Candidate statements

In this section

Please read these statements carefully before casting your vote.

Candidates

Belinda Bell

Belinda Bell

I am excited to be standing for election! I’m a very regular customer at my local shop in Bury St Edmunds and I believe my professional skills and experience can help the organisation to continue to thrive.

My relevant experience is in starting and growing several businesses including one working with older people, one with young people using digital technology and one finance organisation of which I was Chief Executive. I am familiar with reviewing, setting and managing large budgets, I understand business planning and organisational management. All the businesses I have been involved with are ethical with a social purpose at their core, but financial sustainability is an essential priority.

Across my career I have had experience of working with, advising, and providing finance to a very wide range of business sectors and so I am well placed to understand the East of England Co-op’s different businesses. I also understand and support the specific ethos of businesses like this that have a strong social mission. I am now employed at the business school at Cambridge University where I support and teach socially motivated entrepreneurs from all over the world.

I have significant experience as a non-executive director of democratic organisations. Currently I am Chair of the board of a mutual organisation which provides psychological services to young people and am also a non-executive director of two other social businesses in Suffolk.

This role is a significant commitment and I'm confident that I have sufficient time.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Unable to attend a candidate briefing session.

Nigel Bell

Nigel Bell

East Anglia has been my home for over thirty years and I’ve been a member of the East of England Co-operative for most of that time. It’s where I do the majority of my shopping and, although I haven’t worked for the society before, I’m standing for election because I want to play a part in its present and its future.

By profession, I’m an engineer and I’ve spent most of my working life designing and building computer systems. I’ve also lead teams, managed projects and worked as a part-time lecturer for the Open University. I’m self-employed now, but previously I worked for a large multinational company and before that I ran a small IT consultancy.

I have an eye for detail but, most of all, I am pragmatic, fair-minded and believe that actions speak louder than words. I am conscientious and, if I am lucky enough to be elected, I will take my responsibilities seriously and give the role the care and attention that it deserves.

I want the East of England Co-op to grow and to prosper for the benefit of all its members. The society must evolve to keep pace with an ever-changing world but, in doing so, it must also remain true to its core values, whilst continuing to serve the community and pioneering ways to help the environment. Most importantly, I want the society to provide exceptional service to its customers and to be a great place to work.

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.

Samantha Brook

Samantha Brook

I live in Ipswich. I moved here nearly seven years ago and I quickly fell in love with the Suffolk countryside and coast. I live with my partner and two cats in the IP4 postcode. I am a member and regular customer of the East of England Cooperative Society; in fact I do most of my grocery shopping here.

I am a marketing consultant and I own three businesses: Suffolk Social Media, Local Values and The Happiness Club. I present a radio show – ‘The Happiness Show’, on Ipswich Community Radio. I have a degree in Business Administration and I have experience in a number of disciplines including retail, accountancy, sales, marketing, recruitment and office management.

I have high levels of integrity and honesty and I believe these are the most important qualities in business. I am likeable and easy to get along with.

I am passionate about the importance of shopping locally and this is something I promote through my Local Values business. I have been interviewed twice on Radio Suffolk about the importance of shopping locally. I love the East of England Coop ‘sourced locally’ initiative and I’m keen to get involved with that.

I’d love the opportunity to be a board member for East of England Coop. If you think I am a good candidate I’d be grateful for your vote. Many thanks in advance.

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.

Belinda Bulsing

Belinda Bulsing

I am aged 57, married and have two children. I qualified as a Solicitor in 1995, but am not practising at the moment. Between 2011 and 2014 I worked for a small, profitable, rural Suffolk wholesale business helping the Finance Director and running the office while the owners were away. Since 2014 I have been a director of the East of England Co-op.

I have been Chair of the Membership and Community Engagement Committee for a year and worked on the Performance Review, Ways of Working and Rules Committees to strengthen governance and the Society's business. Throughout the directorship I have attended events in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, meeting members and listening to their opinions. When the Post Office in Debenham was due to close, I asked our team to consider taking it on as a business. We did! This preserved a local service of value to the residents of Debenham and surrounding villages.

Before 1995 I was engaged in recruitment, setting up a unit for a firm of accountants. I was head-hunted to the management consultancy and worked on customer satisfaction surveys. After

qualifying in law, I practiced in civil litigation and family law. Since 2011 I have been a Parish Councillor.

