Candidate statements

In this section

Please read these statements carefully before casting your vote.

Candidates

Anthony Wooding

Anthony Wooding

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

For nine years I managed a local law firm. I was responsible for strategy, finance, investment in staff, services and offices, marketing, sponsorship, community and charity engagement and compliance.

I have been a local solicitor for 35 years, helping businesses and individuals solve their problems. I am now working as an accredited mediator.

As a governor of two schools in the area I was engaged in strategy and operations.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

As a member of Suffolk Bank of England Panel I have substantial economic intelligence.

A local artist and arts promoter, I believe strongly in social commitment. I am currently volunteering for a homelessness charity and as a guide at Framlingham Castle.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I have been a member for the majority of my adult life. I recall a keenness to complete books of stamps from the Wivenhoe store in my 20s! Until last year, I advised the Society as a solicitor which means I understand its business and challenges.

I continue to shop with the Society.

I attended a candidate briefing session on 2nd March.

Other information

Many of our challenges are international, such as climate change, or national, such as Brexit. But the solutions – e.g. sourcing, reduction of waste and recycling – are often local, most effectively coming from organisations which carry large communities within them. The Society is placed second to none here. This position provides it with great opportunities as well as responsibilities. On behalf of members, I am keen to help find more of the former and fulfil the latter.

Karla Powell

Karla Powell

Society Director May 2018 to date

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I’ve been a Co-op member for 26 years and shop at the Co-op everyday.

As a school governor, parish councillor and chair of the community council, I’ve shared responsibility for budgets, decision-making, strategic planning and membership.

As a teacher with 30 years experience working in special and primary schools, I bring knowledge of the education sector and an understanding of the differing life experiences, opportunities and economic circumstances that challenge families.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I’m approachable and collaborative, but with the confidence to initiate or persist to achieve an outcome.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I’ve taken every opportunity to participate in training and regional and national co-op meetings and conferences.

I’ve attended colleague events and participated in the ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign in Ipswich to prevent violence and abuse against shopworkers.

In Norwich I visited a Befriending Scheme and a Co-op Loneliness project for housebound residents.

Meeting the Sourced Locally suppliers and hearing first hand about their businesses provided a valuable insight into the practicalities of getting their produce on to the shelf.

I asked the Co-op headquarters to stop using plastic envelopes as they’re non-recyclable, the change was made immediately and new initiatives to help shoppers with recycling are being trialled.

I’m a great fan of the Co-op Juniors and it’s fantastic that they continue to nurture and develop the talents of so many children and young people.

Other information

The EOE Co-op is respected for maintaining its principles and I’ve been proud to be involved in the business.

The following information has been provided by the Secretary:

  • Board service since last AGM
  • Board meetings: 9 out of 10
  • Membership and Community Engagement Committee: 4 out of 4

 

Jane Nice

Jane Nice

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

Born and raised in Ipswich, the East of England Co-op has always been a part of my community and I am proud to say that I have been employed by the Society for 25 years.

I am a CIPD qualified HR Business Partner dealing with complex projects, requiring sensitivity and the need for confidentiality.

I strongly believe we need to support others to succeed, which the Co-op has done for me and so I enjoy being involved in our Apprenticeship Scheme, as well as visiting Careers Fairs to encourage and support the next generation to unlock their potential.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

As a busy working mum I understand the need for a work life balance, along with excellent organisational skills. I believe in supporting others, involving myself with local initiatives from becoming a Dementia Friend to racing in mud for charity! Being local enables me to see what an impact the Society can have in supporting local causes.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I have in the past enjoyed assisting at family events such as the AGM, even dressing up as a member of the Goodness Gang at the ITFC Fun Day. At work I have been involved in selecting candidates for Apprenticeships and helped with team building days when we have opened new branches across the business.

Other information

My experiences as a customer and employee will allow me the insight to take an active role in ensuring the Society continues to succeed, taking into consideration the needs of the customer as well as the colleagues.

Maria Veronese

Maria Veronese

Society Director May 2016 to May 2017

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

You put your trust in me in the 2016 elections. Thank you. I enjoyed serving on the board, meeting many of you at events and working alongside our enthusiastic colleagues.

Having also served on the Remuneration and Search Committee my knowledge of our business has substantially broadened.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

For the past 20 years I have worked as a news journalist in the East of England, mainly covering local issues for BBC Look East. I also run two successful businesses - in the training and property sectors.

Outside of work my husband, three teenage children and I enjoy sport and travel. With my family’s support I have twice completed the London Marathon to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I was on the board as our Co-op led the drive to become dementia friendly, source local goods/services and reduce food waste. However, it’s important we keep striving to reduce our impact on the environment and improve the quality of what we offer.

Other information

Our Co-op does things differently and we do them well. In the face of stiff competition, in a challenging economic climate, we continue to be profitable, evolve and grow… opening new stores and refurbishing existing ones.

