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Board Election 2020

The election of the Board of Directors will take place virtually this year via Helios, a secure online voting tool, in the two weeks leading up to and during our Spring General Membership Meeting on Thursday, May 28th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., also taking place online.

In our 2020 board election, we may elect up to seven (7) Directors — and need to elect a minimum of three (3) Directors to stay in compliance with our bylaws. Below, you may read about our four (4) declared candidates for these board seats.

If you are unable to vote using Helios, our electronic voting tool, please email the Governance Committee at [email protected] and we will send you a ballot which you can print and mail to our Board Secretary.


Who is eligible to vote for the Board of Directors?

According to Article 4, Section 5 of the bylaws, each Shareholding Member in good standing shall have one and only one vote upon any single matter. The Shareholding Member may designate a member of his or her Household to vote in his or her place.

What does "in good standing" mean?

In order to be "in good standing" members have to be paid up on their equity according to their membership agreement. That means either having your full $200 equity paid up or being up-to-date on your payments according to your payment plan.

How do I know if I'm up to date on my payments?

If you've received your share certificate in the mail or at a previous General Membership Meeting then you have paid off your entire $200 equity. If you're currently making payments or aren't sure you've received a share certificate, you can check your equity online. You will be prompted to log in to view your payment history. If you have never logged into our website, simply click “Forgot my Password” and follow the prompts. You can also email [email protected] to ask.

How does the online voting process work?

Online voting will take place from Thursday, May 14 – Thursday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. An email containing online voting instructions, as well as the User ID and Password needed to access the online ballot, will be sent to the primary contact of each member-owner household in good standing. If the primary contact of your household does not receive this email or you are unsure who is listed as your household's primary contact, you may contact us for assistance at [email protected]. Learn more about Helios, our online voting platform, and how it is designed to secure the privacy of your vote.

If there are multiple people in my member-owner household, do we each get a vote?

Nope. Only one vote per member-owner household. You can talk it over as a household and make selections that everyone agrees to, or just designate the primary member-owner to make the decision on everyone's behalf. Whatever works for you!

If you receive multiple votes from the same member-owner household, what will happen?

The only way the Co-op would receive multiple votes from one household is if a given household votes via Helios *and* mails in a ballot. Should this happen, the Governance Committee will only count the vote submitted via Helios, as there is no way for a Helios election administrator to know who voted for whom.

Meet the 2020 Nominees

Below are the names and statements of the candidates, presented alphabetically by last name.

Maria Cortese Hering (member-owner since 2013)

Maria Cortese HeringI have spent the last 10+ years studying food: who has access to it, its implications on health, and how its production intersects with our environment. I recently completed a Master of Public Health degree from Penn focusing on the connections between agriculture, nutrition, and climate change. Though my focus has been primarily global, I was born in South Philly, settled back here in 2000, and my husband and I raise our daughter here. I believe much can be accomplished by acting locally and thinking globally and I want to bring my passion for food and commitment to my community to this opportunity.

I have over 25 years of professional experience working in media and communications, primarily within the non-profit and academic arenas. I enjoy creating messaging and outreach to target diverse audiences. I would love to bring this experience to the issues of food within my community. 

Since my return to Philadelphia in 2000 I have engaged with my community in both a professional and personal capacity. I have managed a thrift store, produced documentaries with Philadelphia high school students, and run a small non-profit. I was the founder of the Friends of Kirkbride, and am a member of the Passyunk Gardens, where I have served as the harvest coordinator, managing the collection of produce for donation to United Communities. 

I was an early adopter to the food co-op, have invested in its success, and am eager to get more involved.

Colleen Forshee (member-owner since 2019)

Colleen ForsheeGrowing up, my family belonged to a small co-op which consisted of a group of families that came together and agreed to a monthly split of fruits and vegetables that were picked up from a warehouse somewhere in New Jersey. When I first read about South Philly Food Co-op, I was intrigued at the idea of a co-op in my community. I discovered that although this co-op idea had grown from what I knew previously, the definition of the alliance, “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise” still was in line, but now on a grander scale in my neighborhood. As I began to further understand, through various emails received by South Philly Co-Op and talks with board members, I knew that I had something to bring to the table to this organization. I love this south Philadelphia vibrant community of many cultures and backgrounds. There is so much opportunity to bring our community together and what better way through our common basic thread of food. I am a nurse, and work in the clinical research field. I have travelled extensively around our country and world. I am always eager to learn and I feel that I problem solve effectively by using skills of negotiation and diplomacy. I would consider a chance to serve on the South Philly Co-op Board of Directors a chance to serve the community that I love.

Anthony Procik (member since 2019)

Anthony ProcikSouth Philly is my home. Its diversity and culture create a deep sense of vibrant, gritty community. That feeling of belonging is potent, and something I seek to create through all of my work.

That's why I'm interested in joining the South Philly Food Co-op Board of Directors. The Co-op allows us to increase access to better food, while creating a stronger community and encouraging a healthier world. It allows us to take collective action on our community values, while inviting those most impacted into the decision-making process. 

So, why me? In my professional life, I practice large-scale, equitable and accessible, trauma-informed community engagement. As an organizer and trainer, I also manage an organizing 101 training program for community members. In the past, I’ve worked on local, state and federal policy and electoral campaigns. I've also started and managed a democratically-controlled, member-owned nonprofit, similar to a co-op.

The current Board has identified a need for strategic thinkers, innovative problem-solvers and public speakers when the Co-op opens its doors this Spring. I believe that my human-centered design experience and entrepreneurial skills can add that capacity during the next phase of Board leadership. I’m also an avid cook and passionate hot sauce connoisseur, which may or may not come in handy.

Colleen B. Walsh (member-owner since 2019)

Colleen WalshThe South Philly Co-op is important to me because it allows our community to be involved in our local economy in a direct and democratic way. The co-op grows and strengthens our local community by keeping funds circulating locally and invites us to listen to the many different voices in South Philly. I want to continue the successful work our board has done for so many years and assist with running a smooth operation that meets our community needs. 

My experience in customer service, project and event leadership, and my skills in collaborating with a team makes me a great fit for the board. I am highly organized, energetic, and creative along with being one of those individuals who simply loves meeting and interacting with new people. I understand the importance of working with colleagues and customers to successfully deliver timely work products while creating a memorable experience.  

With my 15 years of experience planning and executing projects and events I understand the importance of keeping a team on track while having constant communication with each other and the customer. I will use these skills and experience to assist and support the grand opening this year and maintain the smooth operation of the co-op.