We want you to serve on our board!
Our Board of Directors is elected by the membership at our annual meeting to act on behalf of the membership at large. The board facilitates the strategic initiatives of the organization including long range planning. Members of the board are elected for a 3 year term and also serve on committees such as the Finance, Marketing and Outreach, and Strategic Planning.
Carl Zambuto moved to the Nisqually Valley in 1992 and has lived since then on his acreage in Rainier. Carl has 35 years of self-employment business experience. His first career was a plumbing contractor in California where he performed remodel and new home construction on the San Francisco peninsula and surrounding areas.
When Carl moved to Washington State he followed his passion for telescope optics, where he taught telescope making to South Sound residents for four years while he prepared to turn professional as a telescope mirror optician. In 1997 Carl launched Zambuto Optical Company and has become world-renown in the amateur astronomy community for raising the bar in reflective (telescope mirror) optics. He now has a full service optical facility at his home in Rainier.
In 2006 Carl and his former wife Joycelyn built the Main Street Cookie Company. The bakery opened in early 2007 and has become regionally renowned for highest quality baked cookies. The bakery is now run by Joycelyn.
Carl is quite excited about applying his capabilities of creative vision and offering them to the community through the Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors. Carl feels his specialty in this capacity may fall into the human relations category, where he wants to help raise awareness in our community about our cooperative, as well as help to develop a strong working relationship with our members.
Carl loves the Yelm Food coop, where he does over 75 percent of his household food shopping, as well as at the Yelm Farmer’s Market.
Carl considers himself a Washingtonian, now. He knows he belongs here, and remains fully invested in our community.”
Diane grew up in Vermont. After receiving her B.A., she taught science in elementary school for four years. In Florida she received an M.A. in Counseling, Administration and Supervision, and continued as an Educator for 15 years.
After moving to Washington in 1989, Diane was employed at RSE for thirteen years. She was responsible for purchasing books and materials for the bookstore, facilitated various events, and worked closely with the patent attorney and Publishing Department regarding copyrights and trademarks. She returned to Education and taught at the Children’s School of Excellence, Phoenix Rising School, and presently has been substitute teaching in the Rainier schools.
Diane has been very involved in community affairs throughout the years and believes strongly that the Yelm Cooperative is most important for the growth and future development of our community.
She has volunteered her time in many areas including the Triad Theater in facilitating public speakers. Diane has spent a number of years helping to feed hundreds of homeless in Yelm, Olympia, and Tacoma during holiday times.
In addition to the Yelm Food Co-op, which allows folks to purchase healthy foods, there are many programs that the Cooperative sponsors, such as the Farmer’s Market and the Power of Produce for children, both of which continue this knowledge of health and sustainability in the community.
Diane was appointed to the board in April of 2015 and would be honored to continue to work in that capacity with the Yelm Cooperative.
Debbie comes to Washington after living in 12 other states. She received her BA in business administration from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
Debbie has been working in Accounting and Taxation since her college days. She specialized in non-profit accounting, many times working as a volunteer. This is when she learned Grant accounting, Contract billing, and the ins and outs of non-profits.
While in Maine, Debbie worked in the family construction business for 20 yrs., was Chairman of the Selectmen of the Town for 12 years, and homeschooled her three children.
Being a “Mimi” to her five grandchildren takes care of vacation planning. Each year brings a new adventure bringing the entire family to one location.
Working with the c0-op is a great fit as she has been a vegetarian for almost 50 years. Cooking from scratch meant growing the food, preserving it, making the bread and the pasta using eggs from her chickens.
It is also a great fit as she has worked with and for Economic Development for forty years. on the ground, writing grants, helping small businesses establish their office procedures, and working as a liaison between local, county, and state governments.
Debbie is looking forward to putting all her experience and expertise into helping the Yelm Cooperative grow and fulfill the vision set in place by the founding members.
Carlo’s first job out of school was as a trainee manager for a supermarket chain. He was the youngest to be appointed manager of his first store in Bicester (outskirts of Oxford). After a re-merchandising over haul the store was very successful.
Deciding to travel the world Carlo worked in the service industry and in construction on 3 different continents. More recently he spent several years in the local restaurant trade, followed by 3 years as a volunteer at the Olympia food Co-op. Carlo graduated from the Yoga College of India in 1995 after a 6 month internship, and has been actively teaching students and leading training programs ever since.
With more than a keen interest in all aspects of healthy living Carlo sees an opportunity to suggest and assist in positive changes for our Co-op, the customers, it’s staff and the community. He has been a local gardner for many years bringing good quality food from the soil to the table. It seems like second nature to him.
His motto is “Let food be thy medicine”
Valentin Fyrst moved to Yelm from Europe in 1997. He lived here while completing a BA in French Literature and BSc in Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, before earning an MBA with Honors from Saint Martin’s University in 2000.
In 2002, adventure called. Valentin and his wife Nadine moved to Australia for a decade, followed by a couple of years in Malaysia, before returning stateside to spend 18 months in Silicon Valley on their way back to Yelm in mid-2016.
Shortly after their return, he started a digital marketing agency dedicated to promote local small businesses and help achieve sustainable growth, while telling compelling stories.
Valentin loves helping people and brings over 20 years of international business experience with him. He thrives on getting into the nuts and bolts of organizations to figure out how to improve them. He also enjoys direct community involvement to help inspire positivity, creativity, and a spirit of paying it forward.
In 2020, his Spread the Community #love campaign helped highlight local businesses while encouraging community support. As a result, he was deeply honored to be awarded Best Volunteer and Best Young Professional of Nisqually.
Valentin’s vision for our Co-op is to help position it as a community hub, a local destination for the community …by the community.