I shop at the Co-op at Debenham and have used Co-op travel services since 2011. I support maintaining and extending the use of local suppliers, improving the quality and content of food and drink, the environment, achieving the best outcome for Co-op members.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience: Director of the Society since May 2014

Board Appointments: Meetings attended in the last Society Year:

Board meetings: 11 out of 13

Performance review Committee: 4 out of 4

Membership and Community Committee: 2 out of 2

Ways of Working Group: 6 out of 6

Formal professional development in last Society Year:

  •                 3 training workshops
  •                 2017 Co-operative Retail Conference
  •                 2017 Co-operative Congress
  •                 2018 Co-operative Retail Conference

 

Terry Byford

Terry Byford

I live in a village in the heart of Suffolk, and my family and I rely on our local co-op for both essentials and occasional treats.

I worked as a Police Officer for over thirty years, leaving a couple of years ago to spend more time with my family. With my youngest child leaving for University this year, I have the time to commit to a new challenge, and believe the skills and experience gained as a manager during my police career would help me be an asset to the board of directors.

The reason for wanting to work with the Co-op, is that I admire their commitment to communities. My store supports a local food bank, and I appreciate the opportunity provided for customers to help this cause with donations if they wish. In East Anglia we are lucky to have strong communities, and the local sourcing initiatives help our rural businesses to thrive.The strength of the Co-op is that it is owned by it's members, and its business aims are not driven solely by profit, but reflect the members' values, such as quality and high standards.

The Society has strong ethical values right across its variety of businesses, and I would like to see these principles continue to develop, and include initiatives such as reduction in single use packaging.

I would ask that you use one of your votes to vote for me, so that I can help this great Society become even better.

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

Mike Caplin

Mike Caplin

The most important members of the Society have a special name and I'm pleased to be one of them. That name is customer and it is my belief that customer members have both the privilege and opportunity to influence the Society for good in terms of attitude, compliance, governance, image, product ranges, ideas for new market areas and community and social involvements. If I am fortunate enough to secure election I shall endeavour to act as a conduit for customers ideas and comments and also as an agent for dissemination of information from the governing bodies of the Society.

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.

Sally Chicken

Sally Chicken

In my 8 years on this Board , I’ve used my professional management skills to help our strategies evolve and supported our Leadership Team in many changes to serve our members better.

I‘m a strong advocate of our Sourced Locally strategy to support the local economy and provide high quality foods that our members want to buy. My priority has been to make our values commercially successful. I have encouraged new stores, refurbishments and new products. We have niche provision like Security and it’s great to see it flourishing as we start marketing it to other businesses and domestic users.

Committing to a sensible budget and living within it means we’ve been able to maintain our dividend where other societies have had to reduce or cease paying a dividend. At the same time, I have supported investing in new areas to ensure we keep innovating.

I have represented our co-op nationally at conferences and training events. My voluntary work to promote credit unions has continued for nearly 20 years. I helped launch the Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society to buy Shotley Pier for the community in 2018.

I’ve talked to many groups to encourage them to develop co-ops, such as Students for Co-operation. I like helping others understand the co-operative difference.

Talking to members at events, it’s clear there is tremendous pride in our co-op, let’s keep it that way. I hope you will support me to continue.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience: Director of the Society from May 2009 – May 2017

Board Appointments: Meetings attended in last complete year of service:

Board meetings: 12 out of 13

Remuneration and search Committee: 7 out of 7

Ways of Working Group: 3 out of 3

Formal professional development in last year of service:

  •                 2 training workshops
  •                 2016 Co-operative Retail Conference
  •                 2016 Co-operative Congress
  •                 2017 Co-operative Retail Conference
  • President of the Society May 2014 – May 2017

Candida Cook

Candida Cook

Working as a self-employed designer in the arts has given me the opportunity to be involved in many different projects, with both national companies and individual clients. A career in theatre design was followed by a change of direction to Landscape Design: starting out at the ROH working on large-scale productions, to a more recent collaboration with a London Borough to create a community garden. 

Some of the skills and experience I have to offer in a role on the Board of Directors are the ability to work on practical matters to a budget and schedule, combined with a creative approach and overview.

