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The Board plays a critical role in ensuring the continued success and health of this vital organization. It represents all the member-owners in developing and maintaining the vision and long-term viability of the Co-op. The Board does not run the stores, nor do they have direct control over the daily operation of them; that is the role of Management. Instead, the Board monitors the operations of the stores via Policy Governance®, a system of oversight and accountability that emphasizes values, vision, and the empowerment of both Board and staff, while clearly delineating the roles and responsibilities of each.
Want to get in involved?
The HCCS Board Election Committee is seeking candidates for the Board. Although the election is not until April 2019, we initiate the process now in order to give members time to consider running, ask questions and receive training in Board work. APPLY HERE.
Here’s a list of committees, including those that are open to members. VIEW HERE.
DATE: Wed., December 19
TIME: 6:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Hanover Board Room, Hanover Store
BOARD PACKET: DOWNLOAD HERE
Board Meeting Recap — November 28, 2018
Here’s a brief summary of key issues from the November board meeting:
GENERAL MANAGER’S REPORT
General Manager Ed Fox reported that the organization’s finances continue to look very good, especially since we are now heading into the busiest sales season of the year. Expenses also continue to track under budget. He did note, however, that the organization’s overall profit margin has eroded in recent months as a result of a combination of factors, including the boom in sales during the monthly Member Appreciation Days, the increasing number of Flash Sales, and a rise in the cost of goods. He was asked by the board to research this question in more detail and let the board know at what point he and the rest of management would feel such erosion has gone too far.
He also reported that things are progressing well for the opening of the new Service Center location in Norwich, VT., including filing of zoning permits and hiring for the new positions. Ed also thanked board members for their input into the draft of his 2019 business plan. He said he is currently in the process of incorporating that input into a finalized plan, which will be submitted in the December board packet and discussed at the December board meeting.
Finally, he noted that he has recently been contacted by several individuals and/or groups from nearby communities about the possibility of our Co-op opening additional stores in their locales or of our Co-op offering counsel on the starting of a new co-op. Those communities included Claremont, Plainfield, and downtown Lebanon, N.H., and St. Johnsbury, VT.
KUDOS FOR OUR FORMER GM
Board President Bill Craig reminded the board that former longtime General Manager Terry Appleby was recently informed that he is to be inducted into the national Cooperative Hall of Fame — which is considered “the highest honor that the U.S. cooperative community bestows on the extraordinary men and women who have made genuinely heroic contributions in support of the cooperative form of enterprise.” The board offered sustained applause to Terry, who was present at the meeting, and also authorized that a letter be sent from the board congratulating Terry on this major honor.
This month, the Board discussed the organization’s compliance with three policies. The General Manager’s reports on compliance with EL 2 (Financial Condition and Performance) and EL 10 (Appropriate Architecture and Design) were both accepted. There was some discussion, however, that the metrics in EL 10 might be more specific, and board members were encouraged to submit suggestions for new policy language to the Governance Committee.
The board also considered compliance with GP 5 (President’s Role), finding that compliance had not been attained with that policy during the past year. To address the lack of compliance, the board decided to make a few changes in the wording of the policy and to hire a governance consultant.
HIRING A GOVERNANCE CONSULTANT
The board has been considering engaging a consultant who can advise the board on being more strategic and effective. The board has considered presentations in recent months from two options — CDS Consulting Co-op, a cooperative of consultants who advise and support the work of consumer co-ops all across the country, and an organization called the Governance Coach, which advises both nonprofit and for-profit boards that use the policy governance model. The board decided, based on the strength and specificity of the Governance Coach’s proposal and on the board president’s and the general manager’s inclination toward that option, to authorize the board president to move forward with engaging the Governance Coach.
DONATION FROM THE FIVE COLLEGES BOOK SALE
The board was pleased to learn that the Hanover Cooperative Community Fund had received a donation of $200 from the organizers of the annual Five Colleges Book Sale, as an expression of appreciation for the Co-op’s willingness to have book-collection bins in our stores.
BRIDGES OUT OF POVERTY
The board participated in an interactive presentation/workshop on the Bridges Out of Poverty program, run locally by Granite United Way. Prudence Pease and Elizabeth Craib described the program, which operates in 50 states and 14 countries. Originally formed to help students from pre-school through college, it has now expanded into a comprehensive approach to understanding poverty. It provides concrete tools and strategies for a community to begin to alleviate poverty. The program also offers training to employers, community organizations, and social service agencies.
The board was introduced to the theory of “mental models” and was asked to consider the question “Why do you think what you think?” They considered different categories of poverty (generational and situational), of the middle class (which encompasses a huge variation in income levels), and of wealth (which may be generational). And they learned that those who live in generational poverty value relationships and typically operate in survival mode, while those in the upper middle class value achievement and typically operate in “future” mode.
The board members were asked to consider how, as a major employer in the region, some of the Co-op’s employees, despite having full-time jobs, may be operating in the survival mode of poverty, and thus it behooves supervisors, management, and even the board to understand that lens of looking at the world.
