Members' council your representatives
I stood for election on a platform of diversity and inclusion and that is exactly what I intend to do as your elected member. I’m from South East Wales but I’m here to represent everyone across Wales of all ages, from all backgrounds. I am currently a student but prior to this I worked as a financial advisor; I intend on bringing these skills to the Members’ Council to hold the board to account and ensure all members are getting what they deserve as owners of our Co-op. I’m a keen Trade Unionist and believe that everyone has a right to be safe at work, I will be standing up for our colleague members and advocating for better pay and conditions for our frontline colleagues. I was first co-opted to council in 2018, before being elected in 2021. Outside of council and studies, I enjoy hiking and volunteering as a local Scout Leader.
John Hughes (Senate)
I represent you on our Members' Council as Chair of the Member Value and Business Performance Committee. A chartered accountant, I have a strong background in reviewing governance in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. I have been a UNISON representative for 30 years working hard for members at local, regional and national levels. I seek to combine the best of co-operative experience with a focused, professional approach.
I have a long family connection with the Co-op. My background is in music (LRAM, B.Mus); I have held various teaching and administrative posts at home and abroad (Malaysia and Papua New Guinea). I currently work self-employed in design and print. My aspirations for the Co-op are that we should provide the very best service to our members and customers, acknowledging the vital importance of all aspects of our values and principles. For relaxation, I play in a brass band and enjoy country walking, theatre and concerts.
Jan Hale (Senate)
I live in Newborough on the beautiful Ynys Môn. My job is as an Agricultural Researcher and I fully endorse our continued support for British produce. My involvement with the co-operative movement began over 30 years ago when I worked, within the food industry, for the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). I was first elected by members in 2015 to the Members' Council.
Zoe Selby (Council Colleague Member)
Having worked for the Co-op for 10 years, I've gone from a customer team member to store manager. I love being a store manager and putting what it means to be a co-operative at the heart of everything I do. That’s one of the reasons I applied for the Members' Council.
The Co-op membership is amazing and I wanted to get more involved in how decisions are made and making sure members understand how important they are! Community engagement is my passion - the more I can help and get involved within the community, the better; I love helping others. In my spare time, I enjoy keeping fit and spending time with my family and my miniature poodle, Bella.
As a recently elected Council Member, I’m new to the Co-op. Although, having shopped with them for over 20 years, I feel that my local Bromley Cross store belongs to me. Of course, as a member, it actually does! That’s what’s so unique about our Co-op and what excites me when I think about the potential for the wider communication of that message. A graduate of Keele University, I have worked in strategic planning and marketing for the Tootal Group, organised a reading charity, been a primary teacher for 12 years and now own and run a healthy vending business for schools and colleges.
I'm very passionate about the Co-op. I previously chaired the board of Venture Housing Association during their recent amalgamation with a Merseyside Registered Provider, and now serve on the board of another Liverpool housing association. I am a Labour & Co-operative Councillor in Liverpool, and served four years as a member of the Co-op Party’s National Executive. I also sit on the board of the trading arm of a Merseyside foodbank and renewable energy co-op.
I've been a Co-op Member for over 16 years and am a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant. I used to work in the Co-op's Internal Audit team, gaining an overview of all the Co-op's business activities, products and services and their commercial impact within the retail sector. I am an active part of the Co-op Credit Union and firmly believe in Co-op values and principles. I'm committed to adding value to the Members’ Council.
Lois McClure (Council Colleague Member)
Assistant Partnerships Manager
I became involved in co-operation after joining the Co-op’s apprenticeship programme in 2012 and have since sought to embody all that our movement stands for and represents. I’m passionate about making our Co-op relevant for the next generation and believe I can bring a fresh perspective to the Council. I’m proud to be a colleague member.
