Sometimes in life you find yourself in a group of people that work so well together, are so simpatico, that you want the group to stay together forever. For the past two years, the Co-op Board of Directors has been one such group for me.
Leading up to the recent nominations and elections of new Board members, the Board Development Committee spent time discussing what we lacked on the Board—representation from Middleton, for example, or a broader age range. We used that discussion to help in recruitment strategies. Our goal is as much diversity on the Board as there is among our Owners. Or perhaps more—one idea we’ve had is that if the Board looked more like the communities we’d like to serve, members of those communities might feel more comfortable shopping in our stores.
However, recent departures from the Board reminded me that all the talk of what was missing from our group ignored the reality of the amazing talents and smarts we do have! The Board of Directors says good-bye to two of our bunch this fall—George Hofheimer and Sonia Kubica Simões—both of whom have brought exceptional clear thinking and an array of smarts to our meetings and decision-making.
George joined the Board in 2006, and served as Board President from 2009 to 2012. He was our fearless leader through the opening of Willy West, guiding the Board through the process of setting parameters, goals and “plan Bs” for the staff to use as they dealt with the nitty gritty work of how many shelving units to buy, what floorplan to set up, and how to reach out to our new Middleton community. Last year George gracefully passed the reins to our incumbent President, but stayed on the Board to complete his term.
Sonia Kubica Simões
Sonia was elected to the Board in 2010, and finishes her three-year term this year with a bang. She is off to new adventures in New York City—including perhaps sharing the strengths of Willy Street Co-op with a new co-op in Brooklyn.
At her last Board meeting, Sonia, when asked to reflect on her service to the Co-op, said, “Being part of this Board has been the best thing about my time living in Madison.” After a tearful round of “Awwwws,” she explained that in part it was feeling that her work contributed to a stronger Co-op and stronger ties to its community, and in part it was the people on the Board with whom she served.
The Board changes every year as Directors finish terms and depart and new people are elected. This adds the strength of fresh perspectives and ideas. That strength builds on what was left by former members—a group of people from different backgrounds and lives whose common interest has always been a healthy, strong, effective Willy Street Co-op.