Jessica Saturley-Hall

Hi! I’m the founder and owner of the Upper Valley Compost Company, and I’ve spent fifteen years working in the food, agriculture, and grocery businesses. I’d like to help lead the incoming wave of entrepreneurs and food geeks getting ready to overwhelm the Upper Valley by serving on the Board of the Co-op.
 
I’ve been a member of the Co-op since 2003. During the last fifteen years I’ve gained broad experience in the business of food and agriculture that will allow me to quickly contribute a seasoned perspective on the opportunities and difficulties facing the Co-op in 2018. I completed an MBA focused on the intersection of business and sustainability in 2013; prior to starting the Upper Valley Compost Company I held positions in new product development, marketing, and operations with several local food and agricultural companies, including King Arthur Flour and Poverty Lane Orchards/Farnum Hill Ciders.
 
As a Board member I would seek to build on the Co-op’s many strengths while diligently addressing its weaknesses. The Co-op’s strengths are those priorities and practices which differentiate it from traditional grocery stores: 1) support for local food and agriculture systems, 2) unique and innovative partnerships with local organizations and businesses, and 3) a focus on member engagement. I would work to ensure the Co-op’s long-term financial health (boring to some folks, but fascinating to the odd ducks among us who adore financial statements and quarterly sales reports!). I would also make sure the Co-op keeps looking forward—what’s next in the food business, what’s next in our community, what’s next for the Co-op.
 
Thanks for considering me for the Board of the Co-op—let’s chat when you see me around town with the compost trucks and trailers.
 

Candidate Questions

What is our Co-op doing well, and what needs improvement? The Co-op does a great job of providing excellent service and terrific products at generally competitive prices. The quality and variety offered at the Co-op sets the bar for other grocery businesses in the Upper Valley, and it's an inspiringly high bar as a result. I’d love to see more services that help members save money by shopping at the Co-op; member appreciation days and the case lot sale are great examples of unique Co-op benefits. Making sure that the Co-op is offering services and products valued by members can go a long way towards ensuring a sound financial footing, now and in the future.
 
What other experience, skills, or knowledge do you feel will allow you to contribute to the Board's success if elected? I've spent fifteen years working in the food, agriculture, and grocery business. My focus is on engaging with customers and understanding what they're looking for, and then finding ways to marry those needs and desires with a particular organization's capabilities and goals. I love this work and believe it will translate well into gaining a strong understanding of what the Co-op's member owners feel is important and how the Co-op as an organization can meet those desires.

What experience do you have working in a group setting where differing or opposing viewpoints are often expressed? My experiences as an entrepreneur and a product manager have provided me with lots of practice advocating for particular projects and ideas while still needing to take into consideration the needs and recommendations of a broader group. Trust and respect are necessary ingredients to generating healthy and productive debate, which should always be engaged in with an eye towards identifying the best possible outcome for the group.
 
 
  

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