Elsa Parker (Council Colleague Member)
Community and Membership Specialist
My pride in our Co-op stems from our difference: ethics and sustainability, 'One Member, One Vote' and our positive impact in local communities. My 14 years as a colleague have cemented my genuine passion for community as demonstrated in my roles in the Co-op Support Centre and as a Member Pioneer. Co-op values and principles are fundamental to me professionally and personally. I want to help ensure these remain at the heart of business decisions.
As a founding member of the Members’ Council from May 2015, I am excited to be at the centre of the organisation, representing members in the North West. My co-operative experience has been invaluable in further developing my understanding of how things tick and the vital importance of values, principles and other Co-op aims and ambitions. I enjoyed being a Member Pioneer for Lancaster and Morecambe, having led several local forums and co-ordinating charity fundraising events with the support of store managers and colleagues.
Insurance Product Consultant
I am 49 years old and I live with my husband Steve, our two sons, Marcus and Harvey and our dog Jessie. I work for Co-op Insurance as a Product Consultant, making sure our products are right for our members and customers. I enjoy family walks with a nice pub lunch at the end. Like most members of the Co-op, I value the part it plays in local communities.
Quality & Performance Team Leader
I work for the gambling awareness charity GamCare where I manage a team of trainers across Northern Ireland and the north of England. A former teacher, I lived and worked for 10 years in the Middle East. Before joining GamCare I worked for FareShare, where I coordinated a project in Northern Ireland which enabled local schools, community groups and charities to feed vulnerable people. I am passionate about working within local communities to produce coordinated efforts that really make a difference.
Stephen McMahon (Council Colleague Member)
I have been a store manager for the Co-op for 15 years and I currently manage Old Park Road, Belfast. I've been involved in showcasing Northern Ireland throughout my career by promoting our fantastic colleagues and our outstanding community work. I am passionate about our colleagues and passionate about making a difference. I get my drive from helping our communities and engaging local causes and charities. I am a voice for Northern Ireland colleagues in Manchester.
Warehouse Operative at Suma
As a lifelong co-operator, I have 15 years’ experience of co-operative working: namely at the Co-op Group as a store manager and as a local community forum leader, until more recently joining Suma Wholefoods - a worker co-operative in Elland. I have undertaken training in governance, diversity and inclusion and working together and I’m hugely passionate about co-operative working and living our values and principles.
I am passionate about co-operative solutions and I am privileged to be part of the Members' Council. My years of co-operative experience have enabled me to see the strengths within the Co-op and challenges that still need to be resolved. I am especially campaigning for the creation of local forums that involve members, businesses and elected members in effective bodies that successfully enact our values and principles. Working with Co-ops UK has given me insights into best practice and an opportunity to connect the Co-op with the wider movement.
I'm a Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies and a former mental health nurse. Having worked in public service all my life, I wholeheartedly support the community goals and activities that form the basis of the Co-op. At a time when other traditional social institutions and support structures are in decline, the Co-op’s values decrease isolation and strengthen communities.
I’m proud to act as a Council member and aim to do my bit in ensuring that the Co-op’s vital and vibrant history of community endeavour and principled business practices maintains a strong presence in the 21st century.
Lyn Hunter (Council Colleague Member)
I am married with 3 daughters. When I started working for the Co-op, it was part time at my local store to fit in with the girls' school and my husband’s shift work. Fast forward 16 years, the girls have left home and I'm a store manager. I’m passionate about working with other co-op businesses to support our communities and meeting and working with local groups/charities to improve people's lives and environment. As members, I feel you have a say and need to be heard.
Della McDonald (Colleague Council Member)
I’m a store manager at Kirkburton's Co-op. I first started working for the Co-op as a part-time job alongside my university studies. Jump forward five years and here I am today as a store manager with a degree in business management. My experience in retail has developed plenty over the years and I’m hoping to keep on pushing that.
I’m extremely passionate about women in work and supporting young people. I work with the Co-op Young Members' Group to help the Co-op engage with young members and get them involved in shaping a business for the future.
Lesley Reznicek (Vice President and Senate)
Retired HR Manager
My experience encompasses retail management, employee relations and governance. As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, I regularly attend update sessions on HR management.
