by Jeannine Bindl, Board Member
In November of 2017 your Board spent time with staff and Owners bagging groceries in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a pleasure to work with staff and meet more Owners. In 2018 we plan to host monthly tabling events as Stephanie mentioned last month. We are excited to meet more Owners and staff at these events, please come say “Hi!” The tabling times and locations for March, April and May are available on our website.
2018 Board Elections
It may seem early, but we are finalizing the election process for the 2018 Board election cycle. This is an exciting time to participate on Willy Street Co-op’s Board of Directors. If you have considered running in the past or are intrigued by the idea, come to a Board Information Meeting! Stay tuned for the Board Information Meeting schedule—it will be available on our website soon.
Introducing Stephanie Ricketts!
Stephanie is one of your newly-elected Board members, though she may be familiar to many of you already. She wrote many of our Board Reader Articles in 2017 and is a former employee of the Co-op. It was a pleasure to interview Stephanie; I am inspired by her passion for people and her positive outlook. I hope you enjoy learning about Stephanie as much as I did!
Jeannine Bindl (JB): What was your first memory of the Co-op?
Stephanie Ricketts (SR): When I was a freshman in college at UW-Madison, I remember taking the bus to the Co-op on the East side. It felt so far away! I walked into the store and was blown away by the produce and bulk foods sections. They were beautiful.
JB: How did you first learn about co-ops and which was the first co-op you joined?
SR: If you count credit Unions, my parents opened up a bank account for me when I was a kid at Bull’s Eye Credit Union in Stevens Point. After that, Willy Street Co-op and the Phoenix (a housing co-op just off campus) were the next cooperatives that I joined. I lived in housing co-ops through most of my undergrad years, and made some of my best friends in those houses!
JB: Awesome! What are your favorite three foods from the Co-op?
SR: Everything in the produce section and bulk food aisle. As a vegan, I rely on the Co-op for their quality produce, bulk food and plant-based specialty items to make healthy and nourishing meals. I also love Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream—it’s so good! The hot bar is great for my busy evenings—specifically the vegan macaroni and cheese. I might eat it every single day if it was always available on the hot bar.
JB: Do you have any favorite food traditions?
SR: My dad is from a Swedish background and my mom is Lebanese. As a result we spend a lot of family time making specific foods—such as Swedish meatballs or rolling grape leaves—for holidays and other special events. I really enjoy the process of making food with family and friends.
JB: You have been an employee at the Co-op in the past. How does that impact your boardship? What perspective does it provide?
SR: I worked as the Executive Assistant from 2008 until 2015. During this time I spent a lot of time with the Board of Directors, especially when I served as the Board liaison. My time in this role gave me a unique perspective of where we have been and makes me even more excited for where we are going.
JB: Besides being a Co-op Board Member, what else do you like to do with your time?
SR: I enjoy watching my cats be cats. I love spending time with my wife hiking and being outside. I also really enjoy crafting, from knitting to screen printing. Additionally, I am in the process of starting up a non-profit called Gather Madison with four other rad individuals. Gather Madison is the re-ignition of a non-profit that I founded a few years ago, called Eat for Equity Madison. Gather Madison will host community meals and then donate the profits to various non-profits in the Madison area. We are excited to start hosting meals, with our first planned for March!
JB: What are you most excited about in being a new Board member, and what do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges the Co-op will face over the next few years?
SR: The opportunity to do generative work is what I am most excited about. A lot of groundwork has been done in the past few years; I am excited to plan for the future. I am also passionate about driving positive change in the community. Two ways Willy Street Co-op can do that are: striving to make the Co-op an amazing place to work and great vendor relations.
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Costco’s involvement in the organic food market are examples of the challenges the Co-op will face. We need to continue focusing on what sets the Co-op apart.
JB: Is there anything else you would like owners to know?
SR: Thank you! Thank you for electing me.