The Second Cooperative Principe states, “cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members.” In compliance with that principle, we are now in the midst of our annual board of directors election. This is the opportunity for fully paid member-owners to participate in selecting the leaders who guide our business at the highest level. You can vote for this year’s candidates here or at any of our stores. Please take some time in the days ahead to read the candidate statements (presented at the survey site and in the September/October Bloomingnews) and select your choices for our board.
Board elections are just one way in which you can participate in guiding the course of your co-op. Another is by sharing your opinions in our annual member survey. Please take this opportunity to tell us what you think we’re doing well or could be doing better. The opinions expressed in the survey are both strictly confidential and highly influential in guiding our operations. Thanks!
Because of Bloomington Cooperative Services (BCS), people in Bloomington and South Central Indiana will have: a market for local, organic and healthy products, meeting the needs of consumers and producers, increased cooperative ownership that strengthens the local economy and community, a model of sustainable, profitable business, and an increased understanding of the local food system and its importance. These are all incredibly valuable and are the ends to which our organization strives, and a daily part of the life of a Bloomingfoods Board Member. Would you like to be a part of guiding this thriving cooperative business into the future?
Serving on the Board of Directors puts you in direct touch with the long-term vision of our shared enterprise. Ongoing education sessions and attendance at national and regional conferences bring you information about the global cooperative economy and how BCS fits into this larger world. In collaboration with staff leadership, the Board of Directors sets the policies through which our daily operations are conducted.
Other than being a Bloomingfoods member-owner in good standing, no prior experience or professional training is required to run for the board. Necessary training will be provided to newly elected Board members.
What kind of candidate is Bloomingfoods looking for? Over the years, highly motivated and capable BOD members have set a strong precedent for leadership. We hope to continue this tradition.
Are you a conceptual thinker who can grasp the big picture? Can you work in a group to oversee a vibrant developing organization and help it articulate and achieve its end goals? While every member is eligible to serve on the Board, certain skills and abilities make for useful and satisfied directors. They include:
• Integrity, flexibility, and common sense
• Communication and group process skills
• Leadership and facilitation skills
• Ability to see the big picture
• Ability to understand financial statements (training provided to all new BOD members)
• Ability to support a group decision, regardless of personal viewpoint
• Commitment to enhance the quality of life for our community
• A desire to learn
• Understanding of the cooperative movement and Bloomingfoods history
If you possess these qualities, Board membership could be for you. Board member candidate packets are now available at all Bloomingfoods locations. Please ask at the customer service desk to receive your information packet and candidate application form. Board members will review completed applications, interview potential candidates and approve a slate to be presented to the membership for voting in the month of September. The more than 11,000 members of Bloomington Cooperative Services cast votes online or in stores by October 1st to elect leadership which will direct us all into a dynamic future.
Now is the time to think about the issues your Co-op is facing. Currently, we have over 11,000 member-owners and typically gain over 70 new members every month. We have five retail locations and a huge involvement in local community affairs. We do what we can to support organic and local food producers. In other words, we are a success story.
At the same time, it is our success that is most likely to draw the attention of larger national health food chain stores and make them interested in moving to Bloomington. We would like to maintain our excellent position in the community. One of the main reasons for this desire is the way that co-operatives work. The co-op structure gives you a vote on what we do and how we grow.
How does this work? Every spring we have two or three board positions opening up. Applications are in all of the stores right now. We need directors who have an understanding of the importance of protecting our local food system during challenging times. We need people who have skills in communicating with others and generating positive action toward the common good. We need people who have experience with business finance and management. We need people who care and have the respect of those they care about. We need people who want to make their community stronger and better.
Fortunately, we know that there are many of you with these qualities and more. If you have a strong sense of where the Co-op needs to direct its energy in the coming years or know someone who does, now is the time to fill out and mail in that board application. Your term will not begin until November, but we would like to meet you and have you meet us at any regular board meeting to get acquainted.
A board is a team. As that team, we deal with making the policies that help to form and guide the General Manager's decisions. There are very specific guidelines for monitoring these policies and making sure that our business is in compliance with them. The board does not manage day-by-day in-store decisions such as what specific brands to carry—rather, the board decides by majority vote the long-term direction of the co-op. You are invited to become a board member if you are interested in sharing your vision and expertise.
Pick up your board application packet today or talk to that friend who is passionate about making all of the BCS stores even better. In the co-op business model, it is up to you to help steer the ship. Take the opportunity.
For the Board of Directors