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Shareholder Forum: The Value of Thoughtful Communication in a Cooperative PDF Print E-mail

by Mike Szostak

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill
Open communication among all stakeholders is vital to the successful operation of our Co-op. These stakeholders include: shareholders, staff (employees and management), producers, board members, shoppers and other community members. Thoughtful communication results in surfacing and implementing creative ideas, increased satisfaction among all stakeholders, and more timely and successful resolutions of problems and conflicts.

To this end, we are increasing our emphasis on providing different ways such communication can occur, thus encouraging participation by as many stakeholders as possible. In addition to our Food for Thought publication, these channels include:
Shareholder Forum Normally meets every 3rd Sunday of the month, from 5 to 7 pm in the Community Room, open to all shareholders and other community members. New agenda items can be added at any meeting; presently, ongoing items involve affordability, inclusiveness, governance, employee relations, and media outreach. Recently, this forum sponsored a very informative, “Meet the Board Candidates” session. In addition, written shareholder comments are being sought for possible publication in FFT.
Bridge Committee— Composed of representatives from the Shareholder Forum and board with the overall mission to ensure that effective communication occurs among all stakeholders.
Board Meetings— Normally meets on the 1st Monday of every month in the Board Room from 5:15 to 8:30. It is open to all shareholders. Because of space limitations and dinner accommodations, please contact Ann Wright if you would like to attend. Minutes of these meetings are available at Customer Services and on the BFC website.
Annual Meeting— At this meeting, which is open to all shareholders, the status of our Co-op is reported and shareholder input is encouraged. In the past, attendance has been disappointingly low so this year we tried something different to increase participation. We are pleased to report that over 100 shareholders attended the November 8 meeting at Scott Farm where many new ideas were generated. Stay tuned for details!

We welcome your active participation. It is only through everyone’s involvement that the true spirit of a cooperative can be realized and the full extent of potential benefits achieved.