Having grown up within a small family business in East Anglia, I know the value of both support for local business and commercial enterprise giving back to the community. The East of England Co-operative Society has an innovative programme of community engagement which I hope will continue to expand, together with further development of training opportunities.

On a personal level, I am passionate about landscape and environment, and love sourcing and cooking fresh seasonal produce. I am a member of The Soil Association and interested in modern food production, together with dilemmas such as waste management, and sourcing products locally versus supporting fair trade initiatives. I would like to see a greater range of organic products made available, and continued encouragement of small-scale farming. 

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session with the Secretary on 7th March.

Jovan Djordjevic

Jovan Djordjevic

My name is Jovan Djordjevic and I am a freelance / jobbing editorial illustrator and artist.  I moved to Wivenhoe from East London in 2006 and have been a member of the Co-op there since then. I  support my local Co-op actively and shop there regularly.

Originally I’m from Rochdale, Lancashire, where the ‘Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers’ was founded in 1844 and formed the basis of the modern-day Co-operative movement. As a result I feel familiar and comfortable with the ethos and principles of the Co-operative movement which I fully endorse. I still remember shopping with my mother at the local Co-op, two streets away on Milkstone Road, and being given the privilege of sticking the dividend stamps on to the collection card.

As a layman who is principled and believes in equity, self-help, self-responsiblity, equality and democracy; in other words, the values which underpin and guide the Co-operative system.

As an aspiring director, I would ensure that the Co-op retains its values.  It has a significant role to play in supporting local producers, encouraging them to offer their goods for sale within the area. I can offer - whatever you require of me given my experience, skill sets and enthusiasm.  

As for the future, we have to ensure that principles come before profits and that members of the Co-op are assured that socially fair, equitable economic benefits and remuneration will continue to be the bedrock for the movement.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Unable to attend a candidate briefing session.

Teresa Dukes

Teresa Dukes

I arrived in Ipswich from North Carolina in 1987 in the middle of the Great Storm. Despite the windy welcome, it didn’t take us long to settle in and friends said, “Join the Co-op.”  We did, and I thought, “Milk delivered right to my door - what a brilliant idea!” We didn’t have that luxury back home.

I’m a great supporter of the locally sourced products. They take me back to my childhood when my grandparents introduced me and my sisters to growing and rearing everything we ate.  We helped on the small farm where they kept dairy cows, pigs and chickens. I love knowing that so much food from the East of England Co-op comes from a farmer or supplier in our area. During the recent bad weather, local producers stepped in and kept shelves stocked. Supporting the people who earn their living where they live makes us a true community: it’s important for our economy, too.

I served on the Board of Directors for Toastmasters International, which has 335,000 members worldwide, from 2015-2017. We were responsible for vision, strategic planning and governance policy, and for ensuring the organisation evolved to meet the needs of our members.

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.

Help me support you. Place your vote for Teresa Dukes - working for you now and in the future.

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.

Susan Hall

Susan Hall

I relocated to Suffolk from London with a corporate/project background and experience of volunteering: Trustee with Southwark Home Care, Main Board Director of Better Bankside (local BID) and Chair of the Better Bankside Business Club.

I started my business in 2010 providing work for local people doing other people’s housework. To support other women running their own businesses, to help me get to know the local business community and raise money for local charities, that same year I started a branch of Women in Rural Enterprise, which survives me today.

I joined the Co-op as their values resonated with me and I started to get more involved locally. I volunteer at Anglia Care Trust, firstly as an Appropriate Adult for minors/mental health sufferers, latterly supporting children in foster care. I was Chair of Suffolk Crimestoppers 2014-2017. I regularly assist local schools when they want local businesses to engage with students, with mock interviews, CV reviews and networking. I am a Fellow at Suffolk New College and currently Vice-Chair/Director of Suffolk Coast Business, an umbrella organisation for local business associations.

Whether business, charity and/or voluntary work, I believe I make a difference. Whilst, not an expert in any field, I have an extremely broad knowledge and experience in a variety of roles and industries to draw on.

I would relish the opportunity to sit on the board of the Co-op, to be part of their vision for the future for the East of England and contribute accordingly.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session on Tuesday, 6th February

Brian Hogarth-Jones

Brian Hogarth-Jones

I was born in Shotley, Suffolk, but have lived for the last 25 years in Coggeshall, Essex. My house was directly opposite the Co-op so my children, 5 years old and 2 years old at the time we moved in, can truly say they grew up with the Society on their doorstep!

