2019 Board Candidate: Susan Cho

Present Occupation

Owner-occupant at Maitri House (an intentional community), with some managerial duties

Community Involvement

Current TPSS Board member: Mediation Team member, Policy Committee chair, Finance and Audit Committee member, Expansion Committee member, Membership and Community Affairs Committee participant. 

Education

BS in Environmental Science and Policy, UMD-College Park

Why are you interested in serving on the Board?

I strongly believe in the importance of widely accessible, nutritious food and wellness products, grown and produced in a way that respects others on our planet.  When making our choices, we need to consider other humans, non-human animals, plant life, and soil. There are serious obstacles to providing such a service, which the Co-op strives to do, and I want to do my part in supporting it. 

What experience or involvement have you had with the TPSS Food Co-op or other cooperative enterprises or Boards of Directors? 

I've been on the TPSS Food Co-op's Board of Representatives for three eventful years.  I'm fortunate to have worked with dedicated, knowledgeable, community-oriented people throughout those years.  Working with the other Board members, our management, consultants, and community members has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.  

I think my own contributions have been valuable, which is extremely important to me.  I've been part of inward-facing work like policy review, the hiring of an excellent General Manager, making sure our staff is respected and compensated fairly, and strategizing in the face of development in the Takoma Junction.

I've also been part of outward-facing work like representing the Co-op at City Council meetings, mediation sessions with the Neighborhood Development Company, and various neighborhood events.

What skills, qualities, formal training, education, or professional or volunteer experience would you bring that directly contribute to the mission of the TPSS Food Co-op?

One unusual experience I bring is that I live in an intentional community that I helped found 11 years ago, where we make our decisions through values-based consensus.  I believe that a member-owned co-op needs to be aware of, and responsive to, the range of voices from its membership. Thoroughly considering all those voices can be time-consuming and is tempting to set aside, especially when making fiduciary decisions.  But I've found that it's the best way to ensure long-term viability.

What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

I really like “Cooperation Among Co-ops.”  Takoma Park is a lovely oasis in an increasingly disturbing world, but I think we should foster more cooperative ways of living in the world, everywhere.  Our board is educated on principles of governance for co-ops, but we could get more involved in sharing knowledge and experience. I took part in a Communities Conference not long ago and spoke with folks looking to generate community in various ways.  I'd like to be more involved in this area. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share or address?

No, that seems like enough, but folks are welcome to talk to me or email me @ susan.cho.1000@gmail.com.