2023 Candidates for Board of Directors

(In alphabetical order by last name)


Sarah has been a long-time shopper and supporter of the Co-op whose commitment to food sustainability and security drives her candidacy for the Board.  Sarah is an attorney, business owner, and mother of three. She works and has a business blocks from the Co-op and owns a home nearby. 

Sarah received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and a Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Before law school, Sarah worked as a case manager supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During law school, Sarah served as a Senator in the Student Bar Association. She was also the Vice President, and later the President, of the Latinx Law Student Association. 

Sarah owns and operates a small business called Homes Empowering Recovery (“HER House”). HER House is a sober living home which supports women recovering from addiction in regaining control of their lives through safe and affordable housing. Sarah is also an attorney who works with indigent defendants at the Fredericksburg Office of the Public Defender. 

As a parent to three children, Sarah is passionate about ensuring that all children have access to healthy food. She believes that the Co-op should continue to play a vital role in addressing food inequality. 


Hello, my name is Nivin Elgohary, and I would like to serve as a member of the Fredericksburg Food Co-op’s Board of Directors.  My husband and I have owned the Spavia Day Spa in Central Park for two years.  As a small business owner in the city of Fredericksburg, and after raising my three children in Stafford County for over 20 years, I know the critical importance of building strong local businesses that offer healthy food and wellness options to our community.

Before opening Spavia, I worked for several years as Virginia’s State Executive Director for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.  In this role, I led 174 employees in 42 offices across the State of Virginia, overseeing and administering farm commodity and disaster programs, and providing credit to Virginia’s agricultural producers to ensure a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply.  I met hundreds of Virginia’s farmers, including many who have been farming in our region for generations.

Prior to that, I spent 18 years lending to rural infrastructure cooperatives across the country, both in the public and the private sector.  In this arena, I led over 200 employees in delivering the nationwide rural electric program to 650 rural electric cooperatives, including many of Virginia’s rural infrastructure cooperatives, managing annual lending level of over $7 Billion and a total portfolio of more than $44 Billion.

In my personal life, I enjoy volunteering at church and community events, mentoring young entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own businesses, and providing financial and in-kind support to local businesses and 501(c)(3) non-profits.  My heart’s desire is to bring joy and success to everyone I can.

Through these varied experiences I understand our local region, the Virginia farm community, and the cooperative business model.  I look forward to meeting you in person and maintaining a strong Fredericksburg Food Co-op!


I finished my undergraduate degree in Human Services, with an emphasis in Gerontology, at Elon College, NC.  During my senior year at Elon, I studied abroad, learning about the human services systems of England, Scotland and The Netherlands. I began my professional career offering care assistance and case management to seniors, to assist them in remaining independent. Then I became a Long-term Care Ombudsman in Greensboro, NC, before moving to Fredericksburg in 1999 to start the first local LTC Ombudsman Program in Planning District 16. 

In 2008, I started my own business: ElderCare Connections, LLC.  I was a private certified geriatric care manager who helped families create a roadmap to care for their loved ones.  I sold ElderCare Connections in 2019.

My life partner and I reside in Spotsylvania County.  We have two adult sons, two grandsons, twin granddaughters and one beautiful great-granddaughter.

After serving on the Board to fill a vacant seat for the past 3 months, my response to “why I am running to be elected to the Board” is why not?  I have learned, and continue to learn, how this Board functions and I am so impressed with the level of dedication that all of the directors exhibit.  Their passion fuels me to want to be a part of bringing awareness to the Fredericksburg area so others know that the Co-op exists.  

I so appreciate the Co-op being a healthy option for our area.  I also find joy in seeing people’s reaction when they learn about the Co-op for the first time or when they realize that they don’t have to be a member-owner to shop there.  I also love sharing that we are keeping up with the times by having the Co-op Kitchen prepare grain bowls, sandwiches and smoothies to order.

I have always loved bringing different dynamics of our community together.  Community is very important to me, whether it’s advocating for the queer community, the homeless population, being on the forefront of opioid harm reduction, or simply taking in the beauty of the Rappahannock River, this is my home.  I love how we are all connected to create the larger community where we all live together.


I am seeking election to the Board of Directors to make sure that the Fredericksburg Food Co-op has someone on the Board with a financial and legal background as well as many community connections.  The Food Co-op is a real benefit to the Fredericksburg region and provides a place for nourishment – for the body, soul and spirit.  It is also a welcoming place for all – including the differently abled, those who come from lower income households, and those new to our community. 

I’m a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the Southern Illinois University School of Law.  My early career included work as a Legal Honors Intern and Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of General Counsel – Fair Housing Division.  After HUD, I went to work as an attorney on public campaign financing matters at the Federal Election Commission.  In my later years, I became a Special Assistant General Counsel working directly with the General Counsel in managing an office of approximately 115 individuals.  I have lived in Fredericksburg since 1995.

I worked in DC for approximately 12 years before changing careers in 2002 to become a financial advisor.  I started my financial career at Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. but resigned my position approximately 18 months later to care for my children, Miguel and Sophia.  Sophia was born with a severe heart defect, Down Syndrome and other health-related issues.  I also became a manny during that period – helping to care for the child of good friends.  Thankfully, Sophia’s open-heart surgeries were successful, and I was able to return to work as an advisor with the Stewart Wealth Management Group at Wachovia Securities.  In 2007, the Stewart Group became a part of Cary Street Partners, where I remain employed.

For over thirty years, I have been active in different groups and causes.  While at HUD, I was President of the L’Enfant Chapter of National IMAGE, Inc. – a Latino advocacy group.  I also served as 2nd Vice President of National IMAGE, Inc. – advocating for Latinos in Federal service at the national level.  Once things stabilized in my personal life after Sophia’s birth and I returned to work, I again became active in various non-profit efforts.  Through the years, I have served on the Board of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Fredericksburg, the Fredericksburg Area Museum, and the Board of Visitors of Southern Illinois University School of Law.  I currently serve on the Board of the Community Foundation of Rappahannock River Region, the Fredericksburg Free Press and recently joined the Goodwill Rappahannock Board.  I’m also the President of the Darbytown Civic Association and a member of the Regional Housing Assembly.  On the weekends, I’m out and about at various Farmer’s Markets and events working the Sophiola booth – the business we created around my daughter’s art.  Our family is also active on the national level with the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society helping to create a better world for the differently abled.    

I hope to bring my many years of experience – both as a practicing attorney, financial advisor and active member of many non-profit organizations – to the Board and help ensure that the Fredericksburg Food Co-op thrives, grows and maintains sound fiscal management.   


Pat Seaton grew up in upstate New York and moved to Fredericksburg from northern Virginia in  2020. With a lifelong passion for natural foods and healthy living, Pat raised her three children to understand the essential role nutrition plays in every facet of life.

Pat holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a masters in computer science.  After managing her construction  company for 15 years, Pat began a 24-year career as an Information Technology management consultant, focused on stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, and project management. She is PMP and ITIL certified. Pat served as a member of her neighborhood Board of Directors and worked at several not-for-profit organizations early in her career.

In 2010, Pat began formal training in nutrition and holistic healing and is certified as a Holistic Health Counselor by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. In 2023, Pat was certified as a Culinary Nutrition Expert by the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Since retiring from consulting, she continues independent study in natural healing and nutrition with the belief that there is no more important mission than to improve the health of the community.

Within months of moving to the area, Pat joined the Fredericksburg Food Cooperative. The current state of the Co-op is clear evidence of the energy, passion, and leadership that have gone into establishing a critical resource for the community.  She seeks to play an active role in the continued development of the Co-op and to foster the local commitment to quality foods and natural alternatives.