As your first President on the Members' Council, I used the skills gained in developing the John Lewis governance model to help set up our new governance structure. My aim remains to develop our co-operative difference. To do this, Council needs to build better links with our members, ensure colleagues have greater opportunities to understand our co-operative difference and crucially, we must help create a better balance between our business aspirations and democratic objectives.
Head of Content
A Co-op Party member and former Chair of their National Youth Committee. As Head of Content for an academic publishing company, I go through archives and select content to publish. I have spent the last year volunteering with the Co-op's New Opportunities Advisory Team and sharing my ideas for improving new business ventures with them.
Chair and Director of Mayfields Community Trust. I'm active in 6 local groups and champion ethics and social responsibility issues as part of my role on the Members' Council. I'm also a Labour Party activist and Co-operative Party member.
John Boyle (Senate)
Membership and Party Support Officer
I work for the Co-operative Party in Membership. I am Chair of Revolver Co-operative (a Fairtrade Co-op); a Trustee Board member of the Co-operative College; a Co-operative Trustee Governor of Stafford Manor High School; a Director of Stafford Rangers Supporters Trust, and “President” of Fairtrade Association Birmingham. I aim to help the Co-op business follow the co-operative values and principles. I hope to help the Members' Council hold the Co-op Board to account.
My main message to co-operators in the West Midlands is always feel free to get in touch, which you can do by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been a Member of the European Parliament and a borough councillor and know that democracy works best when there is a dialogue between electors and elected.
My ambition is that the Co-op becomes a major brand on the high street and online. We must be part of every community and seen to be a vibrant contributor to the wider regional economy. We offer an alternative way of doing business and must show that we can be efficient, modern and customer-focused.
Jackie Savage (Council Colleague Member)
I am privileged to represent you. I worked for the Co-op for 15 years, starting as a Customer Team Member in the Hereford store, then moving into the Learning and Development team. I have two wonderful children who I am very proud of. I also work as a Co-op Member Pioneer in Hereford, supporting 36 charities. I believe when people come together, there is nothing stronger. It's what we do.
Business Information Manager
I worked for the Co-op for 19 years, only leaving when our pharmacy business was sold. I was also a pension trustee until 2014. I currently work for the pharmacy group, Well. I use many of the Co-op businesses, such as Food and Insurance. I want the Council to be a real voice for all members, ensuring we truly have a say in the way we do business and the strategies we set to truly prosper.
As a young (ish!) female business owner, I am often frustrated by the lack of diversity on typical boards and am proud to offer a balance and represent a broader section of society. I am passionate about the core ethics of the Co-op and want to help push forward on issues like sustainability and social responsibility, whilst representing South West members.
I am a sheep farmer and became involved with the Co-op to understand about the food chain from farmer to consumer.
During my time with the Co-op, I've learnt of the advantages of co-operatively-run businesses to owner-members and colleagues and met many committed and friendly people. Changing our democratic structure to a national one gives me confidence that we will be able to put members’ views forward more effectively and to help steer the Co-op in the direction of running our businesses profitably and in our principled way.
A member since 1976, I am a customer of Co-op Food, Co-op Insurance, Co-op E-Store, Co-operative Energy, and the Phone Co-op. I also hold a Diploma of Co-operation. My role as a member of our Members’ Council is to represent everyone, including our colleagues, who engage daily with our members.
Community is key to our principles and I am fully involved in Wiltshire - working with Co-op Food, Funeralcare, and supporting Fairtrade. Together, we are contributing to a successful future for the Co-op and our members.
Early Years Practitioner / Finance Manager
I have been involved with co-ops for over 30 years. I have founded co-ops, sat on boards of directors for a number of co-ops, and have been elected to the Members' Council for the Co-op. I see my role on the Council as representing members who elected me and being the voice of the local member at our meetings. I want to push for the Co-op to become a truly inspirational place to shop and work. I report back to members on my activities on my blog, which can be found at email@example.com. Please get in touch.
