My first experience with the Co-op was becoming a member when my family moved to New Hampshire in 2016. After having spent years operating my small pie bakery, and working and managing local farmers markets, I was glad to have found local grocer who put all of the things that I personally valued into practice on a daily basis: supporting local food and agriculture, providing nutrition based education to the community, practicing leadership in environmental stewardship, and giving back to the community at large.
As I looked for more ways to become involved in this community, the Co-op came up again and again in both my interactions with customers at Scratch (the yarn shop I own in downtown Lebanon), as well as in conversations with community members and farmers in my work managing the Lebanon Farmers’ Market. I was in search of an opportunity to bring my strong interpersonal skills, as well as my perspective from years of experience with advertising, community outreach, event organizing, and educational programming to an organization in a different capacity than daily operations. The Board of Directors at the Co-op seemed like a great fit.
I joined the Board of Directors of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society in August of 2018. In that time, my understanding of the vital role that the Co-op plays in the Upper Valley has expanded greatly. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to act as the Board Liaison to the Co-op’s Member Engagement team, and appreciate how much work this organization dedicates to understanding it’s membership’s needs. This year I have taken on the role of administering the Allan and Nan King award to honor a community member who embodies the Cooperative Principle “Concern for Community”. My time on the Board has been an intensely educational experience. From developing a greater understanding of the Co-op’s vision and forward trajectory as a leader in our community, to receiving extensive training on effectively practicing policy governance as a board, I’ve found my footing as a board member, and hope to continue to serve the Co-op community.
Q & A with Jessica
What interests you about serving on the Co-op’s Board of Directors?
I’m running again this election cycle as I’d like to continue my work on the board.
Please describe any experience you may have serving on a board, committee or community group.
In addition to my experience outlined on my previous submission, I now have experience serving on the co-op board.
Please describe any experience or skills that will help you be an effective board member.
Recent months have taught me that there is a substantial learning curve when becoming acclimated to serving on the board. I feel that I’ve learned a lot and am looking forward to our retreat later this month.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for the Co-op?
The co-op has great opportunities for growth with the expansion of the service station, as well as other significant upcoming projects (such as plans for renovation of the Lebanon location). During this period one of the primary challenges will be navigating the process while adhering to cooperative principles and organizational goals.