Emmanuel Ajavon

emmanuel ajavon

Both my parents grew up on family farms in West Africa. Though I was raised in Brooklyn, they passed down to me the importance of fresh, locally sourced food. As a kid, I made lots of runs to food stands in the city in my family’s efforts to eat healthy, sometimes with mixed results. I remember one time being rushed to the hospital after eating bad carrots, which taught me to be even more particular about the types of food I put on my plate. This explains in part why, when my partner and I and our young daughter moved to the Upper Valley almost four years ago, one of the first things we did was to join the Co-op, even before we had unpacked all our boxes.

As a Co-op member, I have experienced first-hand the organization’s commitment to nourish those who shop there by consistently providing quality food. I also have witnessed the Co-op’s efforts to enrich our community beyond the products stocking its shelves. Part of my professional experience has included overseeing Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Blood Donor Program. In this role, I worked closely with the Co-op’s marketing and communications team to increase awareness and donations. This successful collaboration, and the Co-op’s proven dedication to public service and outreach, inspires me to want to serve on its Board of Directors.

Looking ahead, I would be excited to build on the Co-op’s existing strengths and untapped potential. As a member of the Dartmouth College Black Caucus, for example, I would cultivate relationships to achieve more multicultural diversity among the people who both serve and shop at the Co-op. Another part of my professional life is focused on early childhood education programs. As someone who believes core knowledge is power—and as the father of a picky eater—I already appreciate how the Co-op supports parents who want to help their kids learn about and enjoy healthy eating. My hope would be to expand this crucial mission and other educational efforts.

Last, but hardly least, I see quality food as a fundamental need, but also as a way to bring people together. This, too, is why I would value the opportunity to serve on the board of an organization that is clearly vested in feeding the community in so many meaningful ways.

Q & A with Emmanuel

What interests you about serving on the Co-op’s Board of Directors?

I worked closely with the Co-op Food Stores in 2015 through 2016 on a campaign to bring awareness on the need blood donations in our local community. This collaboration was also during Co-op's 80th year anniversary. I was quite impressed with the support and insight provide by the Co-op's leadership team. Also learning about the 80 year history of the Co-op inspired me to remain a strong supporter of the Co-op's mission and vision for our community.

Please describe any experience you may have serving on a board, committee or community group.

I was active board member for my Condo Association (Ivy at Shrewsbury) in Shrewsbury NJ, before relocating to NH.

Please describe any experience or skills that will help you be an effective board member.

I've worked as a professional in healthcare for nearly twenty years. My responsibilities over the years included direct patient care, training/course development and management of large community based operations. All of my skills and experience can be used to be an effective board member.

What opportunities and challenges do you see for the Co-op?

Diversity amongst employees and customers are both a challenge and opportunity. As an African American and rarely see the diversity in any of the four Co-op stores that I shop in.

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Hanover Store
45 South Park St.
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-2667
7 am-8 pm

Lebanon Store
12 Centerra Pkwy
Lebanon, NH 03766
(603) 643-4889
7 am-9 pm

WRJ Store
209 Maple St.
WRJ, VT 05001
(802) 295-3400
7 am-8 pm

Co-op Market
43 Lyme Road
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-2725
M-F: 6 am-8 pm
S-S: 7 am-8 pm

Service Center

51 South Park St.
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-6650
Sat: 8 am-12 pm

Service Center

63 US 5 South
Norwich, VT 05055
(802) 526-9103
M-F: 7:30 am-4:30 pm
Sat: 8 am-12 pm

Co-op Kitchen
193 A St.
Wilder, VT 05088
(603) 442-4406
M-F: 6 am-2 pm