Meet the Board Candidates!
Five seats are open on the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors. Make sure to vote by Tuesday, August 18th at 6:00pm. Candidates were given a 475 total word limit.
Statements are listed alphabetically; (I)=Incumbent.
There are 13 candidates. To vote online, please contact Customer Service; they will confirm you are an Owner in good standing, record your e-mail address and e-mail you a link to your unique ballot. To sign up to be e-mailed a link to your unique ballot, please e-mail with your first name, last name and member number. Please register 36 hours before voting online. Online voting runs through midnight on Sunday, August 16th. For more online voting information, see here.
Phone: (608) 251-4615
1. What needed skills or abilities will you bring to the Board of Directors in any of the following areas: finance, communications, short/long term planning, or cooperatives? Be specific.
In the 1970s I worked with food on three levels: producer, wholesaler and retail. First I worked as a part-time day manager for the New Paltz Food Coop in New Paltz, New York. I ordered the produce and managed the store and learned some basic retail principles about food.
For a year I worked at a worker-owned organic foods wholesaler, Community Produce in Seattle Washington. There I learned about wholesaling organic foods as well as taking part in running a worker-owned collective.
For a spring I interned at an organic farm—Cascadian Farm in Rockport, Washington—when it was still a strawberry and potato farm, well before it became a division of Birds-Eye. There I learned first-hand a thing or two about organic farming. All of these I would hope would help me be a better Coop board member.
2. What leadership positions have you held and what have you accomplished in those positions?
My most recent leadership accomplishments have come from been on the board of the Marquette Neighborhood Association for five years, the last year and a half as president
While on the MNA board I took the lead in the fundraising and development of two neighborhood development plans: 1) the Willy Street BUILD I Plan (2000) which focused on the 1100, 1200, 1300 blocks of Williamson Street, an area that includes the Coop. The other, Willy Street BUILD II Grant (2004), focused on the 600-1100 blocks of Williamson Street (2004). Both plans involved bringing various neighborhood organizations and groups together and securing funding of as much as $26,000 from MNA, Dane county and various private sources.
3. Please describe your experience with and approach to group decision-making processes. What do you think makes for good group process and what are some of the challenges?
As Winston Churchill once said, democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. The more people are given an opportunity to be involved the more likely they will support the final decision and the greater the chance of success. Group decision-making can be messy, time-consuming and costly, but in the long run an essential underpinning of democracy.
4. What do you think are the major issues the Co-op’s Board needs to address over the next five years? How will you use your skills to contribute to addressing the above issues?
It’s clear that the most pressing issues the Coop faces stem from its ongoing growth. Topping the list is the proposal to expand to a second site. The Coop’s single most limiting factor is the current site, which lacks both sufficient storage for a fast-moving inventory and increasing demand for patron parking. These pressures have resulted in a tension between two competing visions. One to acquire a second site to relieve the pressures of the current site; the other to safeguard what they cherish about the Coop by exploring other solutions. Without knowing more of the specifics I can’t say which I prefer. But I can say that I would approach this issue as I do others by carefully researching and listening before making a decision.