Carer/ County Councillor
I have a work history in project management, archiving and the environmental movement. I moved to Bristol from Durham in 1974, where I have continued to live with my family. Until recently, I was a Labour & Co-operative Party councillor in Bristol and am currently a Governor at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust.
After graduating in Fine Art, I went on to complete a Masters’ Degree in European Business Administration. I also studied social policy at post-graduate level, specialising in equalities. I describe myself as a feminist, socialist and co-operator; a campaigner for social justice, the environment, human rights, and the Trade Union and European movement. I enjoy travel and languages.
Sandra Mitchell (Council Colleague Member)
Store Colleague and Member Pioneer
I grew up in Gloucestershire in a working class family, before moving to Cornwall 26 years ago. I am married with six children and six grandchildren and hold very strong family values.
I have worked for my local Co-op for almost eleven years, currently running the in-store bakery. I have been an USDAW representative for 18 months and store Community Champion for nearly 12 months. My passion is to help my local community.
I feel passionate about our local communities, particularly about the voice of young people and people who have migrated here from abroad. I am committed to making a difference every day, however small it may be. I want to make sure that your voice matters and that your concerns are addressed.
Retired council worker, former director, stocktaker, and pension fund trustee of Plymouth Co-op. Graduate of the University of Wales and Ruskin College in Oxford. Working member of Hope Credit Union for 15 years. Co-op member since 1974 and very active in the old Plymouth Society. Member of the National Progressive Federation.
I'm a long-term fan of the Co-op, having been raised in a family where the 'divi' was constantly referenced by my mother and grandmother. They saw the value of being loyal to a company which rewarded them and I'm pleased to carry on the tradition. I particularly admire the Co-op for taking an ethical stand, believing in Fairtrade, respecting the environment, and seeking to improve the lives of communities at home and abroad.
My name is Linda Church from Burgess Hill, West Sussex. I am a retired teacher and am particularly interested in the needs of young people in our society. I shop regularly at my local Co-op and I am on the town Residents Forum. I believe that empowering local communities is essential and hope that I will be able to make some contribution to this through my input to the National Members' Council.
Tricia Davies (Senate)
I live in Thatcham, Berks. I shop in my local Co-op almost every day and have done for the last 30 years. I am married and Mum to four sons and have a little granddaughter. I also run a book keeping and accountancy business. I hope to see thriving local member forums and vibrant member activity be the key to the success of the Co-op as a membership organisation. In turn, this will hopefully provide an opportunity for increased trade and recognition for the business.
Steve Fairfax (Council Colleague Member)
I live in Folkestone, Kent. I am currently an LGV driver at our West Thurrock Depot. Previously, I was a store manager for 10 years. I also sit as the chair of a charity trust, which I have held for 10 years and am pleased and proud of the work we do with young people. As a Council Member, it's my role to hold the Board to account and make sure our values and principles are alive in our business.
I am now retired, after spending my career mainly in IT roles, including IT Director at Pizza Hut Restaurants, Head of Business Systems at Virgin Atlantic and McDonald’s restaurants.
I have a BA from the Open University and an MSc from Kingston University. I am currently a member of the Passenger Advisory Group for GATCOM (part-time voluntary role) that takes a leading role in protecting and enhancing the interests of passengers using Gatwick airport. I want to see the Council perform an effective custodian role, holding the Board to account in ensuring our Co-op remains true to its values and principles.
I am privileged to have been involved with the Co-op for many years, always championing co-operative values and principles. I have been a local councillor and am currently involved in the development of Adur Co-operative Local Forum, where I am committed to improving links between the stores and the community to develop member participation.
I want to see a commercially viable Co-op that is valued for its ethical trading and is an organisation that members can be proud of.
Paul A Newman
Having been a Co-op customer and member since my student days, my loyalty has been unwavering. I have experience in public sector management; leadership in community organisations and participation in local community and environmental groups. I am a Co-op Party member based in Winchester.
