Current Board

In 2017’s consolidation of the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op boards, each board independently elected three individuals to move forward to the new board. That group of six individuals then recommended a seventh board seat, along with a chair emeritus position.  In 2018, the chair emeritus position expired, and the board recommended an eighth board seat.

The board members include individuals from each legacy co-op board: Emily Anderson (two-year term to expire in 2019 ), Matthew Larson (two-year term to expire in 2019), Tom Pierson (three-year term to expire in 2020), and Alex Slichter (three-year term to expire in 2020).  In the 2018 election, Me’Lea Connelly, Sarita Parikh, and Jane Schommer were elected for three-year terms, and Emily Paul was elected for a two-year term.

Sarita Parikh, President

(term ends 2021)

Sarita Parikh is a former Vice President of the Linden Hills Co-op.  She serves on the Twin Cities Co-op Partners finance committee.

Sarita earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering, with a second major in Economics from Rice University. She has filled a variety of engineering and business roles in education, healthcare, retail, finance, and technology. She brings her analytic background and deep leadership experience to the goal of helping Twin Cities Cooperative Partners thrive in the competitive natural food market.

Although she grew up eating mostly Doritos and Dr. Pepper, as a young adult, she discovered the joys of healthy foods and the quest to support sustainable food systems. When moving to Minneapolis 15 years ago, she found the co-ops to be flourishing examples of businesses that do good and do well. They embody the principles of democracy and sustainability.

Sarita enjoys yoga, reading, music, dance, and keeping up with her active family.

Me'Lea Connelly, Vice President

(term ends 2021)

Me’Lea Connelly was elected to a three-year term in 2018.  Her cooperative life and support of the cooperative community began with a gifted Wedge Co-op membership. Her toddler son suffered from many allergies and had very specific dietary needs that could not be fulfilled by their local stores. The Wedge Basics staples and availability of hard-to-find items at the Wedge made their life easier and guided them toward a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Me’Lea is currently pursuing her MBA in Cooperative and Credit Union Management at Saint Mary’s University.  She is the founder of economic resistance organization, Blexit and was named a 2018 Bush Fellow.

Me’Lea is a singer-songwriter, playwright and mother of three. She loves spending quality time with her children and puppy, Pluto, enjoying the beauty the outdoors provides her family.

Lisa Fittipaldi, Treasurer

(term ends 2022)

Steve Share, Secretary

(term ends 2022)

Alex Slichter, President Emeritus

 

(term ends 2020)

Alex Slichter has been on the board of Linden Hills Co-op since 2013 and President since 2015. He was an early proponent of consolidation among the Minneapolis-area co-ops and served as Chair of the Consolidation Steering Committee. He has also served on the Finance and Leadership committees.

Despite being raised a city boy, Alex has spent his career in food and agriculture after receiving a BS in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Memphis. His work has taken him all of the food world, literally and figuratively. This includes making and selling products from conventional, to natural, to certified organic and to exotic and not so-exotic locales such as trips to Thailand & Turkey and Iowa & Ohio.

He currently lives in Edina with his wife, two children, a high school exchange student, and two dogs. In his free time, Alex enjoys cooking curries, baking bread and brewing beer.

Julian Korger, Director

 

Julian (they/them) has a B.S. in Human Biology with an emphasis in Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. They are currently in the second year of building an independent school lunch program for Great River School (GRS) in Saint Paul. GRS is a public Montessori charter school that prepares students to become responsible and engaged citizens of the world. They are tasked with planning, developing, and implementing a financially responsible scratch-made school lunch program. They are also a 20/21 Finnovation Fellow focused on reimagining the hospitality industry to build authentic queer community around food and beverage. They are very much engaged in building and maintaining queer and trans community through two avenues: Blue Collar Supper Club and Queer Soup Night. As the chapter lead for the Twin Cities, they organizes and recruits chefs and volunteers, manages and promotes the events and secures space, ingredient donations and a beneficiary organization.

Tom Pierson, Director

Tom Pierson was elected to the Wedge Co-op Board of Directors in 2016 and will serve on the newly consolidated co-op board until 2020. He is the Board Treasurer and serves on the Finance Committee.

Tom began working with cooperative enterprises in 2000 after deciding to not pursue formal higher education. Tom has become a specialist in the issues of housing and worker cooperative development. Pierson serves on the board of Shared Capital Cooperative, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that lends nationally to cooperative businesses. He serves on the board of Riverton Community Housing, a Minneapolis non-profit developer of student housing cooperatives. He coordinates the public policy efforts of CooperationWorks!, a national association of cooperative economic developers. Tom was a founding organizer of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives from 2003-06.

As an independent consultant, Tom provides facilitation, historical research and technical assistance services to cooperatives across the country. He provides pro bono and sliding scale assistance to groups that advance racial equity, environmental sustainability, and serve low-income members. He volunteers for CoMinnesota and serves as a guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota on topics related to co-op law and economics. In his free time, Tom enjoys theatre, dance, chess, and unstructured play.

Sophia Nelson, Director

Sophia has over eight years of experience working as a strategy and management consultant, advising clients on sales and customer service strategy, organization, process and technology transformations. She has worked across multiple industries, including for profit and public sector clients. She grew up in the Midwest, but completed her education in several countries, including: the U.S., Switzerland, Spain and Italy. She earned an M.B.A. at SDA Bocconi School of Management and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Business and Spanish at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Beyond her consulting role, she works on promoting inclusion and diversity efforts to increase employee experiences, building connections and relationships across community groups. She lives with my husband and two dogs in downtown Minneapolis and enjoys spending time outdoors, cycling, yoga, kayaking and trying new foods.

Emily Anderson, Director

(term ends 2022)

Emily Anderson served 4 years on the Wedge Co-op Board of Directors and works as a cooperative trainer and consultant. With a B.A. from St. Olaf College, she pursued further education in Spanish and Dakota languages, small business and nonprofit management at the University of St. Thomas, and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Her cooperative business experience includes thirteen years in purchasing, sales and marketing for Cheese Rustlers and Roots and Fruits Cooperative Produce—both worker-owned cooperatives and wholesale suppliers to retail grocery co-ops in Minnesota and the surrounding region.

Working for Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (now Shared Capital Co-op), Emily established Northcountry Co-op Development Services in 1988. Working through NCDS (a precursor to CDS consulting services), she provided training and technical assistance for consumer-owned groceries and other expanding and struggling cooperatives throughout the Midwest through 1990, and has continued this work independently. She was a member of the development team for the Cooperativa Mercado Central in Minneapolis. Working for the City of Minneapolis in collaboration with cooperative development associates, she has contributed research, curriculum design and training for the new Co-op Technical Assistance Program (CTAP).

Jane Schommer, Director

(term ends 2021)

Jane Schommer previously served on the Wedge Co-op Board of Directors and was a member of the Finance Committee. In her second term with Twin Cities Co-op Partners, she continues her service as Secretary and serves on the Finance Committee.

Jane earned an M.S. in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 2004, with particular interest in the medicinal properties of food. Her professional background includes ownership of a small business promoting a holistic approach to health, as well as a buying position for The Wedge Co-op’s Health and Body Care Department. She has also been involved in her community through service on her neighborhood association board of directors. Jane currently works as an Intellectual Property Paralegal for CPA Global, a software development and legal support organization. She has been a member-owner of the Wedge Co-op for 20 years and is passionate about food, often introducing new discoveries to her family, friends and co-workers.

Jane enjoys the outdoors and can be found walking local neighborhoods and lakes in warmer weather. Colder weather inspires her to experiment with baking, sharing the results with those around her.