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Basic Board Structure and Responsibilities

The co-op is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by the owners.
The Board is directly accountable to these owners for the activities and accomplishments of the co-op. Specific Board member responsibilities include:

  • Interacting with owners to understand the owners’ values for/visions of the co-op.
  • Developing, monitoring and revising a body of policies which guide the work of both the General Management Team and the Board to achieve outcomes consistent with the owners’ values and visions.
  • Using consistent monitoring mechanisms to ensure that management achieves goals set by the Board and that the Board itself operates in accordance with the goals and policies it has set for itself.  The Board has committed itself to doing its work through a governing system called “Policy Governance” (developed by John Carver). This is a significant philosophical position for both board members and management. Prospective members should carefully read the enclosed article, “Policy Governance and the Role of the Board” with the expectation that they will be working within this framework as new board members.

As stated in the co-op by-laws, the board consists of no more than nine members. Each must be a member in good standing.   Employees who are members are eligible to run. Each board member serves a term of three years.

Board Member Qualifications, Commitments and Rewards
Being an effective board member requires the following general skills and qualities:

  • Interest in serving the Willy Street Co-op and commitment to its mission and values
  • Ability to discuss conflicting goals and future implications of decisions
  • Ability to read financial statements
  • Communication and group process skills
  • Understanding of and commitment to Board requirements for confidentiality
  • Ability to meet time commitment of 8-10 hours per month
  • Commitment to learning about and becoming competent with Policy Governance

In addition, board members each bring more specialized skills to their service. They may include any of the following:

  • Business experience, retail or wholesale (especially grocery)
  • Experience working in or with complex organizations
  • Financial investment experience
  • Experience with real estate acquisitions
  • Labor relations and/or personnel management experience
  • Marketing experience
  • Financial analysis experience
  • Leadership and group facilitation skills
  • Other board of directors experience
  • Other co-op experience
  • Experience with food growing or preparation

The board meets once a month, currently on the third Tuesday of the month, 6:30p.m. to about 9 p.m. Advanced preparation for the Board meetings is required.  Board members also attend various member meetings, including the Annual Membership Meeting (2008, the second Thursday July) and work on outside projects or proposals. An annual two-day board workshop is generally held each year. Members also are encouraged to attend co-op national or regional conferences. The board provides special training for new board members and ongoing training for all board members. The chief reward for serving on the Board is the satisfaction that comes from doing useful work. Board members also receive a 15% discount on their store purchases.

Prospective board members prepare their application materials.  The application and nomination forms are due no later July 10th, 2008 at the Business Meeting of the Annual Membership Meeting.

Candidate information is shared with the membership and then elections are held from August 1st until August 19th when the Board will hold a special ownership meeting to count the votes.  Please plan to attend the annual meeting and be prepared to make a brief statement and answer member questions. Our goal is to have many nominations so that members have a choice in shaping their Board. We strive for contested elections!
Thank you for considering running for a board of directors seat for your co-op!