Board of Directors Candidates

The Board is made up of nine elected representatives whose main duty is to establish written policies that set boundaries for the Collective Management to operate within and to ensure that it meets these expectations. As elected leaders, Board members are expected to engage and create meaningful relationships with Member-Owners by attending community events, and listening and responding to feedback regarding the Co-op. The Board aspires to be a diverse group of people and experiences to reflect the breadth of the Co-op’s community.

An ideal Board candidate would:

  • Have an abiding passion for People’s’ community, values, and vision.

  • Be an empathetic, clear and respectful communicator in person and over email.

  • Be familiar with monitoring reports, bylaws and other financial documents, though the Co-op is happy to provide training and other resources so that all candidates are supported.

  • Have a capacity for visionary and creative thinking to help define the mission of the organization and lead it forward.

  • Show up for Board work by attending meetings and other events, communicating via email, and contributing to a fair share of the workload.


Eleanor Escafi

Since joining People’s Co-op in late 2018, I have been impressed by the sense of community I feel when I’m there. People’s is so much more than the health-oriented grocery store I had originally sought out. I appreciate People’s role as a gathering place, haven of safety, engine of the local economy, learning space, marketplace, and example of values like inclusion and sustainability.

My pride in the People’s community has compelled me to run for the Board. I would like to have a voice in shaping People’s future direction and potential expansion. I’d like to contribute my ideas to ensuring the co-op has the chance to grow and evolve in a way that meets the community’s needs. I’d like to see the Co-op thrive for the next decade and beyond as a community gathering place. I would like People’s to be economically sustainable to fulfill its commitments to its employees and to ensure longevity. I agree with the 80% of Member-Owners who responded to the Long-term Planning Survey that the foremost priority should be to fulfill the Ends statement. My vision for the co-op is for the passionate community working together for sustainability, progressive land and animal stewardship, human rights, social and economic justice to become even larger and more diverse.

I believe that feedback is invaluable. I also believe that in order to ensure future, continuing feedback one must respond with not only words but actions. I appreciate that the first step in People’s map towards future expansion is to ‘Listen’. I believe in leading with values at the heart, and my votes and decisions as a member of the Board would be guided by the values I hold dear: sustainability, vegetarianism/least-harm lifestyle, courage, hyper-local economics, and kindness. I would work to get to know the other board members professionally and personally to build trust. And I would honor my commitment to fulfill the expectations of Board membership.

Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy. I look forward to continuing to be part of the People’s community.


Will Newman

I have been a member of Peoples Food Co-op since the beginning, was one of the early vendors at the farmers market, have attended educational sessions at the Co-op many times since the expansion. I served on the board for a time some years ago, and know a great deal of the history of the Co-op.

I have personal experience as an organic grower, small business consultant, board member of numerous small organizations, co-founder of a food co-op, and past member of a number of them. This background gives me experience which is both broad and deep that I can bring to the Board’s deliberations.

I again have time to serve on the Board, and can bring a perspective to its deliberations that can help the board more fully fulfill the mission of People’s.

While I am an energetic advocate for my vision of how we could respond to current challenges, I am trained and experienced in mediation, and realize what is needed is cooperation among Board members, and among Co-op members. I will draw on the skills, knowledge, and experience of other Board and Co-op members to help People’s continue to serve our community.


Brion Oliver

After five years of long-term planning, the Co-op is poised to enter a period of change. Immediate challenges include addressing high staff turnover, labor and operational inefficiencies, and following-up on next steps for a growth plan now that the Collective has determined to not move forward with a new store in Lents. Addressing this period of change to build a bright future for the next twenty years will require leadership from a Board made strong by its diversity of experiences, skills, and backgrounds.

My relationship to People’s has been varied: I first fell in love with the store and community as a high-school student in 1986 and became a Member-Owner in 2007 upon returning to Portland. I was a Hands-On-Owner volunteering in the store from 2008-2011. A local vendor both at the People’s Farmers’ Market and within the store, I sold raw kale salads and desserts through The Raw Matrix label. I’ve produced events in the Community Room. As a shopper, HOO, and vendor, I’ve seen the Co-op from multiple perspectives and worked closely with the staff for a number of years. I’ve also worked in natural foods at Central Co-op in Seattle and at New Seasons Market.

Most recently, I was the Head of Operations & Culture for the Functional Nutrition Alliance (formerly Replenish PDX), a nutrition education company and clinic that got its start in the neighborhood. I specialize in building systems and people solutions to tough organizational challenges. I’ve been coaching coaches, training trainers, and developing leadership on teams for over twenty years, and I have experience with change management, employee engagement, financial oversight, strategic planning, legal language, social justice principles, and workplace diversity/equity/inclusion.

My formative background is less corporate and more community-centric. I’ve lived and worked in intentional communities and at places like the Kripalu Center and the Omega Institute. I’ve worked collaboratively in dance and theater, and identify as a karma and bhakti yogi and energy worker. People’s has been an instrumental center for my life for the last decade+. I have a skill set that will allow me to give back and be in service to the Member-Owner body during this time of change, and I ask for your vote to the Board of Directors.


Ballots are due by 10pm on June 8th.

Cast your vote Online, by mail or in the store!