I am keen to support local member interests in the South East and to get involved in local community activity for the benefit of our region. With a career in the conservation sector, I am particularly interested in our social responsibility and in reducing our impact on the environment. I feel my qualifications and experience enable me to contribute well to the activities of the Members' Council and the Co-op.
I live in Brighton and work at a local sixth form college. I have been actively involved with the Co-op over a number of years. I am also a director of a local, not-for profit community development trust, as well as serving as a staff governor at my college. As a Council Member, I believe application of our co-operative values and principles can deliver a financially successful commercial organisation, which is ethical and sustainable – both as a business and as a co-operative.
Debbie Williams (Council Colleague Member and Senate)
Hi, I'm Debbie. I'm from Chandlers Ford in Hampshire and I love our community. I've been a Guide Leader for 5 years. It's amazing watching girls grow in confidence as they tackle activities they thought they couldn't achieve. I chair the executive committee for my son's Scouts group and am chair of governors at our local school.
I believe that we can make a difference, big or small, in our communities and enjoy doing this, too, on behalf of the Co-op. I have worked as a store manager for 20 years now and feel that the Co-op's values align closely with my own. I want to help the Co-op do great things in their communities and am really happy to be serving on the Members' Council.
I have been on our Members' Council since its inception, with our committees challenging the Board on all of the issues that affect the running of the business. For members, two of the key concerns are price competitiveness and having local accessibility to a nearby shop or trading outlet. As a Council Member, addressing these issues is something that I continue to promote.
I’m educated to post-graduate level and have significant management experience, as well as a Diploma in Co-operation. I am dedicated to co-operative values and principles and enthusiastically support membership activities. I bring an in-depth business knowledge, proven financial acumen, strategic insight, an informed social perspective, respect for governance, an ability to influence and inform decisions and a desire to serve the wider membership. I would like to see the Council perform an effective custodian role, holding the Board to account in areas such as business performance, strategy direction, social responsibility and ethical trading.
Gemma Robinson (Council Colleague Member)
Customer Team Member
I have a true love for the Co-op way and its ethics and I get involved however I can. I work for Co-op Food as a team member and am also a Member Pioneer for the Easlington area. I love supporting local causes and communities and am keen to apply this energy and passion to my role as a Council Member.
I stood because I am concerned that the recovery of the Co-op must continue and that members have real power in the newly evolving local structures of our organisation. I am currently a Member Pioneer, working in Norfolk and setting up a local community forum to promote the Co-op through charitable activity and meaningful member involvement. I have previously worked across the East of England in promoting social businesses, including: community shops in Essex, community transport services in Essex and Cambridgeshire, and developing further education in students' unions throughout the region.
Fundraising and Communications Manager
I love life, I love my family and I love organisations that help others. Thanks to the Co-op, I have become more aware of Fairtrade, sustainable farming and quality produce. Co-op has been my favourite retailer for years as it ticks all the boxes I feel are important. As a Council Member, I feel I offer a wide range of skills and experience.
I’ve been involved in Co-op's since I was 16, currently I am a Director of Co-op's UK and the Press. Until having to step down under the Societies '12-year' rule, I was a Director of East of England Co-op. Locally, I am a Director of Harwich connexions transport co-operative which apart from local transport provides a nursery and business start-up units, amongst other things. My priorities: to increase real member participation and to recruit the next generation of co-operators.
Juliet Mulholland (Council Colleague Member)
I'm a team manager for Co-op and pride myself on doing the job with integrity and loyalty to the Co-op's purpose, values and principles. I attribute my accomplishments to being an organised and proactive people-person, engaging with colleagues and the community. I've also been a Member Pioneer. I'm passionate about sharing success and not afraid to challenge with tough questions. Moreover, I'm objective and approachable and want to champion all members.