I am a lawyer by profession. After graduating from Pembroke College, Cambridge, where I met my wife, I practised as a Barrister before working in the City of London and serving in senior management positions with an American bank (Citibank) and Barclays. I then moved closer to home to work with Colchester solicitors Birkett Long for 10 years, in their Wills Trust and Probate Department.

That experience would be particularly useful in an important, but sensitive and under-appreciated part of the Society’s services to its members – its funeral business. A bereavement is one of those stressful situations where its members need the Society most.

I have served as a Company Director and on the Board of Governors of St Mary’s School, Colchester, as well as Coggeshall’s Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. I also run my own legal practice, so I understand well how to run a business for profit, but also organisations which are an important part of the local community.

For the future I would like the Society to keep its business simple, focus on what it does best and deliver the best possible value to its members.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session on Tuesday, 6th February

Cyril Liddy

Cyril Liddy

My background is in law and administration, but I am at my happiest when meeting people in Colchester, Clacton and my home village of Wivenhoe where I have lived for the past 40 years.

I live near the Wivenhoe Store which is not just a supermarket but a place where friends and neighbours meet, local events are advertised and food bank donations collected.

I support the Co-op’s policy of having local stores where the staff are friendly and well respected and where many youngsters, including two of my own children have had their first part times jobs.

I was a parish councillor for 16 years (including a year as Mayor). I have been a Labour & Co-operative Councillor on Colchester Borough Council since 2012 and deputy chair of the Planning Committee. I retired last summer and spend my additional time as a volunteer director of Colchester Borough Homes, Colchester Archaeological Trust and Colne Radio.

I am always open to people’s views and do my best to put them into effect – such as facilitating a skate park in Wivenhoe or supporting voluntary causes.

I am a team player and if elected will support and work hard to improve the flagship policies of locally sourcing goods, supporting local good causes and community action. I also support the Co-op’s adoption of the Fair Tax policy.

We face an unpredictable future. Co-operative values of caring and sharing have never been so important for us or our children.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session on 4th February 2017.

Frank Moxon

Frank Moxon

Born in Essex, I have regularly shopped at Co-op stores in East Anglia since returning here over 17 years ago, latterly in Diss and now Elmswell.

I have over 28 years’ experience as a financial, strategic, regulatory and corporate governance adviser to companies, from start-ups to over £3 billion in size, in many industry sectors including retail, wholesale and property. I am or have been, during the last 20 years, a director, trustee or governor of private and quoted companies up to £1.2 billion in size, a professional body, charities up to £30 million by annual turnover and an Essex comprehensive school. I have also chaired a Suffolk fundraising branch of a charity. I am an experienced member of audit, remuneration, risk, nomination and other Board committees.

A good communicator, I am an active and collaborative Board-level contributor with the ability to challenge constructively, assist with the successful development and monitoring of strategies, find solutions and deliver results.

Austerity’s impact on household budgets, pre-Brexit uncertainty, post-Brexit economic adjustments and the rapid growth of discount supermarket chains will all challenge the Co-op’s business. However, continued success lies in its industry-leading initiatives such as locally sourced produce and selling goods past their “Best Before” date together with its ethical stance and community and member engagement.

I hope you can support me so that I may serve you by playing an active role in ensuring that the East of England Co-op continues to thrive.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience:  No previous service.

Candidate briefing: Attended a candidate briefing session on Tuesday, 6th February.

Steve Pennington

Steve Pennington

Steve Pennington joined the British Army in 1988 and served for over 25 years in the Royal Logistic Corps serving most notably in Gibraltar, Cyprus and Germany as well as many locations in the UK. Operationally he was deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and the wider Middle East.

The majority of his service period was spent in Logistic and Instructional roles. Notable projects included bringing about the Logistical normalisation of military processes in Northern Ireland following the end of 40 years of operational activity in 2007 and the implementation of the sale of Harrier and Nimrod aircraft spares to the United States Marine Corps in 2011. The latter project he ran while concurrently attempting to ratify some significant audit failings at a storage depot in Germany following some unwanted tabloid headlines!

Following retirement from the military he set up and ran a successful Carpet and Upholstery cleaning company which, after four years, he has now decided to scale back and look for opportunities that are a little more intellectually stimulating.

