Board Elections

Time to Vote - 2014 Board Election and Annual Member Survey

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!

Board Election Announcement

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. 

BCS 2008 Board Election

ImageIt is time for the annual member-owner vote for the election of directors to the Bloomington Cooperative Services (BCS) board. One of the things that distinguishes cooperatives is that they are governed by member-elected directors, according the the 2nd cooperative principle of Democratic Member Control. At BCS, we have an election each year for either 3 or 4 members of a 7-member board. This year, the following people are in contest to fill 4 positions: Janice Lilly, Joellen Muyskens, Art Sherwood, Donna Stroup, and Tomi Whitaker. 
Fully-paid members of the co-op receive a ballot in the mail that includes the candidates' statements. Winners of the election will be announced at the Annual Meeting, held in October and open to members and their guests. Watch for your ballot in the mail, and be sure to participate in the election! One member household equals one vote.
To introduce themselves, each candidate has answered the following questions.


Board Call for Candidates

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.

Carol Bridges
For the Board of Directors

Candidate Statement: Janice Lilly

Janice Lilly

Image1. Why are you interested in serving on the board of Bloomington Cooperative Services, Inc?  For 15 years I have enjoyed shopping at Bloomingfoods, reading the newsletter and getting to know people who work there. I believe Bloomington Cooperative Services embodies the kind of business we need to build in order to have a sustainable future.  With my background in finance and in community involvement I believe I have some skills to assist in the continued development of this business.
2. What experience or involvement have you had with Bloomingfoods or other cooperatives?  I have been a member of Bloomingfoods for 15 years. Before that I was a member of Sevananda in Atlanta. Before that I helped organize a food co-op at UCLA to serve students there.
3. What do you see as the role of BCS, Inc. in the community?  I see BCS, Inc. as serving several roles in the local community. First, Bloomingfoods serves the role of providing healthy, organic and local food to the community through the stores, the delis, the catering business and the Farmers' Market. Second, I see BCS working to educate the community on the many issues of sustainable foods. Third, BCS supports local programs around food such as Plant a Row for the Hungry.  Finally, I believe, as a cooperative, BCS serves as a model of how business can benefit the community.
4. What are opportunities and challenges that you see in the future of the co-op?  I believe the opportunities that exist for BCS are in expanding its role within the community. I believe education continues to be a vital component in building a sustainable future and that BCS can have an important role in this. I certainly believe many challenges and opportunities exist in developing our food supply in more sustainable ways and in making this food more available to all members of our community. There are always challenges in building and maintaining a successful business based on a cooperative model because this model is by definition inclusive. However, it is also this inclusivity that produces great rewards and benefits for the community.
5. Please share any professional, volunteer, or life experience you have had that will provide insight when serving on the BCS board of directors.  Include knowledge, skills, formal training, and education that will contribute to the mission of our co-op.  I have a graduate degree in economics and finance and had a 10-year career in the corporate world working with large and small businesses. I helped start a food co-op at UCLA while I was a graduate student there. I have served 6 years on the Advisory Board for the Bloomington Farmers' Market, two of those years as chair.
6. What has been your experience in working cooperatively with small groups of people (such as being a member of a committee, team sports, or volunteer as part of a work group for any organization).  In addition to serving on the Farmers' Market Board, I have also served on the Parent Governing Boards of Hoosier Courts Cooperative Nursery School and Bloomington Montessori School. I served on the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church. I have been a volunteer teacher and tutor of math at Rogers, Binford and Tri-North.
7. How do your values and lifestyle align with the values and mission of the co-op?  My family made a commitment when our children were young to eat, as much as is available, local and organic foods. We did this not only for our own well-being but for the well-being of our planet. We grow some of our own food, organically, and we share the delicious wonders of great local foods with guests in our home.  We have been longtime supporters of Mother Hubbard's Cupboard and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. I have written an article for the newsletter of the Local Growers' Guild and support their work and their Winter Market.