Louise Walker (Senate)
Partnership Support Officer
I represent the Members' Council on the Senate. My employment background is as a primary school teacher and a founder of a small business. I also worked in the voluntary sector, co-ordinated a project promoting credit unions and currently work in local government. The Members' Council needs to represent the interests of members and hard-working colleagues, as we are the eyes and ears of the business. Working together, we can ensure the Co-op's renewal and future success.
Dan Crowe (Senate)
I have been a co-operator since Woodcraft Folk. I trade regularly with the Co-op across our businesses and work to promote our values and principles in my personal and professional life. With a background in policy, research, communications and project management I am trying to use my skills and experience to promote greater opportunities for member involvement in the Co-op. I am particularly keen for the Council to champion innovative and accessible member education and training that promotes the Co-op difference and to support local co-operative, self-help and mutual aid initiatives in the communities where we trade.
Local Government Officer
I am passionate about our Co-op because I know our values have never been more relevant. We are championing Fairtrade, cutting plastic and food waste and working to reduce violence and abuse against retail workers because of our co-operative values. These are my values. I'm contributing to our Co-op by bringing my experience, including as the former Head of the Co-op Party, and my passion to representing you on the Members' Council.
My career was devoted to public service, in local government and the NHS. Environmental concerns encouraged me to study Environmental Management and establish the Global Commons Trust. I’m motivated by my desire to tread lightly on the planet, improve organisational and business practices and help the Co-op show leadership in investment decisions that have social and/or environmental impacts.
To fulfil my love of art, I work at the William Morris Gallery and create contemporary textiles.
Denise Scott-McDonald (President and Senate)
Currently, I am a councillor in South East London. I am also the cabinet member for Air Quality, Transport and Public Realm for the Royal Borough of Greenwich. A role that involves working on large-scale transport-related and public realm improvement projects at the borough-wide level. At the strategic level, I am working to make Greenwich Council a co-operative council. I also sit on a number of London-wide and national bodies, including London councils and the Local Government Associations’ Wellbeing Board.
In my community, I have been a school governor for an ‘outstanding’ primary school, which has won awards for good governance. I have been the branch secretary for the Greenwich & Blackheath United Nations Association UK, which campaigns for international issues. I have also been a trustee of the Westcombe Woodlands, a group which is helping to restore an ancient woodland area near Greenwich Park. I am a director for the Greenwich Millennium Village, a mixed-tenure development which currently has over 1095 homes, which will increase to 1800 homes. I am also a director of Greenwich Peninsula Company, a scheme to bring 15,000 homes to the North Greenwich area. Both positions involves regular scrutiny of the company data.
Finally, I am also a part-time lecturer at a London University, where I teach courses on journalism and humanities. Prior to this, I was a journalist in New York and London.
I grew up in the North East where the Co-op was my local shop. I have lived in London for the last 27 years and the Co-op is still my local shop. The Co-op provides an invaluable support to the local community.
I am a teacher of blind and visually impaired children. Prior to teaching I worked as a cleaner in a hospital, as a secretary in the House of Commons and in office management.
A strong believer in the importance of community.
Protecting the environment, inclusion and accessibility for all and engagement with local communities are key issues for me.
I greatly value the opportunity to help shape the Co-op’s growth so that it continues to mean as much to others as it has to me and my family, while remaining true to its Mission.
My name is Arabella Weir and I am an actor and a writer. I have been involved in many community projects in North London where I grew up and remained as an adult and single parent bringing up two, now adult, children. I formed the PTA at both their primary and secondary schools and was very involved in involving local businesses help raise standards and opportunities for all within the school and local community. I am a passionate (not to say zealous!) believer in the power of community engagement, at all levels, to change and improve our own areas. I am the chair of our local park’s ‘friends’ group and a trustee of a local community garden - both have benefited directly from engagement with the two local Co-op shops. It was these experiences that first awakened me to the very positive and proactive engagement of the Co-op as a business and the potential to have a greater impact. I am very keen to help shape policies and practices that increase the Co-op’s involvement with their local communities and firmly believe this is the ideal model and way forward. I’m really looking forward to working with a wide and diverse group of other Council members.