You, our members, strengthen our communities. I hope in these turbulent times we’re inspiring others. We are proof working cooperatively can be prosperous and change lives for the better.

With your support I would like to resume the challenge of making our values commercially successful and promote the Co-operative difference.

Richard Youngs

Richard Youngs

Society Director May 2017 to date

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I am currently a serving Director of the East of England Cooperative, with 2 years experience on the Board and have attended all of the job specific training for the Society. I am also a Non Executive Director with the NHS East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust hospitals at Ipswich and Colchester. I have wide experience of operating at Director level in the Public and commercial sector and have qualifications in Strategic Planning and Development which are ideally suited to the role.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

As a former senior officer in the Personnel Support Branch of the Royal Air Force and school bursar I have found that my skill sets of Finance, Personnel, Pay & Pensions policy, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning have added value to the decisions and development of our Society.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I am Chair of the Remuneration & Search Committee which has involved considerable additional work on behalf of the Society and which I have been happy to do. I have been honored to represent the Society at a number of Cooperative events in the Region and be an ambassador for our Society.

Other information

Originally from Diss, I have been a member of a Cooperative all of my adult life and am passionate about our ethical policies and commitment to the community we serve. I am President of a local Service Charity and a qualified and active Dementia Befriender. My role in the NHS enhances my contribution to the wider community and has brought improvements in working practices to the Cooperative board.

The following information has been provided by the Secretary:

  • Board service since last AGM
  • Board meetings: 10 out of 10
  • Remuneration and Search Committee: 7 out of 7

Phil Hartwell

Phil Hartwell

Society Director Oct 1993 to May 2018

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

My experience as a Co-op Director started when I left University.

I have chaired our Audit, REMCO, and Members Committees and the Working Group on Board procedures.

I take continuing training seriously, my recent modules being in Finance and Member Engagement.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

It is inspiring to be involved with groups and communities working together. I believe in ‘we agree’ rather than ‘I think’ and try to put this into practice. I am a good listener and this helps me work effectively as a leader, while providing positive and constructive challenge.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I have led REMCO for Co-ops UK and am a Director of Harwich Connexions Transport Co-operative. Currently I am working to support the establishment of Student Housing Co-operatives.

Other information

A retired teacher, I have lived in Little Oakley since 1979, first joining the Co-op when I was 16.

Co-op businesses are different: they are ethical by nature, community centred by design – and better by miles!

I am proud to be a member of this great movement which we should shout about from the rooftops.

This Society remains strong, but to build for the future, we must:

  • Continue to invest
  • Respond quicker to the needs of members
  • Diversify the business
  • Promote our ideals to the next generation
  • Make our work in the community more visible
  • Sell the Co-operative difference

Our Values and Principles resonate today more than ever – there is a better way than just for profit. I hope I can serve you as a Director.

Emma Howard

Emma Howard

Society Director May 2015 to date

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I have just completed my first four-year term as a director at the East of England Co-op. It has been a period of rapid change and many difficult decisions have had to be made, therefore I believe it is important for us to maintain consistency in these challenging times.

As a financial analyst within our Society I am familiar with scrutinising the business, beyond just the numbers. My work experience is backed up by my accounting technician qualification, which also requires continual development. The flexibility of the required improvement means I can focus on subjects most pertinent to our Co-op.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

Being a colleague means I can bring a different set of views to the boardroom, and as a young professional I also represent another demographic of our membership. It is important to find solutions that work for all.

My passion for our Society has only increased in my nine years here. I have learnt so much, which has developed my strategic thinking; helping the board become more efficient and able to focus on the themes most pressing for our communities.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I am also our Society’s representative at Co-operatives UK, the co-operative movement’s apex body, ensuring our interests are heard at a national level, and that we work closely with other organisations who possess aligned goals.

Other information

As a re-standing director, I ask that you support me to continue making our Society sustainable for the future while addressing the needs of our diverse membership.

The following information has been provided by the Secretary:

  • Board service since last AGM
  • Board meetings: 9 out of 10
  • Performance Review Committee: 4 out of 4

Mandy Errington

Mandy Errington

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

As a Suffolk born and bred entrepreneur, I am an expert in my field and possess key experience, which spans over 30 years within the retail and marketing industries.

Being a former Society employee is a major asset and equips me with a firm footing, as I already embrace its Values and Principles and have a clear understanding of the Society’s vast operation.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

During my 14 years of service, I gained a succession of managerial promotions which eventually led to becoming the Head of Marketing for the overall Society.

My responsibilities included; overseeing marketing expenditure and implementing viable promotional solutions in support of all Trading and Membership.

Prior to working for the Co-op, I held senior positions at Suffolk County Council and reputable design agencies across the region.

