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RENEE SOUTHARD - Organic Marketplace, Gastonia NC
I am passionately involved in the health food industry as an educator and business owner since 1992. I initially opened an 800 square foot supplement shop in Gastonia, NC and quickly understood that supplements did not fully address the needs of my customers. After working with customers and listening to requests from the community, I brought in organic foods and HBA to more adequately address healthy living which resulted in relocating Organic Marketplace to a 5,000 sq. ft. location in 2003. Initially serving on the board of SENPA inspired me to continue to be a part of the work we were accomplishing to advance independent natural products retailers in a market that was changing. I've always been a teacher and my love of education has guided my career path. It has taken me into teaching health and wellness, something that I feel extremely passionately about as I learn every day. My commitment to you as the current Director of Education is to continue the inspiring initiatives that our board has developed over the last 3 years. Through my direction along with my dedicated committee members, we have produced 12 Road Shows, our grass roots outreach, throughout the southeast, empowering Independent retailers with up to date product awareness, legislative awareness, and marketing tools that are crucial for competing in the competitive market we face. Nothing will ever replace the interaction of a knowledgeable staff member and their loyal customer. It is the role of Independent "Retailer.” It is my heart to serve on this board and to continue the vision as well as develop and achieve the most valuable asset, personal knowledge, and integrity, to the Natural Product industry.
STEVE PALKO - Palko Services, Michigan City IN
Steve Palko now runs Palko Services a 34 year old family owned natural products distributor with his sister Sally Jo after his father Jim Palko retired in 2015. Steve grew up in the Natural Products industry. He is not a Vegan, loves his occasional steak, and enjoys an adult beverage from time to time, but, takes his supplements faithfully and considers himself to be relatively healthy. Palko Services started when he was just 14 years old. Steve answered incoming phone calls and packed shipments after school in the beginning. He attended Purdue University and worked packing orders during summer breaks. After college Steve worked as a sales rep and has moved all the way up to his current position as President. Steve also currently serves on the MAHO Board. Steve married his beautiful wife Michelle in June of 2009 and became a stepfather to her sons Michael and Ian. In 2010 they welcomed their son Stone Joseph Palko to the family. Michelle now works as our QC manager and heads up our HR as well. The three boys keep Steve & Michelle very busy while not at work. Steve plays golf every week when the weather cooperates. He enjoys the great outdoors and is very competitive. He is a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan as well as the Bears and White Sox. Steve's passion is on the marketing & artwork side of the business but enjoys the numbers and seeing the business grow. He learned much from his father about running a family business. Steve hopes one day to be able to teach his own son the business of distributing natural products. Steve is proud to lead a growing company that provides jobs to more than 75 people in Northwest Indiana.
RYAN SENSENBRENNER - Enzymedica Inc., Venice FL
Ryan leads retail marketing at Enzymedica, Inc. He is focused on developing programs to support independent health food stores and small chains across the nation. Passionate about the natural products industry, he has worked with retailers across the country to help them better market the strengths of their businesses, driving increased revenue and brand recognition within their communities. He was a featured speaker for SENPA's three 2016 roadshows, as well as at SOHO 2016. In addition to his role at Enzymedica, Sensenbrenner serves at the will of natural products retailers as a current member of the board of directors of SENPA. Through this role, he is a champion of corporate responsibility and education programs to support the needs of independent retailers.
JERILYN SWINDLE - Nordic Naturals, Mount Juliet TN
Jerilyn has been living and working in natural health for over 22 years. It has been through her own healing that she developed a deep love for, and commitment to, this industry. Jerilyn has over 18 years work experience as a broker representative, manufacturer representative, product educator, independent natural market manager and national educator. The companies include Choice Marketing, Sunbelt Sales and Marketing, The Turnip Truck Natural Market, Bluebonnet Nutrition and Nordic Naturals. She has studied with Clayton College of Natural Health (ND program), North Carolina Herbal Studies, Asheville NC (Herbal Apprentice program), and Natural Health Institute (LMT). Jerilyn is currently a National Educator for Nordic Naturals. In this position, she travels the country educating store staff and communities on the benefits of Omega-3's. Her responsibilities include creating content, executing trainings, radio shows and product seminars. Personally, Jerilyn is deeply involved in naturally fermented foods. She ferments her own goat milk kefir, water kefir, coconut water kefir, vegetables and condiments. She is also a vocal advocate for local organic farming, CSA and farm shares. Jerilyn practices and teaches natural healing and clean food for vibrant living. She is committed to supporting and promoting this industry.
