Meet the Board Candidates
Three seats are open on the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors. Make sure to vote by AUGUST 19th!
1. Discuss your business skills and experience in any or all of the following areas:
a. Financial management or accounting
b. Business strategy or organizational leadership
c. Group facilitation or project management
A director of Willy Street needs important business skills and commitment to cooperative values. These are two things I have developed through my years as a leader in cooperatives. I have been an elected financial officer for three successful housing cooperatives and a number of progressive organizations. In these roles I have successfully dealt with all sizes of financial problems, rising food prices and more. I have a degree in economics and have a detailed understanding of leadership decisions that make cooperative businesses succeed.
2. Describe your experience working at a leadership or Board of Directors level with a co-operative, natural food, retail or other for-profit business.
I have extensive leadership experience with cooperatives and natural foods businesses. I worked closely with farmers and customers when organizing a farmers’ market in Mt. Vernon, IA. I am an organizer of the Madison Co-op Network, working to increase access to natural foods for those who don’t currently have access. I managed natural foods purchasing as an elected official for a housing cooperative in Austin, TX. In these positions I worked with other leaders to improve financial integrity, increase access to natural foods, and adhere to cooperative values. Together we built successful communities like that which surrounds Willy Street.
3. Communicating with owners and the general public is one of the Co-ops core responsibilities. Describe your experience communicating business strategies and/or long-range organizational vision across the range of media available today.
In my roles I have had to communicate business strategies and organizational vision to cooperative members. I am skilled with online communication, but I also believe in face-to-face communication because it encourages honesty, accountability, and a close connection between members and boards. As an employee of Willy Street, I understand successful and unsuccessful methods of communication, and I know opportunities exist to engage members such as hosting events and coupling sampling with education and engagement.
4. The Board operates by Policy Governance. Using the model as your guide, how would you encourage greater owner involvement in elections, committees, owner forums, and meetings?
The most important part of Policy Governance is that it is a results-focused guide for board operations, which is essential. Owners also demand successful results from the board, and as a board member I will engage owners with projects they are interested in—from online shopping to expansion. I believe that the board distanced itself from members after attempting to negotiate a site at Monroe Street, and this led to distant decision making with the downtown store. This brought financial loss, staff reductions, and, most importantly, it did not achieve the results that members demanded. As a director I will engage members to insure that the board is responsive to members and workers of Willy St. and produces the results they require.
5. Describe your motivation in running for a seat on the Board of Directors.
I have a wide understanding of Willy Street’s operations, as I am currently an employee. Many other employees encouraged me to run because of my experience with cooperatives, finance, organizing and natural foods. I am also familiar with the cooperative natural foods industry, and know that the most successful and value-driven cooperatives include workers on their board because of their additional insight. As a director I can help Willy Street achieve results desired by members because of my experience, commitment to cooperatives, understanding of operations, and relationships with existing members.