Board of Directors

Our all-volunteer Board of Directors includes owners who are committed to building a thriving community-owned grocery store. They come from diverse backgrounds, from farmers to chemists to engineers and stay-at-home moms and dads. If you’re a passionate co-op owner, email to learn how you can join our Board!

Niraj Patel

2024 Board Nominee

While I grew up in the Midwest, Maynard has been our home for my spouse, two kids, two cats and a dog for the past few years. I believe the co-op plays an important role in providing a place where the community can easily access goods made and grown by local artisans/farmers. I am excited to be an owner and to continue to see the co-op become even more embedded in the community.
I love all things food, and being able to get quality local ingredients to cook with has been a huge perk of the co-op. If I’m not cooking up a storm then I’m probably spending time with my family (AKA arguing with my feisty daughter or putting together Legos with my sweet son) or playing video games after they’ve all gone to sleep. Professionally, I’ve had a very winding career path, and I currently work as a Data Scientist.

Patti Mckenna

2024 Board Nominee

Patti McKenna is a fundraising consultant who works with small nonprofits. She has consulted with Assabet Co-op Market, Belfast Co-op, Prairie Co-op, Wild Onion Co-op, ArtSpace, and Hudson Armory. She currently works for Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury as Senior Director of Development and Communications.

When Patti is not raising money for small nonprofits, she can be found behind the counter at Blue Frog Bakery in Jamaica Plain. Besides family, baking is her true passion. Patti and her husband live in Jamaica Plain and have a small urban garden in the front of their condo that she shares with neighbors. They have two grown daughters, Elise and Rebekah.

Andrew Cohen

2024 Board Nominee

I’ve lived in Maynard part time since 2014 and full time since he retired in 2021. We selected Maynard as a place to live because it has a wonderful, walkable downtown and a strong sense of community. My wife and I enjoy traveling, spending time with grandchildren, and hiking and walking in the many conservation areas nearby. After graduate school at Michigan State University, where I studied neutrino physics, I embarked on a career in technology, working for a national lab and large and small companies in the financial industry. I am excited to be able to help make the Assabet Co-op Market a successful business and community resource, achieve operational excellence, and meet all of its business and community goals.

Leah Ciappenelli


Leah Ciappenelli is a 12-year resident of Sudbury and lifelong resident of the metro-west area. She has been a member of the co-op since 2017 and actively involved since last year as a member of the hiring committee. Leah is currently head of HR for an Advertising agency that specializes in B2C direct response advertisement for home improvement companies. Over the span her 20+ year HR career, she has worked for companies in various industries, from behavioral technology to public relations. As a Board Director, Leah is excited to help bring the Co-op’s vision to life. She cannot wait for the grand opening and to be a part of a movement that enhances our community on a myriad of levels.

Evan Merck


I moved to Maynard in 2020 and am currently the operations manager of Hi-Rise Bread Co. in Cambridge. Previously, I worked in Vermont as a farmhand on a small, regenerative grazing cattle farm and as a farmer/cook at a semester program after time in higher education administration in Boston. I enjoy gardening, playing cards, and dreaming of traveling to vineyards in France. My favorite place to work and live is at the intersection of food systems and the communities that give them life. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work with the Co-op at such an exciting time!

Debby Andell


I stopped eating meat as a teenager, so I naturally gravitated toward food co-ops to find the alternative products I needed. Having happily shopped in other food co-ops, I am really excited about our store opening this year! I am member #190 and have volunteered where needed, including tabling, the Capital Campaign Committee and the Food Justice Committee. I am running for the board because I recently retired from Mass Audubon, and now have more time to dedicate to the organizations I am passionate about.
As a longtime Acton resident, I am also involved with the Swap Shop in Acton, the Acton Boxborough Farmers Market and Green Acton. The Acton Boxborough Farmers Market is producer-only, which means vendors may sell only the produce and/or value-added products that they themselves grow or make. As a market manager, I enjoy stocking up on Sundays with a wonderful variety of local products.

Mark Lo


Mark Lo lives in West Concord and has been volunteering for Assabet Co-op Market since shortly after he and his wife joined the co-op in 2020. Mark served as a member of the Store Development Committee from 2020-2021 and has been a member of the Outreach Committee ever since. He is strongly committed to supporting local agriculture and has been a member of local CSAs for more than 20 years. He loves food, cooking, and even grocery shopping! Mark’s recent volunteer experience includes five years as a board member for Concord-Carlisle Youth Hockey, for which he also served as Ice Scheduler and Goalie Coordinator. Professionally, he has more than 25 years of experience as a technical writer in the software industry.

