Meet the 2019 Candidates

It’s election season! Voting is the single most influential thing you can do as a KCFC member-owner because the Board of Directors are the stewards who govern this business that you own. Member-owners will be sent an e-mail ballot through Helios. If you don’t receive your ballot, make sure to check old email accounts and your spam folder. If you still haven’t received it, e-mail info@kcfc.coop to request another ballot.

This year, we have four candidates running for the KCFC Board of Directors. Each of the candidates is elected for a term of three years. In voting, you should evaluate the skills, past experience, and perspectives that each candidate offers KCFC. Get to know the candidates running for your Board below.


Michelle Pauls

1. Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions.
Hello! My husband and I were pioneers on Frankford Avenue back when Rocket Cat was the only business around. We opened our non-profit theatre, Walking Fish in September 2009. We ran seven successful seasons of performance: comedy, original dramas, family theatre, educational outreach and more. We reached over 10,000 people in all of our live performance programming. The outreach programs included The Family Theatre Series, an interactive, literature-based performance series for children 2-7, and Of Mythic Proportions, where high school transformed their own stories into theatre, which they performed for other students and the community as well. This program won the Barrymore Award for Educational Excellence and Community Service in 2010. Currently, I am on faculty at Penn State Abington where I teach theatre. I recently won the Faculty Award for Special Recognition in recognition of my significant accomplishments in furthering the life of the college. A vibrant arts scene is vital to a thriving, healthy community.

2. Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable).
My husband and I were among the very first community members to show our support for the co-op by joining almost 10 years ago. I believe in the co-op. It should be one of the most important parts of our community. It has the potential to be the place where people gather to share news, make plans, share ideas and make things happen. Other co-ops I have visited seemed to provide a community focal point where members could not only buy healthy, locally-sourced food, but have a sense of belonging. We all want to feel we belong somewhere important. Being a member at KCFC is an important part of helping to create a healthy, sustainable community and environment. I have volunteered several times for KCFC, during past Trenton Ave Arts Fests, and in cleaning out the new space.

3. Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?
I would be a valuable addition to the KCFC Board because I have extensive experience working with a non-profit board, and I understand how the staff and board need to work together toward success. For over 10 years, I was both a founding member and a board member of an arts organization (B. Someday Productions). I was responsible for helping to educate and train board members by bringing in professionals from the Arts and Business Council and LaSalle Nonprofit Center to board meetings and retreats. I have also taken part in individual training for grant writing, governance and marketing. In addition, I was elected to the board of the now-defunct Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia where I saw first-hand how a non-profit can dissolve without proper and diligent governance. I would like to bring my experience and energy back to my community by working for the KCFC board of directors.


Oren Eisenberg

1. Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions.
A marketing strategist by trade, I have built my career around strengths in problem solving, communication, and business planning. I excel at helping organizations translate high-level visions into practical, tactical terms. Having played a key role in growing of the Co-op from idea to reality, I look forward to now applying my strong business acumen and marketing expertise to help KCFC flourish long-term.

2. Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable).
I am an incumbent Board member, who was first elected in 2016. I first started volunteering in 2014, and I have spent countless hours writing, meeting, and talking to members of the community about the food Co-op coming to the neighborhood and why they should join. I’ve poured beers at our summer beer garden pop-up, called member-owners asking for loans… I’ve done just about everything under the sun for KCFC. Until very recently, I was the Marketing Lead for our volunteer-led Membership & Marketing Committee. If you’ve seen a social post, read an email, or picked up a KCFC postcard there’s a 99% chance I touched it in some way. Now that the store is opened, day-to-day marketing has transitioned to staff, and I look forward to re-focusing my attention towards executive leadership through the Board.

3. Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?
KCFC is a deeply entrenched part of who I am, and how I’ve connected to the Riverwards community. Walking in to the store on opening day was incredibly moving. In fact, I began openly weeping out of joy and excitement that our collection vision had finally come to life… and I’m starting to get a little teary as I write this just thinking back to that moment! I believe in the Co-op as offering a one-of-a-kind food experience and its potential power for fueling connection in our community BUILT BY US. I’m a big believer in the power of KCFC as something we all did together… and it’s now our duty to sustain! Being on the Board, I hope to continue overseeing the health and growth of our business to ensure the Co-op can deliver on that vision for years to come.


Rachael Kerns-Wetherington

1. Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions.
Clinical psychologist, professor, mom, and community leader with a history of board service – I am currently on one other. Very active in our neighborhood (community gardens, Town Watch, Friends of HA Brown, and block cleanups), but am most proud of being Block Captain and modeling community building for my daughter. My family lives a few blocks from the co-op and you can find us in the café most evenings so come say hi!

2. Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable).
I moved to East Kensington in 2011 and became a member-owner soon after. Previously, I served on our board as vice-president. I helped run our Marketplace and was involved in hiring our current GM and previous employees.

3. Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?
We have worked so hard to open the store and I want to bring my skills and experience to the table to help make sure it succeeds. I have experience with board trainings, co-op consulting feedback, our system implementation, and I have a great working knowledge of the cooperative model. I am looking forward to a governance board in this next chapter of the co-op while we build a sustainable business by the community, for the community.


Matt Ruth

1. Tell us about yourself and your personal/professional background, including relevant experience, leadership positions and passions.
I currently work in healthcare management with the understanding that a variety of social determinants affect health, including food instability, which feed my passion for reducing barriers and broadening access. With recently moving back to the city for a new role, I’m looking forward to continuing to be involved with KCFC from having served on the board in 2016/2017. I think the majority of my leadership experience was learned while working towards my Eagle Scout a decade ago. BA: Economics, MPA: Public Administration, GC: Marketing Management, and I am currently working on my Master’s in Management at Harvard University’s Extension School.

2. Describe your involvement with KCFC, including how long you have been a member-owner and any ways you have volunteered (if applicable).
I joined the co-op in 2016 right before the board hired Mike as the GM, and it’s been an incredible timeline since. I was appointed to the board for 16/17, but moved to the Souderton, PA area for a new job afterwards. Since returning earlier this year I’ve been active, having attended every board meeting since. I’m excited that the store is finally open, and look forward to supporting from a strategic perspective going forward.

3. Why should you be elected to the KCFC Board of Directors? What unique skills or insights do you bring?
I’m most interested in supporting the board from a sales/marketing and financial perspective. Knowing the values and mission of the organization are paramount – and the love from the community for its support – we need to remain solvent and create a pipeline of membership and financial growth going forward. Without those foundational requirements, we unfortunately won’t be able to fulfill our mission, and so my goal is to identify new ways to support the staff and leverage our collective experience’s to propel the Co-op’s future.

kcfc team kcfc teamMeet the 2019 Candidates