Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is comprised of nine co-op owners; three director seats are up for election every year. The co-op’s Board of Directors are empowered by the owners to, not just ensure the co-op’s current success, but to look forward strategically to make sure our business continues to thrive in an ever changing and unpredictable future. They work to build alignment between where the co-op is heading both by soliciting owner involvement and feedback, and by communicating information about recent events and trends to all co-op owners. If you are curious to see Board work in action, monthly board meetings are open to owners and happen on the second Wednesday of the month from 6:30 - 9pm at the store.
Andrea Stanley (Board President) grew up visiting her family’s dairy farm in Quebec, Canada. These yearly trips made an impact and when Andrea and her family moved back to the Pioneer Valley in 2008, investing in the local food system was important. It started as being a conscientious consumer and joining River Valley Co-op. In 2010 she started Valley Malt with her husband, trying to fill a gap in the local food system and bring local grain to local beer. They now farm 80 acres of land in the valley, growing organic crops like barley, wheat, black beans, sunflowers and popcorn. Prior to this jump, Andrea was a vocational rehabilitation counselor working with youth to help them find work and careers. With the heart of a social worker and the passion of an entrepreneur, Andrea is most excited about filling more gaps in the local food system and believes that local farmers and processors make tastier, healthier food for our community.
Steve Bruner (Vice President) moved to Amherst from Bozeman, Montana in the summer of 2014. During his ten years in Bozeman, he owned and operated Refuge Sustainable Building Center, was an adjunct instructor at Montana State University, and helped implement a strategic plan for Yellowstone National Park. His community involvement included stints on the Mayor’s Climate Protection Task Force and the Children’s Museum of Bozeman’s Board of Directors and his professional experience has been defined by mission-driven organizations. From writing strategic plans for National Parks to directing an outdoor adventure program to owning his own business, he has used mission statements as the rudders with which to steer the ships.
Alex Risley Shroeder
email@example.comA decade ago, Alex Risley Schroeder (Clerk) re-oriented her work in adult education and workforce development to focus exclusively on strengthening the "green economy" through education, training and policy development. Her commitment continues to be to leverage our increasing focus on sustainability to build jobs and businesses that support communities and individuals. She brings to the Board a thoughtful perspective on the ways local agriculture and local food systems can provide such leverage points, a willingness to learn and work collaboratively, and the belief that much can be solved when we do good work with others.
Dorian Gregory, CPA (Treasurer) works with the Cooperative Fund of New England, a community development financial institution that is a bridge between socially responsible investors and cooperatives, community-oriented non-profits and worker-owned businesses in New England. As a CPA, she has almost 20 years experience working in a large international firm and a small regional firm, providing audit and business advisory services to wide range of businesses in diverse industries. A lifelong martial artist, Ms. Gregory also owns and operates a Taijiquan and Qigong Studio. She brings to the Board financial expertise, clear communication and strong management skills, as well as her love and enthusiasm for the cooperative movement.
President: Dorian Gregory
Jade Barker is a member of CDS Consulting Co-op, a co-op of consultants who support co-ops across the country with operations and governance. Her specialty is Co-operative Board Leadership Development. Jade was formerly co-director of the Mediation & Training Collaborative in Greenfield (a program of Community Action), a non-profit providing conflict resolution and communication services. A longtime community activist in her tenth year on theRiver Valley Co-op Board, Jade believes that cooperation is key to our survival as a species. She brings to the Board strong facilitation skills, a commitment to collaborative problem solving, and a love of all things co-op.
Lynn DiTullio has enjoyed the past four+ years as a board member and officer. She says, "It's been a privilege to work with this fantastic board and outstanding staff in the challenging and extremely rewarding task of building a local cooperative economy." As a former business owner and manager, Lynn brings to the Board a keen appreciation of the challenges involved in keeping a small business going, meeting payroll, and nourishing that critical connection with member-owners while ensuring that staff feel involved, appreciated, and nurtured to grow as the co-op grows. Her background is in renewable energy and energy conservation, and she loves that the co-op was built with green attributes!
Eric Friedland-Kays cares about affordably eating well, making the co-op as accessible as possible to all, ecological integrity, and cooperative values. For the past 15 years, he have been employed at Windhorse Integrative Mental Health, an innovative community mental health agency in Northampton, as both a Senior Clinician (Therapist and Team Leader) and an Administrator (Admissions Manager, interim Clinical Director, Steering member, Supervisor. He greatly values cooperative communication and effectiveness in decision and policy making within the complicated journey of a group. The Way of Council, Non-Violent Communication, and Open Dialogue have been tremendous in his experience building depth and working with depth in relationships.
Jacquie Fraser has been an enthusiastic supporter of River Valley Co-op since moving to Northampton and is thrilled to be joining the board. Prior to membership at River Valley, she was a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn; being a member of this long-standing co-op was a great learning experience. She is currently employed in academic community public health. In the past, she has held both practical and academic public health positions including providing education and counseling sessions in AIDS organizations. She hopes to be able to use her experience and knowledge in program planning and evaluation to benefit the River Valley Co-op.
Gary L. Schaefer
Gary L. Schaefer For four decades Gary co-owned a local ice cream company two with retail shops. Gary and Barbara then grew the business to include a small ice cream manufacturing and a distributing company focused on food products produced in the Connecticut River Valley. As an entrepreneur, He learned a lot by trial and error. The most important lesson was learning to see the whole picture, including past successes and failures, the importance of monitoring day to day operations and spending significant time preparing for the future. He is strong believer in co-operatives as a sustainable alternative to the traditional business model. Gary was also part of a small group who founded, and for 2 years administered, the Our Family Farms Milk Co-op, now in its 20th year. Gary is deeply committed to seeing our Co-op, our staff, our vendors and our community thrive long into the future and to be an inspiration for other co-ops to start and expand.