BRENDA WATSON - Vital Planet, Palm Harbor FL
Since 1997 Brenda has dedicated herself to the natural health industry, to producing the highest quality and effective products possible and to the thousands and thousands of consumers she has personally helped get their health back on tract. Her knowledge is surpassed only by her enthusiasm and ability to engage her audience—whatever the medium. Brenda started her journey through discovering how to heal her own health issues with natural remedies. That was the catalyst that has lead Brenda down the path to her passion to help others heal, focusing in on the digestive system. Brenda has personally traveled around the country teaching, educating and lecturing on the significant impact the digestive system has to the rest of the body. So much so that she has earned the nickname “Diva of Digestion.” Everyday consumers mention to retailers how much Brenda Watson has helped them. Most people in the natural health industry and consumers alike know Brenda Watson as the founder of the digestive supplement based company Renew Life Formulas.She and her husband Stan have founded Vital Planet Pets, with a main product being probiotics for dogs and cats. With the same determination and drive that they put into Renew Life Formulas, Brenda and Stan are excited to see Vital Planet Pets quickly becoming a brand name in the natural retail market. Who knows, she may soon be known as the “Princess of Pets.”
For more information contact: Debra Short, Executive Director
Phone: 727.846.0320 / Email:dshort@SENPA.org
ANGIE O’PRY BLADES - Fiesta Nutrition Center, Monroe LA
Owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center, a natural food and supplement store in Monroe, LA. Fiesta has been in business for 41 years and employs 12 people.
Angie has served on the Board of Directors of the Natural Products Association- Southwest Region for 7 years, the last 2 years as President. She served on the Retail Council of the National NPA for 4 years. She has attended lobbying events in Washington, DC for many years on behalf of independent retailers.
Angie serves on the Board of the Monroe, LA Chamber of Commerce, KEDM Public Radio, and Arts Initiative Program for Youth. “My primary focus in this position would be to continue the legacy this organization has created with education and advocacy. My many years of experience in the aisles of my store have given me insight into what consumers desire for their health and the freedom to do so. Enthusiasm, passion, and high hopes for this industry are traits I could put to good use for SENPA's missions.“
KAREN GREENWAY - Get Healthy, Brooksville FL
This year is my 27thyear in this wonderful industry. I have two stores in central Florida and go to work every day with a deep commitment to my customers, my staff and the community that supports us. I have previously served on the board of directors for 10 years as a board member, Treasurer, and proudly as President from 2012 – 2015. I came from a strong business background, but nothing prepares you for the challenges and opportunities that owning your own business can throw at you. I know that I still have so much to offer SENPA and its members. In an ever changing industry I think it is important to stay true to who we are and focused on why we do this. This Association has an enviable reputation of leadership, synergy and plain getting things done and I ask that you vote for me so that I can continue to serve on this board. Thank you.
PAULA PORTER - Wholefoods, Cushing OK
My mother, Mary Gimmey, started the 'original' Wholefoods in 1976, when it wasn't cool to have a health food store, so I have grown up in this industry. When she died in 1998, I took over the reins. I was able to raise our boys in the store while homeschooling them at the same time. I kept them active in 4-H activities. 4-H taught a lot about volunteerism and we still look for opportunities to help our community, such as the homeless shelter, the animal shelter and our Fire and Police departments. I love to serve people in all walks of life. Giving back to the community in the form of nutritional tidbits is one way I feel that I make a difference. My husband's dream has always been to have a dairy, so, now, we own a small, raw milk dairy on his homestead in rural Oklahoma. We will celebrate our 42nd year in business this year. The lifeblood of the store is my education, so, I strive to get as much of that as possible. The tradeshows are my greatest source of education. I was asked to step onto the NPA-SW board in 2015. Serving as the Convention Chair the following year, we saw the largest show we have had after struggling for many years. I welcome the opportunity to continue doing just that as a board member for SENPA.