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
1. Why are you interested in serving on the board of Bloomington Cooperative Services, Inc? I have a sincere and vested interest in helping people live healthy, balanced lives. My professional career focuses on promoting physical activity and wellness lifestyles. In order to do this, I believe many wellness principles have to work in harmony and these same principles are represented in the mission and ends statement of BCS. I value the relationships that Bloomingfoods has fostered in our community and I would be honored to continue contributing to our co-op by returning for a second term as a member of this board.
2. What experience or involvement have you had with Bloomingfoods or other cooperatives? I became a member-owner of Bloomingfoods a little over three years ago when I moved to Bloomington. I'm currently fulfilling my first term on the board of directors and serving as vice president. Also on the board, I am chair of the recently restructured Member Linkage Committee, and I'm participating on the patronage rebate committee, an ad hoc work group investigating the feasibility and logistics of providing this benefit to member-owners of our co-op.
3. What do you see as the role of BCS, Inc. in the community? Society is becoming more aware and interested in the nutritional value and safety of what we are eating, as well as the environmental and economic impact of growing, transporting, and consuming goods. BCS adds to the charm of Bloomington and has a unique and timely opportunity to help educate our community on wholesome and sustainable (environmentally, economically, socially equitable) living practices.
4. What are opportunities and challenges that you see in the future of the co-op? Discovering and evaluating growth opportunities and the sustainability of BCS is always critical as an organization looks forward. We have seen the successful opening of the Near West Side grocery one year ago and it will be important to watch for its continued profitability, as well as the sustainability and growth of our other two stores, in the future. One appropriate direction to consider at this time is how we maintain our position in the local and organic market as potentially alternative organic shopping options look to move into our neighborhoods.
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. The work and learning I have done during my first term on the BCS board has allowed me to become experienced with the policy governance model that our organization uses. This model has a fairly steep learning curve, but has proven to be a very effective and efficient way for our board to do its work. I am an Assistant Director for Fitness/Wellness at Campus Recreational Sports at IU and I have enjoyed working with AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, Inter-Faith Ministries, and Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in the past.
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). Working with others has always been friendly, communal, and rewarding for me. My experience on the BCS Board of Directors, as well as on other work groups, teams, etc., has helped me see that the strength of a group lays in the selfless contributions of each member working toward a common goal, in the interest of advancing the whole. Professionally and in voluntary capacities, I have come to know that successful outcomes call for respectful, unbiased communication.
7. How do your values and lifestyle align with the values and mission of the co-op? I value respect, kindness, integrity and balance for my life and our environment and feel this fits very well with the mission of BCS. I am passionate about the importance of ensuring a sustainable community and the significance of working together to promote fresh, locally grown and healthy foods. I am a conscientious person who recognizes the benefit and necessity of being intentional in an organizations efforts and I enjoy bringing these qualities to the organizations of which I am involved.