Meet the co-op's board of directors for the 2020-2021 election cycle:
Chris Galloway – Treasurer, President
Chris is an independent consultant who specializes in working with credit unions and cooperatives. Chris worked in the financial cooperative sector in Canada for over ten years and he represented the Canadian credit union system in Mongolia in 2012 and Malawi in 2015 as part of the Canadian Cooperative Association’s credit union coaching program. Chris is passionate about cooperatives and has fond memories of spending time with his family as a child at the local cooperative grocery, bank or social club in the UK. He believes that growing the cooperative movement is one of the keys to the sustainability of communities and previously served the Board of Cooperatives First, a business development organization focused on increasing awareness and understanding of the co-op business model in rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada. Chris graduated in 2017 from St Mary’s University with a Masters of Management: Cooperatives and Credit Unions.
Sandy Forbes – Secretary, Vice President
Sandy brings a combined 20+ years of experience in financial and retail cooperatives as well as IT leadership in telecommunications, transportation, and travel & leisure. Sandy currently works at VanCity Credit Union consulting on strategic initiatives that focus on member experience and community engagement. Sandy believes that healthy and prosperous communities are built through a “triple bottom line” investment in People (social inclusion), Planet (environment sustainability) and Profit (financial returns). As part of Vancity’s Bologna studies program 2013 co-hort , Sandy experienced first hand how cooperatives and sustainable business practices are vital to economic growth which continues to fuel is passion about further development in this sector here in British Canada. Sandy joined the board in 2018 and continues to focus on building resilience in the local food economy.
Susanna Collins holds a Masters of Management in Cooperatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University (Halfiax) and was the Marketing Director at Central Co-op in Seattle, Washington from 2013 to 2019. At Central Co-op, Susanna was part of the leadership team that opened a new store, and she led the $2.5 million member investment campaign to support that project. Susanna has 20 years of experience in Marketing and her expertise includes management of company websites, social media, advertising, graphics, community-engagement, member-services, co-op elections and member meetings, public relations and public affairs.
Christina Yli-Luoma has a solid foundation in fresh produce marketing in Canada, the US and Europe developed over the past 30 years. Her focus is on the buyers and merchandisers in the retail and wholesale, working with growers and finally connecting with shoppers.
Over her career she has worked with a range of fresh produce-oriented wholesalers, trade groups and associations. Chris volunteers with the BCPMA (BC Produce Marketing Association) and is a member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). She is a past board member of EarthSave Canada and produced six vegetarian oriented consumer shows. She studied PR and Journalism at Durham College, Ontario. Through IESE Business school she has a certificate in Strategy and Sustainability. She is completing the Federated Co-Op educational series on “Foundations of Co-Op Governance” and “Building Strategic Leadership”. Christina is a volunteer with the Vancouver’s Green Streets program and is a board member of East End Co-op.
Graham’s career and passion is helping co-ops, companies, and communities adapt in the low carbon economy. Graham brings over twelve years of experience in the co-operative and community development sectors as an entrepreneur, analyst, and advisor. Graham currently leads the Community Energy Initiative at Ecotrust Canada, a charitable program supporting rural and Indigenous communities to install cost-saving home energy retrofits. Prior to that, Graham Co-Founded Shift Delivery, a zero-emissions co-operative. Graham has been serving on the East End Board since 2010, including six years as Chair. Graham’s skills include market research, financial analysis, business planning, fundraising, and strategic planning.
I reside in North Burnaby, B.C. From 1973 to 1990 I was a teacher in School District 36 (Surrey, B.C.). While I was a teacher I attended the University of B.C. Law School where I graduated in 1990. I completed my articles and I was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1991. From 1991 to 2009 I was a member of the Law Society of B.C. and a practising lawyer. I retired in 2009. I continue to sit on two provincial tribunals on a part-time basis: The Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal of B.C. and the Property Assistance Review Panel of B.C. I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the 411 Seniors Centre Society in Vancouver since 2015 and I am currently the Vice-President. I became a member of the Board of Directors of the East End Food Co-op in September of 2019. At present I am on the personnel committee and expansion committee of the East End Food Co-op.
Marcelo Cohen is a Brazilian-Canadian and award-winning wedding Photographer. The cooperative world is his passion. He’s involved in the Vancouver co-op function for over four years. He is at the Board of Directors of the Athletes Village co-housing, where he is the President. In addition to serving on the East End Food Co-op board, he is on the CHF BC Financial Committee.
He attends co-op activities like the Co-op Week Innovation Forum and Co-operative Housing Education Conference. In the past, Marcelo spent more than a decade in the Corporate Travel Industry, where he started a company from scratch with a few employees. After ten years, the same company had more than a hundred employees, got numerous awards and was one of Brazil’s top ten most prominent companies in the sector. Once he moved to Canada, he realized that the co-op world suited better his views and philosophy.