March 14th and 15th your Board of Directors met for our annual retreat. The retreat is an opportunity for us to think strategically, build skills, and share perspective.The extended meeting time allows us to have more intense deep conversations.
Typically, we meet all day on a Saturday. This year we extended our meeting time to the Friday evening before. Friday we met from 4:30pm to 8:30pm at The Mermaid Cafe. Saturday we met from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the University of Wisconsin Union South. The participants were the entire Board of Directors, General Manager Anya Firszt, Board Administrator Dan Neely, and two consultants.
This year our consultants were Brian McDermott and Gerry Sexton of GrowthWorks. They came to us highly recommended from Seward Cooperative Grocery and Deli in Minneapolis, MN. Specific experiences we wanted to draw from were measuring our triple bottom line and strategic meaningful growth. Willy Street Co-op does many things beyond selling good food. How we measure those and notice trends is not always easy. The Board of Directors is determined to keep environment, community, workplace, and Owner satisfaction all part of how we measure success.
The 2014 retreat had four goals:
- Assess and align the Board of Directors’ interpretation of our goals, mission, and purpose.
- Identify strategic priorities from our goals, mission, and purpose.
- Create a plan to achieve the strategic priorities with the General Manager and her team.
- Clarify criteria for vetting growth opportunities that will best serve the Owners.
Your Board thinks about growth more than you might expect. In 2013, our retreat was a collaborative discussion with about 60 individuals from 24 cooperatives. We talked about why growth matters, what successful growth looks like, and how cooperative leaders engage Owners and the community. Opportunities to expand healthy, local, sustainable food and the cooperative business model to new areas are exciting. The Board of Directors wants to be sure growth flows with our values.
Our stated goal is to have a strategic plan and road map for implementation to share with you at the Annual Meeting and Party. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 10th.
The next Board of Directors Meeting is April 15th, 2014 at 6:30pm. Location is scheduled for Willy East but may be moved due to the remodel—please check the Willy Street Co-op website calendar for the right location.