By Daniel Patterson, Board Member, Co-op Owner
Like Chanticleer from the rooftop I call out now if only to wake my neighbors up – to wake you to your potential usefulness to the community that is GreenTree Cooperative Grocery as a member of the Board of Directors.
If you think you’re not qualified, you’re wrong, and I’m the living proof. Anyone on the Board will tell you that they had never lowered the bar quite so far as when I was elected. But here’s the enabling thing: they train you. Soon after your first Board meeting (where you receive a copy of the by-laws and board policies), the General Manager (the very capable Sarah Christensen) conducts a general orientation to the role and duties of Board members, as well as to the physical store itself, including even some rather gothic storage spaces.
Within a few months of your coming onboard, you’ll be offered a full-day’s professional training by the GreenTree’s national consulting group, Cooperative Board Leadership Development. They call this “Cooperative Board Leadership 101” and it’s paid for as part of GreenTree’s annual contract with CBLD.
Another enabling thing is that the Board meetings are welcoming, inclusive, positive, and tolerant, even of the degree of ignorance of all things mercantile I brought with me.
Besides, knowing nothing about business or running a store was always irrelevant anyway – the General Manager and her leadership team run the store. To help them do their amazing work, the Board stays out of their way. The Board oversees the regulations and policies that govern the Coop, considers agreements with outside entities for various purposes, and arranges finances for occasional projects (such as expansion).
If you like trite analogies, here’s one: If the General Manager and her leadership team are the captain and crew on deck, the GreenTree’s Board of Directors are the churning, rumbling engine belowdecks that keeps the thing moving forward.
My own journey to the Board began with fifteen years of just shopping here. I was a busy man, you know: firewood to haul in, classes to teach, students to frighten. A couple of years ago, though, one evening when my wife, Alison, and I were sipping a glass of vino on the deck canopied by the brilliant stars, she said, “The Coop is so much more than a store; it’s like a community center for the good health and ethical treatment of all people. I don’t know if I can imagine Mt. Pleasant without it.” Well, I was up a stump: I imagined a GreenTree-less Mt. Pleasant, and the wine lost its flavor. The next day, I nominated myself as a candidate for the Board and proved that anyone can help. In vino veritas.
The Board meets regularly on the third Wednesday of each month, from 6-8 p.m.
To put your name forward, fill out this form and submit it to the Board at email@example.com.