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Meet Your New Board Members!

gigi godwin

GIGI GODWIN

"Greetings! As an Owner, when I walk into the Co-op, I always feel welcome. As a potential Board of Director, I want to work both behind the scenes and out in the community to ensure that all Owners feel included, important, and most of all, welcome at Willy Street Co-op."

1. Why do you believe Owners should choose you to represent them?

Since last September, I have attended eight Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors meetings as a Guest Owner. Over those many months, I have developed a keen understanding of the energy and effort needed in order to serve on the Board. My dedication as a future Director includes being prepared for, and attending, meetings; writing for The Reader; belonging to at least one Co-op Committee; and tabling at special events. I eagerly await the opportunity to engage in meaningful and thoughtful conversation with my fellow Directors in order to make well-informed decisions regarding Co-op Policy Governance. Time to brush up on Robert’s Rules of Order!

2. What skills and experience do you bring to the position of Board Director?

In 2017 and 2019, I had the privilege of serving on the Co-op’s Access Discount Program Committee. This program provides Owners who have financial need a 10% discount on their groceries and other items. This past term, the Committee increased the number of qualifiers to ensure that even more people receive the Access Discount. In May 2019, I participated in FairShare CSA Coalition’s Food Access Committee. Our group brainstormed on expanding the framework of FairShare’s Partner Shares Program (PSP), which helps individuals/households with financial assistance (50%/up to $300) to purchase Community Supported Agriculture produce shares from farms that support PSP. Finally, last July, I was interviewed for the August 2018 Reader cover story: “Shopping on a Tight Budget: An Owner Shares Her Story.” I discussed using the Co-op’s Access Discount Program, Double Dollars vouchers for produce purchases, in-store coupons, buying in bulk, and more. You can read the article here: https://www.willystreetcoop/august-2018/shopping-on-a-tight-budget-an-owner-shares-her-story.

3. WSGC is founded on the seven International Cooperative Principles. Please choose one of the principles and describe how you think the Board can encourage and foster that in our cooperative.

When it comes up in conversation that a person isn’t an Owner of Willy Street Co-op, I have asked “why?”. And the reply I most often get is this: “I don’t think that I make enough money to shop at the Co-op.” In order for people to feel accepted and welcome at the Co-op regardless of their economic status, I would encourage the Board to expand on Cooperative Principle #1 (Voluntary Open Ownership) to include: “Open to all without income discrimination.” Through the Board’s continued community outreach, we can spread the word that fresh, healthy, delicious, seasonal, organic, locally grown/produced food is available for all at the Co-op.


ann hoyt 200px

ANN HOYT

“Local, national and international cooperative experience, competent, informed, connected, innovative, dedicated."

1. Why do you believe Owners should choose you to represent them?

As one of your directors I will work to ensure the cooperative works to discover how we can best serve all members’ needs in an equitable and inclusive way. I will also work to ensure the financial stability and competitive sustainability of the cooperative; local cooperative ownership; continuing innovation in services; and effective community outreach. 

2. What skills and experience do you bring to the position of Board Director?

I have served as an Interim Director of the Board since last November. With extensive governance, cooperative, finance and research experience, I look forward to continue serving our members in our increasingly competitive environment.  I am a retired University of Wisconsin professor where I was a Consumer Cooperative Specialist for UW Extension and taught Retail Financial Analysis in the Department of Consumer Science. As part of my work, I directed the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (the U.S. food cooperatives’ national conference) for 25 years. I have trained several thousand cooperative and non-profit directors and managers throughout the country and am well-versed in the Policy Governance model practiced by your Board. I served on the board of the UW Credit Union for 21 years, nine years as chair, and am currently the Board Chair of Group Health Cooperative in Madison. Currently I am a Senior Consultant with the Overseas Cooperative Development Council in Washington, D.C. and an Ombudsperson at UW-Madison. 

3. WSGC is founded on the seven International Cooperative Principles. Please choose one of the principles and describe how you think the Board can encourage and foster that in our cooperative.

The 6th Cooperative Principle, “Cooperation among Cooperatives”, states that cooperatives best serve their members and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together. Currently, through their national trade association, US consumer, worker, producer and purchasing cooperatives, are working together on an ambitious goal. Inspired by Principle 6, they are focused on using the cooperative business model to foster a more equitable and inclusive global economy. Our Board can encourage co-op staff and members to join this effort. We can continue to be leaders in establishing strong connections throughout the local cooperative and non-profit communities. We can encourage organizations and their members to participate in international cooperative development efforts. As cooperatives, we can work together to pool our resources and our members in an effort to increase equity in access to food, housing, health care, transportation and financial security for everyone who lives and works here. 


sarah larson 

SARAH LARSON

“I am committed to building a stronger community and stronger Co-op and promise to make sure all stakeholders have input and to represent the membership/owners with integrity. Willy Street Co-Op is a strong, successful, values-based business and I would like to do my part to help it remain so.”

1. Why do you believe Owners should choose you to represent them? 

I am passionate about what the makes a co-op unique from the membership structure, to the governance structure, to how it engages and gives back to not only its internal community (employees and members) but the community at large. Co-op’s have been an important part of my life: I worked the front end at People’s Co-Op during college and have worked with buyers in co-ops across the nation. I would love the opportunity to contribute to the overall governance and success of the Willy Street Co-op by serving on the Board. 

2. What skills and experience do you bring to the position of Board Director? 

I am driven by food in all aspects of my life: from my career, to my hobbies: cooking and volunteering, to my derby name: Gouda Riddance. I have been a Sales Manager for teraswhey? and Tribe 9 Foods giving me key natural and specialty food industry knowledge. I have previous board experience through Slow Money Wisconsin (and others) and I most recently served on the City of Madison Public Market Development Committee. I am an active member of volunteer, member-run, Madison Roller Derby where I am starting my third year as our league Treasurer. I currently work at the Food Finance Institute where our mission is to help every food and farm business reach profitability. My food industry expertise, business experience, financial acumen, and familiarity with member-based organizations will allow me to proactively contribute to the ongoing work of keeping the Co-op profitable and relevant to its members, employees, and its community. 

3. WSGC is founded on the seven International Cooperative Principles. Please choose one of the principles and describe how you think the Board can encourage and foster that in our cooperative.

The Co-op enacts Co-op principle 7-Concern for Community through programs like $5 Community Meals, the Community Reinvestment Fund, and the Retail Ready lab. As the co-op embraces a profitable year (in all stores) and prioritizes improving current operations and efficiencies (over expansion) the opportunity is ripe to ask key questions of membership, regarding P7. What does being a “cornerstone of a vibrant community” mean to our members now and across all locations? If a key to the co-op mission is supporting local and organic producers is there more we can do for this community and does that look different across stores? What does showing concern for community mean to members today and what would that impact look like in 5 years, in 10 years? Are there collective (across all location) priorities and differing individual store priorities? If this data and strategy already exists, how do we do more (Are there community partnerships that could increase our impact?), engage more members, and better tell our story?