Being my own boss allows me the flexibility and time to invest in the potential role of Director.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I’m a firm supporter of the Co-op and have always valued the Society as a Member and former employee. I appreciate the diversity of the cooperative movement and respect the significant contribution the Co-op makes to the community.

I shop regularly at my local Co-op, mainly for the Sourced Locally products. Running an independent business personally, I recognise the importance of supporting local stores.

Other information

I’ve successfully pioneered a number of initiatives in the past and during the seven years of running my own business.

I would love to make a contribution by introducing fresh ideas and raising more awareness.

Nigel Brennan

Nigel Brennan

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I am pleased to be an ‘unpaid’ director of my home village’s public house and community shop, a successful Community Interest Company providing employment opportunities for many local people, particularly those starting their career on the ‘employment ladder’.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

My early working life encompassed several managerial positions within local, and national, retail organisations. Subsequently I owned my own shop, in partnership with another, for several years and continued to be self-employed until joining the Civil Service in 2003. Having reached retirement age, I now involve myself (as I have done for some time prior) with various ‘community’ interests. I am a parish councillor, village hall parish representative, vice-chair of a local political association and seeking election as a District Councillor in May 2019. I am also a member of my local District Council’s ‘Standards and Monitoring Committee’ overseeing the performance of parish councils in the District and the performance of District Councillors in cabinet and committee meetings.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

Whilst having had no direct involvement with the Society or the wider co-operative movement until now I have long been a customer of the Society and applaud and uphold the values of both the Society and the wider co-operative movement. I have also attended a ‘candidate briefing’ at Wherstead Park.

Other information

Now retired from my previous ‘9-5, five days a week’ work pattern I have the time and opportunity to properly undertake the responsibilities of directorship of ‘your’ Society on your behalf.

Robert Ashton

Robert Ashton

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I’ve started and run my own businesses since 1990 and held non-executive Board roles with local, regional and national organisations over the past 25 years. I’m comfortable challenging long held assumptions and quick to support innovation and positive change.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I am a social entrepreneur, so used to building strategic partnerships that can meet need in new and cost effective ways. I am also a published non-fiction author, used to translating complex issues into simple language that can be understood by all.

I am a Trustee of Healthwatch Norfolk, a Vice Patron of Norfolk Community Foundation and a firm believer that success comes from collaboration, not competition.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

My nearest Coop store is in Wymondham, and I make good use of the travel branch in Leiston. I’ve sat on the Board of a cooperative trust of special needs schools, and am co-founder of Norwich Mustard, a community benefit society.

Other information

I am a Quaker, and always struck by the similarities between cooperative principles and the values by which I live my life. There is no doubt in my mind that people have grown tired of corporate greed. Cooperatives, responsive to their membership, with no fat-cat pay packets are in my view the business model of tomorrow. The growth of the coop sector supports this view.

I’ve known East of England Coop for most of my life, yet was pleasantly surprised when I attended an election candidates’ workshop at Wherstead to learn just how forward looking this cooperative is.

I believe we all need to stand up for our passions. The Co-op has supported me for over 30 years and I feel it is now time for me to return the favour.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session on Saturday, 3rd February.

Karen Tarling

Karen Tarling

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I am a Solicitor who specialises in employment law and my background is primarily in the public and trade union sectors, having worked for Essex County Council and the British Medical Association (BMA).

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I previously acted as Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer for Little Bromley and Great Bromley and was a non executive Director for Colchester Institute for four years.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I am passionate about buying locally grown produce where possible. This encourages local business, which in turn impacts positively in that it generates more jobs for the local community and benefits the wider regional economy. It also helps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Other information

The retail sector is experiencing challenging yet exciting times. We have all seen the decline of the High Street in recent years with many multi national stores going into liquidation with consequent job losses. It is therefore imperative that the co-op stays ahead of current consumer trends in order that we not only survive but thrive. UK online grocery shopping doubled between 2010 and 2016 and consumers are generally making purchases in a more socially conscious way. Consumers are more aware of environmental issues such as the use of plastic and climate change. We need to strike a balance between offering members a more enhanced digital retail experience for those who are technologically aware, whilst at the same time continuing to offer other members the more traditional shopping experience.

Patricia Gray

Patricia Gray

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I have been employed by 2 social service departments; the first Ealing SS where I ran a children’s home for 10 years . During this time I attended many training courses on various subjects . I chaired staff meetings on a regular basis , review meetings and training . On moving to Essex I worked for Essex SS inspecting residential care homes. I liaised with the owners and staff of each home, preparing reports, submitting the findings and arranging training.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

During the last 20 years I have worked for Barnardos Children’s services as a foster carer, then as an adoptive parent. I have 5 Children and 10 grandchildren. I shop for all of them and am very mindful of the health of my family. I take note of all the new products that are in the Co-op, and the Fairtrade Policy. I have volunteered in my local community and see first hand the isolation that some people suffer. I am very interested in the way the Co-op support local groups in the community.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I have no current involvement in the Co-op, other than being a customer.