Amanda Patel


I live in Maynard and work at Suffolk University as a management professor. I teach organizational behavior and human resource management and do cool (totally unbiased opinion) research on employee health and well-being. My research includes how our workplace eating behaviors affect our coworkers’ perceptions of us! At home, I craft, refinish furniture, and bake with my family. I support the co-op because its mission for a positive impact on well-being at so many levels is an important endeavor. I hope that by running for the board I demonstrate to my children the importance of service to one’s community.

Nancy Kerr


We came to West Concord in 1987 when our daughter started kindergarten. I am now retired from working as a Nutritionist (WIC Program) and later at an Employee Assistance Program. My time is free to concentrate on our exciting new co-op!

Besides anticipating the opening of ACM, I have been helping settle newcomers, using my intermediate Spanish to help ease the process. My first ‘adult’ job was as Manager of the Yellow Sun Coop in Amherst. It was my home and my social life. I know what co-ops can do for a community. Good things will happen here! Huge thanks for those who have brought us this far; I’m ready to pitch in.

Laura Mattei


I want to help the Co-op realize our dream of building our store and strengthening our local economy and community. In these extremely stressful times, it feels even more important to strengthen our local connections and communities. I have been a member of the Co-op since the very early stages (Member #20) and I have a long track record of volunteering to support our coop. I volunteered in the first year making phone calls to recruit members, then volunteered over the years at tabling events. In the last three months, I have been active with our Capital Campaign contacting other Owners about the opportunity to invest in our store. I am passionate about healthy food, healthy land management and taking care of our environment and the planet. I have over 25 years of experience working as a program manager with non-profits in the field of land and water conservation. I enjoy cooking, hiking, biking, lake swimming, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.

Donna Brown


I am a life-long resident of the area and a wife, mother, and now grandmother. My greatest strengths are my strong community ties and wealth of experience. I earned my MBA while raising two children and working full time at a private school in various roles in the finance office as well as the summer program. I’ve been a co-op member since 2017 and served on the Capital Campaign Committee that raised $2 million. I have been a board member in the past for a housing co-op and currently serve as a board member for Assabet Co-op Market and Sunshine Nursery School.  My husband and I have shopped at various co-op markets over the years in the New England area and are thrilled that Assabet Co-op Market will be opening in 2023!

Leah Wang


I live in Maynard with my husband, Kevin, and our cat, Miso, and we’ve been so excited for the Co-op to open its doors – the time has come!

For the past 10 years, I’ve been working and volunteering in agriculture, local food systems, and food security. These days, I work to advance criminal justice reforms nationwide as a researcher and analyst. So many values I hold dearly are now converging under one roof – so to me, serving on the Board represents an incredible opportunity to ensure the Co-op is a functional, thoughtful, and socially just enterprise.

Outside of work, I’m puttering in my garden, rock climbing, or fermenting things.

Amanda Sutliff


Originally from New York, Amanda has called Massachusetts home for 20 years. She lives in Acton with her husband, Todd and their son, Jack. She is passionate about building community through food – from volunteering at local farms to supporting local food businesses. She is always rooting for any venture that helps connect people with local makers and producers.

As a professional, Amanda has held a variety of marketing roles throughout her career. She pivoted from international education to working with B2B technology companies in 2012 and has been working in software ever since. Today she leads analyst relations for a cybersecurity company called Secureworks. When not working, Amanda can be found in the mountains (white or green!) hiking, skiing or camping with her family and friends.

John LoVerso


John and his wife raised three children in Southborough, where they’ve lived for over 30 years. They’ve always had a large vegetable garden, supplemented by CSAs. They’ve loved supporting local farms and businesses (all of their children have worked at small farms in Framingham) and are excited for the Co-op to open to help bring more local products to the community. Now retired, John spent his entire professional career in Massachusetts working as a software engineer. He currently dabbles in home automation, as well as volunteering for Meals On Wheels.

As a member of the Co-op since 2018, John has volunteered at many tablings and currently serves on the Strategic Planning Committee. He would like to help the Co-op at the next level as the store opens and begins operations. John will bring his time and technical acumen to the board of this vibrant Co-op community.