The Board of Directors is responsible for leading the Co-op and guiding the organization. They have been elected by the member-owners to act on their behalf. The Board is committed to absorbing the membership’s needs and wants, with a goal of making the best possible decisions for the organization as a whole.
Elections for the Board of Directors take place at our spring general membership meeting each year. Each member is elected to serve a two-year term, which commences at the July Board meeting following elections. The Board is composed of anywhere from 9 to 11 positions.
The Board of Directors is responsible for governing the Co-op. They are elected by member-owners to act on their behalf, with the goal of making decisions in the best interest of the collective organization and community. Board of Directors elections take place at our annual spring General Membership Meeting. Each Director serves a two-year term, starting the summer following elections.
Board meetings are always open to the public. To learn more about attending a Board meeting, please email [email protected].
Click here to learn more about the board of directors summary of responsibilities and core competencies.
Board of Directors
Chad Hooper, Board President | term ends June 2021
Chad moved to South Philadelphia in 2016 and settled in East Passyunk Crossing after falling in love with the city’s food scene. He is proud to live on the coolest block in South Philly and has a multitude of incredible neighbors. One of them, former board member Carolyn Huckabay, got Chad involved in the Co-op and he came aboard as our 1,000th member-owner in 2018. Chad works for the federal government and leads the Treasury’s quality analysis function. He also instructs transformational leadership courses for new and current managers throughout the nation. Chad is the National President of the Professional Managers Association, an organization which represents a segment of federal managers nationwide and works with agencies and the Congress to improve the federal workforce. Chad is a Board Director at Large for the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, the only charitable nonprofit devoted solely to providing emergency financial assistance and scholarships to civilian federal and postal public servants and their families. Chad is also a Lifetime Member of Federally Employed Women, a professional organization working for the advancement and professional growth of people of marginalized genders in federal service while also working to end sex and gender discrimination. Prior to joining the civil service, Chad was a program director for a community health center and worked with several nonprofits, shelters, and the local food co-op to organize a comprehensive safety net for 25,000 indigent patients living with chronic or terminal illnesses. After studying at the University of Hawaii, the University of Montana, and New England College, Chad holds a master’s degree in forensic accounting and a bachelor’s degree in economics. Chad splits his free time between baking for his husband, Max, and overparenting their two cats, Derpy and Crinkles.
Mita Banerjee, Board Vice President | term ends June 2021
Originally from the Lehigh Valley, Mita has lived in Philadelphia for 7 years, 5 of which have been spent in South Philly. She bought a house two years ago in South Philly, just a few blocks from the Co-op. She has been a member of the South Philly Food Co-op since 2017 which is important to her because it encompasses a community of members who strive to bring fresh, local and sustainable food to our neighborhood. Mita believes that co-ops are essential to providing a cozy neighborhood place where neighbors can get environmentally health conscious products at an affordable price. Mita is a Data Analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas, with a background in biology (Lafayette) and computer science (Rutgers). She has been in the field of software quality assurance for over 20 years with an emphasis on health care analytics. She has two daughters, one soon to be doctor and one who is a middle school teacher. Outside of work she loves to go on long walks with her dog Rocky, and enjoys practicing yoga and playing the piano. She also is an active member of an all women of color book club. Mita likes to be involved in her community by hosting block parties and participating in Philly clean-up days. She will be coordinating tabling initiatives for the South Philly Co-op from now on to help spread the word of the Co-op and its mission. With all this in mind she wants to sustainably contribute to the evolving community of the South Philly Co-op through engagement and inclusiveness.
Leigh Goldenberg, Board Treasurer | term ends June 2021
Originally from the Philadelphia suburbs, Leigh moved to South Philly from New York in 2007. She chaired the Co-op’s Program and Events Committee from 2012-2014, including oversight of two Garden Tours and dozens of other recruitment, fundraising, and engagement events. Outside of the Co-op, Leigh is the Executive Director of Theatre Philadelphia, the region’s marketing and audience development organization for theatres. Previously, she was Director of Marketing for Wash Cycle Laundry, a sustainable laundry service that delivers by bicycle and creates jobs for vulnerable adults. Also in Philadelphia, she has held positions at Arden Theatre Company, Lantern Theater Company, and provided consulting services to a host of mission-driven organizations. Leigh chairs the Friends of Kirkbride Elementary, is in the 2017 Class of Leadership Philadelphia’s Connectors and Keepers, and was a member of the 2016 Class of Philly Girls Do Good, which celebrates women leaders in community development. She holds a degree in Theatre Production and Management from Marymount Manhattan College. Her writing has been featured in Philly Love Notes and Spoke Magazine, and she’s appeared on ABC’s The $100,000 Pyramid and the DIY Network’s Kitchen Impossible. Leigh is the proud owner of a South Philadelphia row home that has a garage filled with bicycles she rides with her husband and daughter.
