Three seats are open on the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors. Make sure to vote by August 16th at 6:00pm; paper ballots are available in each store. Candidates were given a 475 total word limit. Statements are listed alphabetically; (I)=Incumbent. There are seven candidates. To vote online, please contact Customer Service at 251-6776 or 284-7800; 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. Please register 36 hours before voting online. Online voting runs through 11:59pm on Sunday, August 14th.
1. What skills or abilities will you bring to the Board of Directors in any of the following areas: finances, communications, short/long term planning, or cooperatives? Feel free to add other qualities you would bring to the Board.
I have been a consultant to non-profit Boards in strategic planning, leadership development and governance for over a decade, so I understand Board roles and procedures. I am adept at coalition building, helping groups see common ground and work together to achieve more. I readily grasp the big picture and can devise a workable plan for getting there.
I have years of retail experience, including four with Magic Mill Natural Foods, so have some understanding of what it takes to run this type of business.
I communicate well with any kind of audience, from school-kids to professionals to neighbors. I love to write on any topic—see my blog for examples: kjbpod.wordpress.com.
Above all, I have a passion for good food, local, sustainable agriculture and community involvement.
2. What leadership positions have you held and what have you accomplished in those positions?
In 2008, I started my own consulting business, developing a business plan, marketing plan, and budget. I made use of my connections to build a presence and develop a client list. This has been the biggest test of my “leadership” abilities so far!
I have led fundraising efforts for local schools, formed and led educational campaigns on policy issues and have planned multi-day conferences for hundreds of participants.
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 a strategic plan facilitator, I lean toward consensus-based decision making. This system works if participants are provided sufficient information in a timely manner, and are allowed opportunities to make a case for their viewpoint. There are situations where it is appropriate to delegate decision making to a smaller group or an individual, provided they are given guidelines within which to operate. In either case, a balance must be struck between ensuring all viewpoints are heard and making timely decisions. One challenge in any decision making process is a reluctance to risk failure.
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 those issues?
One issue that the Coop may need to address is food security—the increasing number of Dane County residents without steady access to food. The Board’s role is to consider how the Coop should be a part of the solution. Another issue are attempts to erode the meaningfulness of “organic” and “sustainable” labels for food products as big agriculture and producers try to game the system.
5. How would you help to encourage greater Owner involvement in elections, Owner forums and meetings?
As the Coop has grown, it has been hard to maintain the small community feel of its earlier days. Some steps that could revive involvement by Owners: Online forums where member comments could be made to the group as a whole for discussion. Inviting Owners to join committees of the Board for specific projects or ongoing policy discussions. Sharing minutes immediately after each Board meeting. Making a tshirt or hat that says “WSGC Board Member” for Board members to wear when they shop, to encourage other members to stop and chat.