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Board of Directors: Notes From a Newbie PDF Print E-mail

by Anna Edson
June 2014

You may know Pamela at the customer service desk. She is the small woman from Texas with the million-dollar smile. She asked me last spring if I would want to run for the board, and I responded without too much thought, “Yeah, why not?” Then in June, she handed me a candidate packet. I guess she was serious! I thought about it: would I be able to understand the financial statements well enough? Would I feel intimidated by all of the knowledge and experience on the board? Still, maybe it would be a good thing to have another staff member on the board, to add knowledge about what happens on the store floor.

 

I’ve been working at the Co-op a long time, since 1998. I started in produce, spent some time in bulk and grocery, then went over to Dottie’s. I took a break for a little over a year, and then spent most of my time in the front end when I returned to the BFC. I am now one of the front-end supervisors, and one of the Shareholder Services coordinators.
So, I went to a couple of board meetings to get a feel for things. I just listened. I decided to run. I went to the annual meeting, my first one. After I was elected, the first activity was a board retreat, where I talked a lot with Lucinda, the board president. I also talked with Pam whenever I had any questions. In January, I went to the CBLD 101 Training, a full-day session called “Foundation for Board Leadership” put on by the Cooperative Development Services team. There, I learned a lot about the method the board uses to do its work, learned some basics about reading financials using our own BFC financials as a basis, and I got to talk with board members from other co-ops, like Putney, VT, and Belfast, ME.
Now, after six months, I am much more comfortable. I am starting to speak up more. The other board members have been very welcoming and encouraging, and even, at times, entertaining. I think I can be helpful with my store experience. I can bring the daily reality to bear on discussions, when it’s useful. And now, I am finding my voice.