NOTE: If elected, William (Bill) Craig will be declining this seat on the Board of Directors. (Announcement made at Co-op Annual Meeting, April, 6 2019.)
I’m applying for a second three-year term on the Board. I’ve been serving as Board president for most of the last two years.
I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been of service to the Co-op and my Upper Valley neighbors. I ran for the Board during a difficult time in Co-op history, and I’m proud of the way all the Board members in that first year pulled together in respectful service. Differences of opinion were subordinated to Board unity and the community’s needs.
Working together and often in concert with staff and community, the Board has accomplished a great deal over these years, including the hiring of a new General Manager, the elimination of at-will hire-fire, election process reform, a resolution of the B share problem and the initiation of a new consultancy relationship to restore Board governance education. I’m happy to be able to say that I helped guide some of those efforts.
The Board has established a supportive working relationship with the new GM, monitoring and encouraging tremendous changes, from renovations to the new Service Center and a move to new Co-op central offices. This Board has routine access to more and better financial and performance information than any preceding Board. I believe the Co-op is in much better shape than it was three years ago.
Good Board work – and Policy Governance practice – require a difficult discipline. It’s easy to forget that Board leadership isn’t operational kibitzing. We’re not co-managers of the stores. We represent membership by practicing fiduciary oversight and strategic leadership.
The Board has a lot of work to do to create policies and practices establishing a permanent culture of effectiveness, efficiency and strategic leadership. By seeking another term, I’m hoping to provide my share of continuity to that effort.
Q & A with William
What interests you about serving on the Co-op’s Board of Directors?
The Co-op is one of our region’s most significant employers, not only for its hundreds of jobs but also for the many jobs in food production and other fields supported by the Co-op’s commitment to our local economy. It’s wonderful that this crucial institution is member-owned. Serving as a Board member gives me the chance to serve my neighbors. Our Co-op is a leader in as national movement toward healthy local foods, fair-pay local jobs, vibrant local economies and global environmental stewardship.
Now I’m running for another term so I can help continue the work we’ve been doing over the last three years. The Board has made great progress in fair and transparent elections, greater organizational transparency, improved governance and stronger financial practice. Much of this was accomplished working alongside our GM, Ed Fox, who was hired through a very successful Board-led process. It has been a busy three years, and there’s lots more to do.
Please describe any experience you may have serving on a board, committee or community group.
I have served my first term on this Board, and I have served on other Boards, including that of Headrest.
Please describe any experience or skills that will help you be an effective board member.
I think the most important knowledge an incumbent brings to the Board is experience with its current development and projects in progress. My own skills include lifelong work as a writer and editor, which has come in handy in a lot of Board work and allowed me to be useful to staff as well.
I hope members will take the time to read my full statement. It describes Board efforts I’ve been a part of or led. There’s follow-through to accomplish on all our work, and I hope to be a part of it. Right now, I’m especially grateful for the Board’s involvement in governance education. We needed that help, and I am glad to have been a leader in obtaining it.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for the Co-op?
The grocery business is terribly competitive. The success of cooperatives depends on their close connection to member-owners. I look forward to the Board’s collaboration with staff in ever-more-effective outreach campaigns, from communications to marketing to volunteer opportunities.