I’d never been a shareholder before. Being part of a community has always been important to me although it had never involved paying to join. It was all about frequenting the same places, getting to know the people who worked there, and making friends. There was no hesitation, however, about joining the Co-op. Here was a community I was excited to become a part of.
What I hadn’t anticipated were the choices I had about my involvement in the community. I started as a working shareholder and got to know staff and other shoppers. I shopped regularly (daily?). I voted every year, reading the candidate statements carefully. I even attended a couple of Annual Meetings. Then a friend suggested I run for the board. I have learned so much on the board. I have been present for challenging times and times of greater group learning, openness and cooperation. At all times, I have had the pleasure of working alongside people who care deeply about the Co-op, who want the best for staff, shareholders and non-shareholder shoppers. It has been a privilege to be part of a community motivated by and in service to the larger community.
We’re trying something new.
You may be aware that we have been working hard to solicit potential board candidates to serve on the board, and that it has been difficult at best. You also may be aware that we have been working especially hard to be open and welcoming to all of our community, to increase participation of all kinds in our Co-op. This has been going on at all levels of this organization.
So, the deadline for stepping up to be board candidates is being extended. It will now be September 15, a full five weeks later than normal. (If you have been thinking a little about it, just do it! Step up and join an amazing group of people!)
But that’s not all.
And, even though the deadline for candidates is being extended, the BFC Annual Report printing schedule will not be affected. The statements will be available online on the new Co-op website, as well as on the voting website so that you can see them as you vote, like you did last year. There will also be paper versions in the store for your reading pleasure.
But that’s not all.
We are compressing the voting period in an effort to get more of you to vote! Paradoxically, we think that if we reduce the length of time for you to vote, more of you are likely to take that important step of voting during that short window.
So this year, voting will start on the day of the Annual Meeting, Friday, November 10, and conclude 14 days later, on Friday, November 24.
In addition to the board candidates that you will have to vote on, we will also present a few bylaw changes to consider, and some of them are reflected here in this new schedule that we are trying out to encourage participation in our Co-op. We did this as a result of feedback that we received from you in response to the ideas that were shared in previous newsletters, feedback that caused us to radically rethink our process. So thanks to those of you who read, considered, and communicated.
Thanks to you who will step up to serve on the board of directors. And, last but not least, thanks to you for answering the call to vote when annual meeting season is upon us! We are community-owned. Be an active part of the community.
By Beth Neher