Meet the Board

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Renee Ryan
Board President

Renee has been a West Chester resident for 26 years and has fallen deeply in love with everything that makes West Chester a unique community, from the people and businesses, to the history and the landscape.

Renee has held careers in the culinary,  hospitality and event management fields over the last 20 years, working as a Certified Cheese Professional and Manager with Whole Foods, a Cheesemaker and Marketing Specialist with Yellow Springs Farm and the Market Manager and Event Planner at Highland Orchards. In 2018 she found her passion in Real Estate Sales and Investing. She is currently a realtor with the Gary Mercer Team at Keller Williams.

When Renee is not working she is and has been immersed in the volunteering and outreach, developing mutually beneficial relationships and fostering a sense of community with those she meets.

Vice President
Judy Carrino
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Director-at-Large
Regina Pfohl

Why I joined the co-op: I deeply believe in the democratic economic cooperative model and I know a food co-op will be the perfect addition to our already fantastic community!

 

Favorite recipe: Marrakesh Carrots (find the recipe here!)

 

Favorite Veggie: Cucumbers. oh, and, carrots.

Cecile Adkins
Secretary

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist by profession, having worked in clinical and community nutrition, and private practice counseling for more than 20 years. I currently am an assistant professor and nutrition curriculum program director at Immaculata University. Originally from the west coast, I have lived in West Chester for more than 15 years and in England for 11 years.

I have been married for more than 28 years. We have two boys who are both at university. I am a people person and have always been an educator. I am passionate about food and nutrition as a means to prevent chronic disease and bring communities together.

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Nelly Freed
Treasurer

Nelly has a degree in chemistry from Drexel University with post-grad studies at Heidelberg University, Germany. Her professional career of 48 years included product testing at the FDA, biomedical research at Harvard, development of radio-labeled products at New England Nuclear, drug development at Wyeth, Director of Health Services for the Red Cross, professional food tasting, and evaluation, clinical diagnostics sales and Sr. Director. Food and wine are her passions! She has contributed to 5 cookbooks and has participated in the same gourmet dinner group for over 35 years.  She's made wine for over a 10-year period, and participates in 2 wine tasting groups. With regards to the West Chester Co-op, she has helped organize an annual meeting and organized and ran the countless events.  She also leads the Financa and Fundraising committees, participates with the Growers Market, and over the past 2 years, she volunteers at the Co-op store.

Don Welsh
Director-at-Large

Don is a business executive with over 25 years of experience across multiple industries with a proven track record in both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial, venture-capital-backed companies. Don's experience will be invaluable as we explore the possible opening of a new store. 

Don joined the co-op because he always had a deep connection to West Chester and wanted to serve this community. The mission, goals, objective and cooperative ownership structure speak to his core values and is grateful for the opportunity to serve.

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Jackie Baldassare
Director-at-Large

Jackie has been a part of a small business community since she was 12 years old and involved in my family’s business, Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roaster, and Artisan Exchange.  As a young girl, she would work the table at many Farmers Markets. It taught her at a young age the importance of coming together as a community and supporting local businesses. She graduated from Widener University in 2019 with a Finance and Economics degree. Shortly after I graduated, she joined the family business full-time as a Sales Manager for Artisan Exchange. Her role is to help support small businesses by selling their products to local grocery stores, farm stands, and institutions. She is extremely passionate about what she does while truly enjoying it. Since June 2020 she has worked closely with the Co-op to provide local products for the GoBox program. And she would love to continue promoting the Co-op through social media channels.

Gary Coutu
Director-at-Large

I currently serve as the Chair of the Department of Geography and Planning at West Chester University, as well as a Full Professor specializing in Geographic Information Systems. I have taught at WCU for 15 years. During this time, I have developed a number of new academic courses and programs and taken this knowledge into the community. Before coming to WCU I was Department Chair of the GIS and CAD Department at Temple College in Texas. I was an Assistant Research Scientist at Texas A&M, where I received my PhD in Geosciences. 

I see the Co-op as a voice and service provider of the community, to bring local food, goods, and services into that brick and mortar setting to create a greater sense of community, building a bridge between service and smart business management.

My wife and I live in the Borough, support local businesses and walk everywhere. We love living here, there is such a strong sense of community and pride. 

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Matt Shea
Director-at-Large

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master of Health Administration and an MBA in 1995. I then worked at The Hickman, a retirement home in West Chester, as the Business Manager until I started Temple University’s doctoral program in general and strategic management in 2005. After graduation, I was hired by West Chester University’s business school. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in strategy, compensation management, and business & society.I have taught social entrepreneurship in the Leadership Chester County program for four years; the program prepares professionals to serve on not-for-profit boards.

I envision a physical location that retails fresh, packaged, and prepared foods to a diverse population. The retail service will prioritize local and organic sources.

My wife and I moved into the borough in 2003; we have three daughters and the greatest dog in the world (we have two cats, too).

Michele Goodwin
Director-at-Large

Michele and her husband Eric have been calling West Chester home for almost two years and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she jumped into her banking career with First Union National Bank and First Union Brokerage Services, Inc. as a Branch Manager/Assistant Vice President, eventually taking a role in Training and Development as a Senior Project Manager and Training Designer. She also has experience working as a Conference Coordinator and Event Planner. Currently, she is in the preliminary stages of opening a small distillery with her family in North Carolina. Her 80-year-old father is a Master Distiller.

 

She has been a member of the West Chester Co-Op since July 2020. She volunteers two days each week with the GoBox and in-store shopping and serves on the Member-Owner Recruitment Event Committee, fostering collaborations with many of the our wonderful West Chester businesses, including but not limited to Levante.

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Board Meeting Minutes