Other information

I would like to be a board member to represent my local community, promote the Co-op, and encourage local people to realise the benefits of supporting local producers.

Terry Byford

Terry Byford

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

As a police officer for over thirty years, most of my qualifications are police specific, the skills learnt however are transferrable. I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, and have completed Senior Leadership Development Training, including Health and Safety, Managing Performance, Diversity Training, Strategic Perspective and Effective Communication.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I have experience of controlling budgets, and staff. I am comfortable working with different agencies and partners, and with managing competing demands to achieve performance effectively. I know the importance of strong communities, and am an active member of my local WI.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

I live in a village where the local Co-op is essential to the whole community, and my family and I have relied on it over the years.

I applied to become a Director last year, and it was only when unsuccessful that I realised how much I wanted to be a part of the Co-op, so, here I am again!

Other information

I retired from the police service three years ago to spend time with my family, and I was very fortunate to be able to do this. With my youngest child now at university, I feel that I now have the time to commit to a new career.

I am applying for this role because I admire the aims and values of the East of England Co-op. I want to help the society continue to support and develop communities, providing practical assistance to those who need it, working to showcase local producers and develop sound environmental policies.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I have been a management consultant for 14 years, running my own company for the last five years. Previously I was a senior manager in a leading UK utility company with a particular focus on customer service issues. I began my career as lobbyist and head of policy at a national employers’ organisation. I have worked in the UK and overseas and with companies large and small, all of which has given me a breadth of relevant business experience and knowledge.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I am hardworking, diligent and honest. I like to really get to the bottom of an issue, asking awkward questions, seeking answers and finding solutions to problems, especially where customers are concerned. I value and enjoy teamwork; a good team of directors can do great things!

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

Until now my involvement has been purely as a customer. I shop regularly at my local store, typically three or four times a week. My experience has been mostly good I am pleased to say, though not always. I have shopped at other stores in the area too and there is variation.

Other information

The local Co-op is vital for communities providing local shopping, local jobs and local choice. I buy local produce whenever I can. Local producers supplying local shops is important but we need more. More Fair Trade products too. I think the Co-op generally provides a good range and value for money, but it can always improve. I’d like to help it do so. With your support we can.

Amir Islam

Amir Islam

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

My Skills are in Catering, Insurance, Finance, Corporate Governance, Management, Leadership, Marketing, Online business setup, community engagement.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

I started my own catering businesses from Essex at the age of 19 and then expanded to Surrey.

I have worked in Insurance and investment business on a senior level. I am a CeMAP qualified Financial/ Investment Advisor and currently have my own Consultancy business.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

Since 1975 as a child I used to go with my dad to the only departmental store in Ipswich regularly . I have been a co-op member since then through to current day.

I love the fact how co-op is engaged with local community as a business such as source local produce and help small business owners and entrepreneurs sell through co-op stores. It’s pride in buying produce from global farmers and producers where they get a fair price for their goods “Fairtrade”

Co-op has an interest in supporting local charities and schools and has built a strong relationship with its members and customers.

This is my reason for standing for director’s election. I believe in the cooperative vision, business model and its principle value. I can share my business knowledge and passionate to contribute whatever I can to co-op’s continued success.

Other information

Voluntarily I have served as a Chairman for ABC Pre-School for 6 years and worked with elected board directors, committee members and managing staff. I was PTA Chair at St Helens Primary School working with elected members, school heads and parents.

Cyril Liddy

Cyril Liddy

Qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position of Director

I am Cyril Liddy. I am 66 years old and recently retired. I have lived in Wivenhoe for the last forty years with my wife and three children who, although now grown up, still come and go from home.

I have always been involved with my local community. Since retirement I have been able to extend my activities as a director of Colchester Archaeological Trust, Colchester Borough Homes and Colne Radio as well as being a borough councillor representing Wivenhoe.

In my spare time I like to potter in my garden, cook and spend time with friends.

I share the values of the Co-operative movement and feel that these are particularly relevant in uncertain times. I believe in the importance of local stores serving a local community. I think locally sourcing of products is important both to improve our carbon footprint and to support local producers. For those items that come from further afield the Fair Trade policy gives us confidence that we are not buying cheaply at the expense of less well-off farmers and are perhaps helping improve their lives.

I also am keen to see value for money for customers, as well as encouraging recycling and reducing both food waste and surplus packaging.

Through many years working in law and administration, I feel that I have developed skills that could be of use as a director and I would very much like the opportunity of working with the board and contributing to their work.

Thank you.

Other qualities that would be relevant to the Board of Directors

Information not provided.

Current or recent involvement with the Society and/or the wider co‑operative movement

Information not provided.

Other information

Information not provided.

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