COMMITTEE/TASK FORCE UPDATES
Victoria Fullerton, a member of the Election Committee, updated the board on the committee’s readiness for the 2019 board member election. The deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy is January 7, 2019. Victoria asked for volunteers for “tabling” to recruit candidates during the stores’ Taste of Tradition events and also reminded everyone that all board members have a responsibility to try to recruit qualified candidates.
Kevin Birdsey, chair of the Governance Committee, gave an update on the committee’s work on a board handbook, which is projected to be finalized by the time new board members are seated in May 2019. He also asked for feedback on a proposed board correspondence protocol that was included in the board packet.
The next regular board meeting will be Wednesday, December 19, at 6:00 p.m. in the upstairs Board Room at the Hanover store.
Your comments are always welcome. president [at] coopfoodstore.com (Feel free to send an email.)
Thomas graduated from the University of NH with degrees in Philosophy (BA) and Education (Masters). Attended the Gemological Institute of American and holds the title of Graduate Gemologist. Currently, Special Education Teacher in the Lebanon school district. Work experience in the private and public sector and entered the teaching profession later in life. Spending most of working years in retail as sales manager of family’s wine/liquor brokerage company and gaining experience in sales and merchandising. The sales force worked very closely with grocers in NH, Maine and Vermont. In addition, having past experience serving as a board member on a variety of boards over the years. For example, served on Rockingham Community Action, as well as the Board of Commissioners in Rockingham County. Tom feels that the fabric of a community is woven with threads of community service. At the end of the day, you are judged less by what you have gained and more by what you have given. Term ends 2020.
Kevin has worked for the Co-op since 2002. Most of that time having been in the Front End department at the Hanover store, currently he can be found at the Community Market. When not working, Kevin is a student and assistant instructor at White River Budokan, a traditional martial arts school in White River Junction. Having spent his adolescence and early adulthood in Hanover, Kevin now lives in Lebanon. Term ends in 2019.
Liz Blum, Vice President:
Co-op principles and values are important to Liz Blum and that is why she serves on the Board. Liz is a retired Occupational Therapist. She worked in many settings in Vermont and New Hampshire: Visiting Nurse, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and clinics. She likens occupational therapy to a jigsaw puzzle because it concerns problem solving and putting the pieces into place. Liz was a member of the Boston Women's Health Collective that produced the groundbreaking book: Our Bodies, Ourselves. She has been an advocate for universal, single-payer health care for 30 years and continues to work for it. Liz has served on a number of Boards including the Norwich (VT) Selectboard and the Norwich Board of Listers. She is on the State Committee of the Vermont Progressive Party. In the summer you may find her riding her bike or in the garden. Term ends 2020.
William Craig, President:
William is a writer and educator. He is the author of Yankee Come Home: On the Road from San Juan Hill to Guantanamo, and teaches writing at Dartmouth College. Many in the Upper Valley remember him as a former Valley News writer and editor. He is a former Headrest staffer and board member. You can find him playing bass in bands around the region. Term expires 2019.
After 22 years as a Co-op employee, Rosemary retired from her position as the Co-op’s Education Director in 2015. Prior to joining the Co-op’s staff, she worked in clinical pathology at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and cancer research at Dartmouth Medical School, and, with her husband, Don, owned Vermont Everlastings, growing certified organic perennials, annuals, herbs, and dried flowers.
She has served on the boards of several area non-profits as well as the Norwich Farmers Market and the Thetford School Board, and also enjoyed several years on the board of Cooperative Development Institute, an organization assisting consumer cooperatives, worker cooperataives, and resident-owned housing cooperatives across New England and New York. She began her cooperative involvement in 1971 as a young mother portioning out raisins and oatmeal as required by her buying club in Madison, Wisconsin, and has lived in the Upper Valley since 1974, where she was thrilled to find a full-fledged food co-op with a real storefront and paid employees.Term ends in 2021.
Worked in the art and film world, as a publicist, photographer, picture researcher and producer until bringing up her children, by far her most creative project. Now catching up with the digital age, she works as a freelance writer and artist for public awareness campaigns. She lives in Norwich, Vermont, and volunteers for the Rapunzel Project in an effort to bring it to the New England states and to make it available to all. Term ends in 2021.
One of the owners of Scratch, a yarn shop specializing in fine fiber and indie-dyed yarn located in downtown Lebanon. She’s currently serving on the Arts & Culture Taskforce, is also the Farmers’ Market Coordinator for the City. Jessica has spent the last fifteen years as a small business owner, and has been directly involved in local food production and farmers markets since 2011. She lives in Lebanon with her family, their four dogs, many chickens, and a surly rabbit.Term ends in 2019.
Dana Cook Grossman, Secretary:
Dana is the director of publications emerita for Dartmouth Medical School, where for 25 years she edited the award-winning quarterly magazine Dartmouth Medicine. Since 2011, she has been a full-time freelance editor and writer; her clients include PBS Nova, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. She's also been very active in civic affairs, including chairing the Thetford, Vt., School Board. Dana and her husband, Dan, have lived in Thetford since 1972 and been members of the Co-op since 1973; they have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. Term ends in 2019.