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.

Beverley Perkins

Beverley Perkins

Thank you for placing your trust in me since 2013. I now ask that you re-elect me so that I can continue to serve our Coop and you, the Members.

Involvement in the Society

I am Vice-President of the Coop National Members Council (representing EoE Coop) and I am a member of the Remuneration and Search Committee. I contribute to strategy and governance and reviewed our Ways of Working. I attended Community, Member, Colleague and Supplier events, the International Cooperative Alliance Conference, UK Coop Congress and Retail Conference.

I am immensely proud of our awards, campaigns and colleagues and the difference they make to our Members and communities throughout the region.

Qualifications and experience

My voluntary experience spans 25 years as a volunteer at a homeless shelter, NHS First Responder and on local committees. I organise the Mersea Island Food, Drink and Leisure Festival on a not for profit basis raising over £80,000 for local groups in the last nine years.

I have postgraduate qualifications in both Management and Environment and worked for over 20 years in management roles culminating in a Board position. I am a Director of Coop Press.

Personal Qualities

I offer experience, energy and enthusiasm to listen to Members and speak up for their needs and interests. To stand up for what is important in our lives - home, friends, family and community.

Aspirations for the East of England Co-operative Society

To ensure the Society continues to be open and accountable, fair and just in its dealings with Members, Suppliers and Colleagues. For our Society and community to grow and prosper.

The following additional information has been provided by the Secretary:

Society Board experience: Director of the Society since May 2013

Board Appointments: Meetings attended in the last Society Year:

Board meetings: 13 out of 13

Remuneration and search Committee: 5 out of 5

Membership and Community Committee: 2 out of 2

Ways of Working Group: 4 out of 6

Formal professional development in last Society Year:

  •                 3 training workshops
  •                 2017 Co-operative Retail Conference
  •                 2017 Co-operative Congress
  •                 2018 Co-operative Retail Conference

Karla Powell

Karla Powell

What is your current involvement in the Society?

I have been a member and supporter of the Co-op for 25 years and was proud to be told I am one of the Society’s best shoppers!

What qualifications and /or experience do you possess that are relevant to the position of Director?

 As a school governor, I shared the responsibility for ensuring decisions were in the best interest of the pupils. Similarly, as a parish councillor I gained experience in strategic planning as well as the many practicalities.

What other qualities would you bring to the Board of Directors?

As a teacher in a special school and several primary schools, I am aware of the differing life experiences, opportunities, and economic constraints that there can be within a community. I hope I can use this experience to help ensure that diversity in all its forms is considered, so that those employed or using the co-op reflect their communities. 

What aspirations do you have for the East of England Co-operative Society?

Like many, I am concerned about the environment. The Co-op has lead the way reducing food miles with its ‘sourced locally’ products, only using electricity from renewable sources and all carrier bags being multiple-use or compostable.

  • The challenge now is to reduce packaging that cannot be easily recycled and the Co-op’s ambitious target is to make 80% of packaging recyclable by 2020. I’m very keen to ensure this target is met.
  • Women employees average hourly rate is 20% lower than the men’s and progress must continue to be made to bridge this gender pay gap.
  • The Co-op ethos is second to none. The challenge is to maintain these aspirational values and continue to lead the way in making the right decisions in a complex and fast moving world.

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.

 

Harry Shearing

Harry Shearing

I shop in the Co-op weekly and am delighted to see that local produce is prominent.

I am delighted that the Co-op continues with its fair trade policies.

It is inspiring to note that the Co-op continues to help, secure and develop its staff even through these difficult times where other major retailers seem to have failed, and on top of that helping the community at large.

I was a London taxi driver and proprietor for 30 years, and have been involved in gardening and landscaping most of my life and have set up and run two businesses in the past.

I was elected to my local council in 1999 and served for sixteen years - eight of which as a cabinet member. My department and I were responsible for the blue print of the thirty three million pound sea defence scheme which has recently been completed.

I was also the lead on a three million pound town centre improvement which has been highly successful leading to millions of new investment in our area.

I believe that my experience in business and management and people skills in local council put me in a position to be of help to the Co-op.

I think that the Co-operative Society plays a vital part in the community and I am desperate to see it continue hopefully going from strength to strength, and I'm passionate that it should become even more successful whilst continuing to keep its core values.

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.