Eliza Kinsey, Board Secretary | term ends June 2021
Originally from upstate New York, Eliza has lived in the Passyunk Square neighborhood of South Philadelphia since 2014. As a member of the South Philly Food Co-op, she serves on the Food Justice and Equity Committee and joined the Board in July 2019. Eliza is a public health researcher, who has published extensively on food insecurity, nutrition disparities and diet-related chronic disease. She has worked on issues related to local food access and federal nutrition assistance programs for more than 10 years and is passionate about making healthy food available to all. Prior to her research career, Eliza worked on several organic farms, managed an urban farmers’ market and worked on local food policy issues with the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. Currently she is completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is also a Lecturer at Jefferson University’s College of Population Health. Eliza holds both a PhD in City and Regional Planning and a Master’s in Public Health from Penn. In her free time, Eliza enjoys baking, reading novels and exploring the woods with her husband and their mostly well-behaved dog, Remy.
Maria Cortese Hering, Director at Large | term ends June 2022
Maria has spent the last 10+ years studying food: who has access to it, its implications on health, and how its production intersects with our environment. She recently completed her MPH from Penn focusing on the connections between agriculture, nutrition, and climate change. Though her focus has been primarily global, she was born in South Philly and settled back here
in 2000. She believes much can be accomplished by acting locally and thinking globally and she wants to bring her passion for food and commitment to her community to the co-op. In addition to her MPH, Maria holds a BA in Film from Temple and an MA in African Studies from Ohio University.
Professionally, Maria has worked in media and communications for the last 25 years. Her career started in Kenya where she designed a video program for an international NGO. She then made her way to LA working in film and video. Upon her return to Philly she was a coordinating producer for the Documentary History Project for Youth with the Scribe Video Center and served as coordinator for the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association (PIVFA). Currently
Maria manages data and communications for the Office of Global Support Services at Penn.
Maria co-founded the Friends of Kirkbride and was on the PSCA education committee. She is a member of the Passyunk Gardens and currently volunteers weekly with SEAMAAC for COVID- 19 related food distribution.In her spare time, Maria is an avid bread baker. She loves to feed people and she shares this hobby with her family. She lives in South Philly with her husband, daughter, and 3 cats. They have been members of the co-op since 2013.
Colleen Forshee, Director at Large | term ends June 2022
Born in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in New Jersey, Colleen and her husband and 3 children travelled the world for the 21 years, moving 12 times, courtesy of the United States Army. Colleen credits these travels and friendships with fellow military families (who are a cross-section representation of our country) to her eagerness to learn about different cultures, foods and traditions. Following her husband’s retirement from the army, they bounced around Pennsylvania for a bit, launched their kids, until they finally settled into home-sweet-home, Philadelphia, 5 years ago. Colleen lovesthis south Philadelphia vibrant community of varied cultures and ethnicities. There is so much opportunity to bring our community together and what better way through our common basic thread of food. As a board member, Colleen believes she will be able to serve her community. Colleen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education from Rutgers University as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Mary Hardin-Baylor University. Colleen is a registered nurse and works in the clinical research field. She enjoys running as well as cooking meals and sharing a bottle of wine with her husband.
Jen Herczeg, Director at Large | term ends June 2021
Jen Herczeg moved to Philadelphia from New York in 2006 and currently resides in Bella Vista with her husband and 2 year old son. She received a BA in Communication from Villanova University and later an MBA in Marketing and International Business from Temple University. She also holds a Baking and Pastry Arts degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Jen has worked in the food and beverage industry for over 15 years for some of the world’s top brands - Starbucks Coffee Company, Whole Foods Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill and local foodie icon, Di Bruno Bros. - before founding Philly Food Collaborative, a network of consultants and freelancers to support small and emerging food brands in Philadelphia grow to the next level. She also supports marketing and social media for Edible Philly magazine and enjoys volunteering with several local women’s organizations. Jen has been active with the Co-op on and off for several years and previously served on the Operations and Marketing and Communications Committees and co-chaired the latter for a time. She is eager to contribute to the Co-op and her South Philly community in this new role on the Board.
