Three Year Term
Expires in 2021
Contact Brienne at [email protected]
Employment: I worked for a decade in journalism (most notably with one of the first online magazines in the country, Stratfor.com) and another decade as a chronic disease epidemiologist. For the last five years, I have been the Program Director for the Whitewater Community Foundation, which gives out grants and scholarships to area residents and nonprofits. I work to create stronger nonprofits and help others write successful grant proposals. I’ve also been a certified yoga teacher for 20 years and currently teach at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in their Health Education department.
Volunteer: Founding member of the Whitewater Makerspace, Board member for Downtown Whitewater Main Street nonprofit, Registration chair for the Fort Atkinson Regional Science Fair, former Alderwoman on the Whitewater City Council, Board member for the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Board member of the Whitewater Irvin L. Young Memorial Library, member of the League of Women Voters, President of the Historic Starin Park Neighborhood Association board, and soccer coach.
Experience, education, and skills that contribute to effectiveness as a board member? I have extensive experience researching various subjects (from geopolitics to science and economics) and communicating my research in a way that empowers others to make well-informed decisions. I have extensive experience applying for and receiving grant monies from the Federal Government and private foundations. I enjoy writing about and talking to people about the things that I have researched. I love to learn new skills, from new programming platforms, coding, web site building, economic development, to social media, etc.
Past experiences you had with food co-ops? I come from Austin, Texas, the home of Whole Foods and numerous co-ops and small ethnic grocers. I remain a member of Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, Texas. I lived briefly in Harrisonburg, Virginia and became an early co-op owner of Friendly City Co-op. I am a member of Willy Street Co-op in Madison, WI and Basics Co-op in Janesville, WI. I have always been an owner, voter, and consumer at co-ops. This is my first experience as a core organizer.
Favorite Food: My parents were military, and I spent some formative years of my life growing up in Teheran, Iran. My comfort food is khoresh bademjan (also called khoresht e bademjan). It's a tangy eggplant, tomato stew - with or without meat - that I cook with lamb, and serve on yellow rice flavored with turmeric or saffron. On a more daily basis, having grown up in Texas, I can never get enough TexMex.
Three Favorite Songs: Impossible to shave my song list down to three, but I will predictably sing at the top of my lungs if I heard: These Boots Are Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra, Sabotage by Beastie Boys, and Bron-Y-Aur Stomp by Led Zeppelin.
Inspirational Co-Op: I love the Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, Texas. It started out in 1976 as a bunch of Willie Nelson style hippies who became employees and didn't take a paycheck for months. It was the only place my mom could find goat milk or rabbit once we moved back from Iran. Now, they are a full service grocery with more than one location, and they still have the amazing customer service, focus on local artists, farmers and food makers, but with enough of an international bent that I can find obscure spices.