A Co-op Food Store employee since 1994, Ed started at the Hanover Co-op Food Store as Manager of the ‘B.I.N.’ Department (Bulk, International, & Natural Foods). An active part of much Co-op growth since, becoming a Co-op Merchandiser at the start of the Lebanon Co-op Food Store in 1997. To broaden his Co-op experience and service, Ed was elected to the Co-op’s Board in 2003 and served for two, 3-year terms until 2009.
In addition to merchandising, in 2014 Ed took on the Co-op’s category management co-ordination responsibilities and also became the Co-op’s liaison to the National Co-op Grocers, a 148 food co-op co-operative with over 200 stores in 38 states and combined annual sales of nearly $2 billion and over 1.3 million consumer-owners. Co-operatives working together is the only way to ensure our continued success serving our members! Starting up again as a Board Director in 2016, he has been active with committee work to improve the Board’s new director election process. Term ends in 2019.
Benoit Roisin, Treasurer:
Benoit is Professor of Engineering Sciences at Dartmouth College (under the name of Benoit Cushman-Roisin, having hyphenated his wife’s name to his for all professional activities), where he has developed new courses in sustainable design and industrial ecology. Some of his students’ projects have been adopted by the Co-op and the Town of Hanover to reduce their environmental footprint. He is the author of three books and is working on a fourth. In addition, Roisin maintains an active consultancy in water issues and energy efficiency. He has volunteered his expertise for several non-profit organizations, including The Haven and COVER. He has served on the Co-op’s Board of Directors intermittently since 2003. Term ends in 2020.
Ann Shriver Sargent:
Ann has spent most of her life living and working and raising her three children in New England. For the past 29 years, she has been a business owner, designer, and buyer in the home furnishings/interior design field. Currently, she is co-founder and president of Porte-cochère, a membership based service that connects premium and luxury furnishing manufacturers and prequalified interior designers. Ann’s vision for Porte-cochère is the outgrowth of her belief that companies committed to quality in design, integrity of materials and a commitment to building long-term professional relationships will find valued partners in the design community. Ann lives with her husband 4 horses, 4 goats and dog on a farm in Norwich Vermont. Term ends in 2020.
Jessica Saturley-Hall is the owner and founder of the Upper Valley Compost Company and the New Hampshire Compost Company, which provide residential and commercial composting services and consulting. Jessica received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College and her MBA from Cornell University. She has spent fifteen years working in the food, agriculture, and grocery businesses, and has held positions in new product development, marketing, and operations. Jessica lives in Lebanon with her husband, Harrison, and their two dogs. Term ends in 2021.
Responsibilities of the Board
The purpose of the Board, acting on behalf of the Co-op’s members, is to set strategic long-range direction, hire the General Manager and monitor organizational performance.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Representing all Co-op members in determining and demanding appropriate organizational performance.
- Ensuring adequate communication between members and the organization, including working mechanisms to determine member needs.
- Ensuring that members are well-informed about the nature of the cooperative, the activities conducted by the cooperative, and the results it achieves with respect to its Ends Policies.
- Ensuring that members understand the industry of which the cooperative is a part and can consider the activities of the cooperative in the context of relevant markets.
- Ensuring that members understand the different interests and stakeholders that exist within the cooperative.
- Ensuring that the cooperative continually analyzes changes in its membership and its environment, regularly revisits Ends-related issues in light of such changes, and innovates to meet changing member needs.
- Producing written governing policies that, at the broadest levels, address each category of organizational decision.
- Evaluating General Manager performance against Ends and Executive Limitations policies on a regular basis.
- Monitoring Board performance and providing effective leadership using the Policy Governance process.
- The Board is not involved in the daily operations of the stores. Board members have a duty to represent the member-owners at large and not a particular constituency and to act in the members’ best interests, consistent with the Co-op’s values, principles and policies.
Responsibilities of a Director
Directors are fiduciaries of the cooperative and shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the cooperative values and principles.
Each Director must:
- Inform him or herself so as to be able to carry out the foregoing.
- Be committed to perfect or near-perfect attendance at Board meetings.
- Be willing to serve on at least one Board subcommittee.
- Be familiar with the Co-op’s bylaws and governing policies.
- Be willing and able to prepare for, and actively participate in, monthly Board meetings.
- Be able to attend Board training sessions, the annual retreat, and the annual member meeting.
- Be able to understand financial statements (training provided).
- Be willing to take responsibility for Board duties and work together with understanding, mutual support, and respect.
During their terms in office, Board members and their spouses/partners receive a 20 percent discount on store purchases and a 10 percent discount on auto repair service and related parts, subject to the restrictions and eligibility requirements noted below. The discount amount is taxable income for board members.
The following products are NOT eligible for the 20 percent discount:
- Annual case lot sale items
- Motor oil
- Fedco orders
Products purchased by the case, which are not part of the annual case lot sale, will receive the 20% discount only; the normal 5% “case discount” will not apply.
Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.
193 A St.
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