|Board of Directors Report: Interview with Jerelyn Wilson|
by John Hatton
You’re on the Co-op’s Board of Directors again, right? How is this different for you, the second time around?
So, yes, I’m on the board for a second time with over a decade in between. The biggest difference is the Co-op’s current circumstances. Rising to the top are two things: the Co-op’s tight finances and second, new leadership with Sabine Rhyne as general manager. If there is a time where change is going to happen – not likely to happen, but going to happen, it’s at the time of a change in leadership. And, in times of tight financial conditions, challenges abound. It’s a good time to be at the table of an organization that I care a lot about. If I think of the organizations that make me proud of our town and really glad to live here, the Co-op is at the top of the list.
We hear that you buy Co-op gift cards and use them to pay for your groceries! Why?
When purchasing something at a locally owned store I try always to write a check instead of using my credit card. I do earn miles with my credit card and enjoy the once-ina- while “free” trip, but not when it is at the expense of my local shopkeepers. It’s striking to learn the amount a retailer pays per month in fees to credit card companies. If I write a check, I’m not contributing to that line item in a local retailer’s expenses. That’s a good thing in my mind—keep the money local. Doing my monthly checking account reconciling, it was obvious that the majority of checks I’d write were to the Co-op. So why not write just one check a month for a Co-op Gift Card and make it for my monthly grocery budget, since I do 90% of my grocery shopping at the Co-op anyway? It works like a charm—a win-win situation. There’s only one check a month instead of multiple to reconcile and I’m more aware of keeping within my grocery budget as I don’t want to refill the card more than once in a given month. Again, all good things in my mind.
What’s your day job, and for how long have you been doing it?
I am an owner and full-time employee of BuildingGreen, Inc., a fifteen-person company that does contract work and serves building professionals with information on sustainable design and construction. As Outreach Director, I promote our two subscription-based websites to architecture firms as well as college and universities that have architecture programs.
What future do you see for our Co-op in five years? Twenty years? One hundred years?
I am imagining the Co-op as a local employer that is voted by its staff as the best working environment in town. It’s a food cooperative whose members show up in droves at the annual meeting to solve the world’s problems. It’s a grocery store where local people of all economic statuses find healthy and affordable food choices and feel comfortable with the social atmosphere. And it’s a place that continually cultivates a mutually supportive relationship with the local agricultural community.
What’s your favorite thing about the Co-op?
Favorite thing about this Co-op is that I’m surrounded by things really worth eating.
What’s your favorite thing to eat from the Co-op?
My favorite thing to eat at the Co-op is soup. I love soup. But the bowls make me crazy. I can never get from the far end of the deli to the café without spilling. Sorry guys! The Co-op also makes the best milk chai in town.Board Candidates!Have you ever wanted to be part of the visioning and governance for the Brattleboro Food Co-op?
Well, here’s your chance!
As Jerelyn Wilson says here, it’s a great way to be at the table of an organization that you care about! The BFC Board of Directors has begun its annual search for shareholders who want to get involved at a higher level. The board has two main roles in our Co-op: visioning for the future of the Co-op, and governing the Co-op through managing the General Manager. These are important and interesting tasks, and our board takes them seriously. We meet monthly, the first Monday evening of each month to review the Co-op’s
financials, consider reports from the General Manager, monitor and work on our policies, discuss the Co-op’s affairs—and have excellent dinners! We work hard, and work well together. If you’re interested, please look at the Board Candidate packet on the Co-op website, request one from Shareholder Services, or pick one up when you talk with your board members as they table.
Join us at a board meeting, from 5:15 to 8:30pm in the Co-op’s board meeting room, the first Monday of the month. We’d love to see you!
Jereyln Wilson is a member of the Board of Directors / Article-Interview by John Hatton, also a member of the Board of Directors