Board?

My experience working for High Point Cafe and then its wholesale division from 2005-11 and then 2014-19 meant that I cultivated relationships in the Northwest community as well as the greater Philadelphia region. This experience will be an asset to me as a board member. I also volunteered for years as a food stamp screener for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, where I learned more about the difficulties of accessing fresh, local food in underserved communities.

Michael Hogan

1. What is your current Weavers Way shopping frequency? Describe your involvement in Weavers Way committees, projects, and activities.

We do 90% of our household grocery shopping at Weavers Way and shop there almost daily. I currently serve on the board’s audit committee and previously served on the finance committee. I made member loans for the Chestnut Hill and Ambler stores and am a sustaining member of Food Moxie. I attend our fundraising dinners and neighborhood events. As a working member for 40 years, I have packed dried fruits, restocked shelves and refrigerators, picked our farm vegetables, and cleaned up after closing.

2. Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization’s budget and financial performance.

I worked for the Philadelphia Water Department for 34 years before retiring. I prepared, analyzed, and monitored the department’s $122 million operating budget, participated in the rate-setting process, prepared long-range plans and forecasts of revenues and expenses, and conducted internal audits.

3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way, and how should we address them?

The Co-op faces the challenge of matching its Ends with pricing, so that members and shoppers will continue to buy here even though we may not have the lowest price in town. There are several supermarket chains in the region that draw from our customer base. We must increase sales and membership so that we can pay down debt, increase cash, and be able to maximize opportunities in the future.

4. What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the Weavers Way Board?

My experience includes 10 years with the board of Lutheran Settlement House, including stints as vice president, treasurer, and chair of the finance committee and building committee. For three years, I served as assistant treasurer of the board of Reading Terminal Market Corporation, and I served on the Board of the Market’s Preservation Fund for five years. Lastly, I worked in a variety of capacities for the Eastern Meter Management Association, including president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary, for a total of 13 years.

Whitney Lingle

1. What is your current Weavers Way shopping frequency? Describe your involvement in Weavers Way committees, projects, and activities.

I’ve been a member of Weavers Way for two years, and the way it creates community among members, residents, and organizations strengthens our bonds. I shop there at least once per week, but often end up popping in for odds and ends as well. I’ve written an article for the Shuttle and followed the Food Justice Committee and hope to begin attending meetings. I also attended numerous community building events the Co-op sponsored last year.

2. Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization’s budget and financial performance.

I am a nonprofit executive director and manage the budget and fundraising. I closely monitor our financial performance and work with the finance committee of Montco SAAC’s Board of Directors to maintain financial stability.

3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way, and how should we address them?

The greatest short-term challenge is actual and perceived equitable access. It’s critical that everyone be able to procure and prepare healthy food. Reviewing current food assistance programs and communicating with members and the larger community are both important to address issues of access. Long term, the greatest challenge is the ecological and economic sustainability of our food system. I would address that issue by continuing the review process the current Weavers Way staff and board have established and reviewing member feedback to correct issues within the Co-op, so that we have a positive effect on the community food system.

4. What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the Weavers Way Board?

My entire career has been devoted to improving food access at the community level. I have taught nutrition classes with The Food Trust, instructed undergraduate food management students, and improved food security for seniors at Montco SAAC for nearly five years.

Frank Torrisi

1. What is your current Weavers Way shopping frequency? Describe your involvement in Weavers Way committees, projects, and activities.

I shop at a Weavers Way store several times a week. I know many of the staff and enjoy seeing them regularly. I have participated in activities such as electronics recycling and outdoor neighborhood events in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. I also shop at Henry Got Crops Farm Market during the season.

2. Describe your experience with financial oversight, particularly of a business or organization’s budget and financial performance.

I work as Dental Director of FPCN in Philadelphia (a program of Resources for Human Development). FPCN is a community health network that provides health care in medically underserved communities. I have 40 years of experience leading and running successful nonprofit health clinics. I have always done financial reporting, business plan decision making, budgeting, strategic planning, grant writing, and program sustainability maintenance. I earned an MBA in healthcare administration early in my career.

3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way, and how should we address them?

Short-term challenges:

  1. Maintaining a strong bottom line, with continued sales growth
  2. Reducing waste in all forms as well as the carbon footprint of products we sell; making the health and habitability of the planet a top priority

Long-term challenges:

  1. Continuing to address food insecurities through Philadelphia Food for All, Food Moxie, and Senior Discount Tuesdays
  2. Continuing to select ethical, sustainable, and healthy products
  3. Maintaining strong connections with local partners who have similar goals

4. What volunteer or professional experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations that will help you strengthen the Weavers Way Board?

I’ve volunteered with Hosts for Hospitals, St. Vincent’s Germantown Dining Room, and at various health fairs. I’ve also served on peer counseling and youth groups and Big Brothers, as well as the board of The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth based at Eagleville.