Lydia Peabody – President, Term: through 2018
Vidya Sivan — Vice President, Term: through 2020
Leslie Belay — Treasurer, Term: through 2019
Dwayne Desaulnier — Secretary, Term: through 2019
Paige Clark – Term: through 2020
Thomas Moore – Term: through 2020
Gordon Williams – Term: through 2019
Eli Feghali – Term: through 2018
Board of Directors Meetings 2017
Mondays, 6:30 – 9 PM
Hope Lodge 125 S Huntington Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
CCTV: 438 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
January 9 – Cambridge
February 6 – Jamaica Plain
March 6 – Cambridge
April 3 – Jamaica Plain
May 1 – Cambridge
June 12 – Jamaica Plain
July 10 – Cambridge
August 7 – Jamaica Plain
September 11 – Cambridge
October 2 – Jamaica Plain
November 6 – Cambridge
December 4 – Jamaica Plain
Annual Meeting October 25
Members are invited to attend any Board of Directors meeting.
Lydia was raised in northern Minnesota with an awareness of the importance of community, education, and natural spaces. She completed her undergraduate degree in physics, then spent two years volunteering with Peace Corps in Namibia teaching science and working on school and community development projects. Working with the young people in Namibia led her to shift her professional focus from science education to youth development, which seemed more essential to student success. She spent her free time in Namibia attempting to make every recipe in the Peace Corps Namibia Cookbook – a pastime that nearly motivated her to become a chef.
Lydia moved to New Zealand and continued to work in youth development, science education, and adult education and training roles over the following 7 years. She also took up triathlon, surf lifesaving (particularly surf boat rowing), Toastmasters, and a habit of periodically travelling for extending periods of time. Through these diverse experiences she discovered her interest in leadership development, which led to a stint as an operational analyst for a large gas company (fascinating, lots of great skill learning, but not a good fit!).
More recently, Lydia returned to the US to complete a master’s degree bringing together her love of science with outdoor education and youth development. She has continued to pursue career opportunities that allow her to bring these interests together, most recently as the Youth Program Director at Science Club for Girls.
Ms. Belay is currently semi-retired, teaching English as a Second Language to immigrant adults in Boston and managing a small real estate business with her husband Girma Belay. She has three grown sons, two born and raised in Boston and the third adopted as a young teen from Ethiopia.
Prior to her retirement in 2015, Ms. Belay worked for three years for the quasi- governmental Mass. Growth Capital Corporation overseeing grants programs for small business assistance (including coops) in underserved communities.
She ran her own independent consulting business for over a decade, advising foundations, faith-based and community based organizations in program management, organizational development, strategic planning and foundation relations. Clients called upon her expertise in the areas of executive coaching, dispute and conflict resolution, board training, personnel and executive recruitment, and development of work plans, proposals, and business plans, as well as fundraising and program design and development.
As a trainer and educator, Ms. Belay developed and taught graduate seminars for Springfield College on Design of Community Based Ventures for human services professionals, and led workshops and training seminars on Board Development, Socially Responsible Investing, Strategic Planning, Outcome Measurement, Promotion, Marketing and Public Relations, Fund Raising, and Diversity Awareness. She is well known as a facilitator for retreats, workshops, and adult discussion groups. She is the former Director of Community and Economic Development Programs for the Episcopal City Mission, having served as founding CEO of the Pelham Fund for Economic Justice and manager of the Burgess Urban Fund. Under her stewardship, the Burgess Urban Fund awarded $1 million in grants in support of community organizing initiatives which challenge unequal power relations in society. As CEO of the Pelham Fund for Economic Justice, Ms. Belay raised and managed over $800,000 in assets. The Fund focused its investments in the areas of micro-enterprise, small and emerging businesses, and cooperatively owned businesses in low-income, urban communities in New England.
Ms. Belay conducted overseas consulting assignments on behalf of the American Jewish World Service in Ethiopia, Uganda and northern India. As a member of the AJWS Jewish Volunteer Corps, she provided management coaching, customized technical assistance, and training seminars to emerging national and local NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) working in the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention, women’s empowerment, community organizing, and economic development. Ms. Belay has Master’s Degrees from Hebrew College in Jewish Intellectual Thought, Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and from the UCLA African Studies Program. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Friends of the Egleston Square Branch Library in Roxbury and is active in numerous local civic initiatives. She has traveled and studied on five continents, including long-term sojourns in Africa and Europe. She has lived in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts with her husband Girma since 1984.
I work as an executive in the media and technology industry. It’s an industry of great change, uncertainty and challenge which is exactly the kind of environment I like to work in. I began my career as a journalist, valuing the community service proposition of the role as well as the constant and daily learning offered by the profession. I believe strongly in the social and economic benefits of informed communities.
I worked my way to the national bureau chief position at a Canadian news network and reported from a number of countries including two conflict zones. But I put the editorial focus of my career on hold when the internet opened up in the mid-1990s. I fell in love with technology and the promise it held for connecting, informing and educating. I’ve remained firmly committed to the news and information sector but my focus and contributions have been on the technology side.
