I am an enthusiastic candidate for the Co-op’s board of directors. Our Coop is a very special organization and if chosen as a member of the Board, I am committed to ensuring that our organization continues to be vital and visionary in ways that honor and respect the diversity of its members, employees and our community.
When I moved to the Upper Valley in 2001, I was looking for a ‘grocery’ store similar to Whole Foods. Previously living in metropolitan communities in the Boston and Washington, DC areas, I shopped at Whole Foods and similar stores for the quality of their food and attention to sustainable and organic products even though, admittedly, I really knew very little about what this all meant. Because I am an avid home cook and as such, I really enjoy food shopping. I was so happy to find the Lebanon Coop store and have been shopping at all our Coop stores for nearly 18 years.
What I have also learned over the past eighteen years is that our Coop is much more than just physical places to shop—it’s an integral part of our beautiful Upper Valley community. I know this because the Coop has taught me this and I have experienced this. From its relationship with local farmers and vendors and through the educational programs and resources it offers.
I appreciate also that our Coop supports other community organizations through its charitable giving program. As a nonprofit director, I am keenly aware of how important it is that organizations find ways to connect to support individuals and community. The Coop is committed to being a part of our community in new and diverse ways and that amazing.
If chosen to serve as a Board member on the Coop’s Board of Directors, I will serve with joy, care and attention. I will remain open and continuously strive to learn about our organization.
Q & A with Peggy
What interests you about serving on the Co-op’s Board of Directors?
I thoroughly enjoy going to the Coop and shopping. The variety and quality of the offerings in Coop stores makes for a great experience that translates into nutritious and delicious meals at home with family and friends. I appreciate that there is a lot that goes into making my and others shopping experience so enjoyable. I want to learn about how this all happens and support the incredible staff, board of directors and vendors who keep the Co-op so vibrant.
Please describe any experience you may have serving on a board, committee or community group.
I do have experience serving on boards and committees for nonprofit organizations. Currently, I'm on the board of directors for the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its past Vice Chair and Chair. This is a community board. My term on this board ends this fall. I also serve as Co-Chair of the VT Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. This is a membership board and WISE is a member. As a WISE's executive director, I have the pleasure of working closely with our Board of Directors.
Please describe any experience or skills that will help you be an effective board member.
I get feedback that I am a strong strategic thinker and someone who facilitates effective group process. I am honoring and respectful of people's contributions. I have a solid understanding of how to read financial reports and budgets. Lastly, my style is respectful and inclusive.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for the Co-op?
This is a great question and one that I am struggling to answer. If fortunate to join the Board, I look forward to learning what opportunities and challenges have been identified. What comes up for me, in an uninformed way, is how does the Co-op continue to be successful and a premier retailer in our community. The Upper Valley is a wonderful community where people want to collaborate and share. I think the Co-op's identity/brand reflects the special attributes of our community.
The opportunity and challenge might be how does the Co-op continue to be so amazing with an ever increasing competition to market of local and quality products. Does the Co-ops success signal to major retailers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods to move into our community because there is already a market? Again, I am not at all informed so this is a top of head response. I'm keenly aware that recruiting and retaining employees continues to be a challenge in our community with such low unemployment. Recruiting and retaining employees, who are the face of the Co-op, might pose a challenge.