Oryana Names New CEO
By Beth Milligan | Nov. 17, 2023
Oryana Community Cooperative has announced the hiring of a new CEO. Sarah Christensen will succeed Steve Nance, who is retiring after over 14 years leading the cooperative.
Christensen has served as the CEO of the Green Tree Co-op Market in Mount Pleasant since 2003. There she was responsible for overall organizational management, including business planning, human resources, and financial management, as well as marketing and community outreach.
“Sarah’s authentic leadership experience and value in community connection make her a perfect fit for this role,” says Nance. “Oryana has grown and evolved so much since being founded 50 years ago. Sarah’s energy and vision make her the perfect fit to expand on our mission of caring for our staff, owners, and community.”
This year marks Oryana’s 50th anniversary. "In 1973, a small group of visionary volunteers created a buying club to obtain fresh food at fair prices," Oryana said in a release. "Today, their efforts have evolved into a $35 million, two-store cooperative business serving the greater Grand Traverse region and its 11,000-plus member-owners. Oryana is governed by a nine-member board elected by the members/owners who hire and oversee the work of the general manager."
Oryana Board President Colleen Valko said the board "heard from many interesting and qualified applicants" for the job, but that Christensen was the unanimous choice. "We see in her both an ability to build on Steve’s successful leadership, but to also explore and develop new opportunities for our beloved co-op,” she said. Christensen said she was “honored and excited to be the new CEO at Oryana,” adding that she believes strongly “in the mission, values, and impacts of cooperatives” and look forward to “continuing that work in Traverse City.”
Oryana will host a meet-and-greet to welcome Christensen and say goodbye to Nance at the stores in January.Comment