I’ve served as general manager at a web incubator in the early days of the web and from there moved to business development positions focused on the partnerships and sales that married technology and info. One of my most significant areas of work has been to change the way The Associated Press distributes its news. AP is the world’s biggest news company and I led a project to shift AP from satellite to internet delivery. I was also responsible for product management of the portals APs provides to news companies around the world.
In a fairly recent phase of my career, I took on the challenge of managing technical products at WebMD. This role was fascinating not only because of the scale of WebMD’s traffic but the absolute requirement that the technology deliver accurate and precise information. It was a very gratifying role to improve and create the tools, technology and information provided to medical professionals and their patients globally. A second, recent detour from my news and info work was to take an 18-month break to work in my community and launch a local staffing firm in underprivileged areas of NJ. It was a tremendous and incredibly valuable opportunity for me. The role left me with life-changing learnings and experiences which I’ll never forget. We changed people’s lives and it was work I am so grateful I could do.
Paige is the Front-End manager at Harvest’s Arboretum location. She has spent the past few months getting acquainted with the intricacies of Harvest’s day-to- day operations while building relationships with the fantastic customers and staff who make it all happen.
She received her Bachelor’s in Environmental Science from Colorado College, and she’s currently working on her Masters of Arts in Social Justice from Phillips Theological Seminary.
Paige loves working at the intersection of food justice and community-building. She started a program and publication in Colorado called Grits that highlights the lives of locals experiencing hunger and poverty. Additionally, she has spent the last five years working as a fundraising professional for non-profits, where she helped innovate programs to boost community involvement in strategic planning measures.
Paige loves food and the community it creates. You can find her cooking for her friends or calling family members to find out their culinary secrets. She has a cattle dog named Squid who you might get to meet outside of the Arboretum location if you’re lucky!
At Harvest, Paige helps ensure that customers and employees feel valued and taken care of. She is more than familiar with the current issues facing the co-op, because she experiences them first-hand daily. She loves the people and the food at Harvest, and wants to help in any way she can.
Born in the Ft. Bragg Army base in North Carolina, I am a product of the South. I grew up, fourth of eight children (two girls and six boys), in North and South Carolina and Valdosta, Georgia. “Southern hospitality” is in my nature and nothing pleases me more than to take a stroll and greet everyone I meet.
I have two children; Isaiah age 11 and Rosalee who will be two in January. I teach them every day to be considerate, polite and smile at everyone; You never know whose day you’ll make.
As part of the working class, I have been a diligent employee who is always aspiring to be great in my position, whatever that may be. I have worked retail from all perspectives; from building up commercial supermarkets as part of a construction crew, to being assistant manager at that very supermarket chain years later. I like to know what it is like from the ground up. I have also studied Business management and aim to continue earning my degree.
My pastime is filled with reading about different cultures and eras of History, photography and spending time with my family; fishing and football if there’s time! All in all, my decisions in life have led me to see many wonderful things, recently they have led me here to the many beautiful sights Massachusetts has to offer. I hope my family and I see many more.
Gordon Williams is a composer, musician and educator in Boston. Gordon believes strongly in the communal benefits of music and has worked with a number of community groups; serving on the board of directors for the Orchestra on the Hill, assistant directing Community Band- Wenham, and performing and conducting with the Ipswich Summer Band. Gordon works in the Education and Community Initiatives department at Boston Ballet. Gordon strives to make art relevant and accessible. He has presented interactive events in festivals such as Make Music Boston, ArtWeek Boston and Figment.
In addition to music, Gordon is also passionate about food. He particularly enjoys finding new local ingredients at the grocery store, cooking his favorite Jamaican recipes, and mushroom hunting.
Eli Feghali is the Director of Communications at the New Economy Coalition (NEC) and Co-Editor of Beautiful Solutions. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Eli immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was a year old. He has spent the majority of his professional life working as a communications specialist and community organizer. Eli has particular expertise in strategic communications, press relations, digital media strategy, and web design. His lifelong commitment to activism and social change began during his undergraduate career at Vanderbilt University, when Eli founded a student activist organization dedicated to addressing economic inequality. Through NEC and Beautiful Solutions, Eli works to tell the story of what another world could look like — and how we can get there. Eli lives in Cambridge, MA, where he enjoys walking his dog Rondo and watching as many Boston Celtics games as possible. Despite his love for pizza, Eli is vegan.
When I was a kid, magazines ran full page ads for an organization called CARE which, for each dollar you sent, would send a meal to a kid who was starving in Biafra. I loved being part of this nourishing process. Later, I learned that people aren’t starving because of fate— they were starving because of lots of bad and sometimes evil decisions by politicians and administrators.
Right now, at the Archdale housing complex near the JP Harvest store, kids are going hungry. I want to work with others to make good and wise decisions to transform Harvest Co-op into a place that nourishes all the kids and grown-ups in our neighborhood.