Wanda Johnson, Director at Large | term ends June 2021
Wanda was born in Baltimore, MD and moved to Philadelphia in 2000. She has lived in the Queen Village neighborhood for the last 19 years. Her career is in health care as a certified nursing assistant and mobile phlebotomist. She has three children and eight grandchildren.
Wanda does a lot of volunteering in outreach. In 2015 she volunteered with the World Meeting of Families to welcome the Pope to Philadelphia. Her position was to work alongside the secret service, checking people as they came in, which she loved doing. Wanda is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and is a Block Captain, where she tries to bring positive things to her neighborhood and her community. She also helps support the food bank in her community as a volunteer. At Christmas time, Wanda takes Santa Claus to each child’s house for Christmas to give them a toy. Her goal is to have each child wake up with a smile on their face for Christmas.
Wanda is also an election official, where her position is with the majority inspection for the Board of Elections. Wanda joined the South Philly Food Co-op in 2019 as a member owner. That same year, she volunteered doing tabling with the outreach committee, which she really enjoyed! Wanda loves talking and meeting new people, letting them know about the Co-op. She likes to promote the Co-op by letting people know how important the Co-op is to the community and the benefits the Co-op is going to offer to the community.
"The Co-op is going to be much more than just a store! It will be a center for the community."
A Procik, Director at Large | term ends June 2022
A moved to Philadelphia in early 2018 and quickly found a place at home in South Philly. Originally from Chicago, they’ve lived and organized in communities across the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and New England. They’ve managed policy campaigns on issues including climate change, economic policy, mental health, public education, voter turnout, voting rights, workers' rights and civil rights. They've also managed organizing programs on independent expenditure and coordinated local, state and federal electoral campaigns. At the beginning of their career, A built a bi-state grassroots, member-led multi-issue and multi-tactical political startup, with a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) and Political Action Committee. Two and a half years later during Pennsylvania’s 2018 election cycle, they joined a team of five that managed one of the largest youth organizing programs in the history of the country. Now as a member of the Mayor’s Office they consult City agencies on executing strategic large-scale community engagement projects and manage an organizing 101 training program for engagement practitioners. Practicing restorative justice with the end goal of mass liberation, they’re a human-centered design advocate that approaches engagement from an equity, accessibility and trauma-informed perspective. A is a proud kitty parent and hot sauce connoisseur.
Marquis Tavon Upshur, Director at Large | term ends June 2021
Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Marquis currently works as the Vice President of Human Resources for Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Philadelphia’s premier economic development agency. As Vice President of Human Resources, Marquis leads efforts to attract, develop and retain the talent needed for PIDC to expand its reach and impact, including all hiring, training, and professional development. He has more than 15 years of experience managing human resource programs support for both for-profit and non-profit employers. Prior to his role with PIDC, Marquis served as the Vice President of Human Resources for Philabundance, where he lead human resources programs and operations planning for the nonprofit food bank. Marquis earned a bachelor’s degree from Albright College, a master’s degree from Duquesne University, and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is also a licensed Insurance Producer in the State of Pennsylvania, and spends most of his free time with his partner of 8 years and their puppy, Lilyrose.
Colleen Walsh, Director at Large | term ends June 2022
Colleen grew up in South Jersey and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a BA in Sports, Entertainment, Event Management. After graduating she stayed in Rhode Island for 9 more years and moved back to South Jersey in 2014. In 2017 Colleen and her husband moved to South Philly and fell in love with their neighborhood (Lower Moyamensing).
She became involved with the Co-op in the Spring 2019 and quickly learned the important role this store will have in the community. The South Philly Co-op is important to her because it allows the South Philly community to be involved in the local economy in a direct and democratic way. The co-op will grow and strengthen the local community by keeping funds circulating locally and invites us to listen to the many different voices in our neighborhood.
The Co-op & Colleen are a great fit. She is energetic, creative and loves interacting with people. She discovered at a young age the importance of family, friends, and neighbors coming together to celebrate and support each other and it’s when she realized she wanted to create experiences. Colleen launched White Pine Events LLC in December 2019.
When she isn’t planning and executing memorable events you can find her watching true crime documentaries, enjoying game night with friends or visiting breweries with her husband.