"We have been building a reputation and now we need to build a store. This takes a new type of focus and energy. This transition will require new leadership and fresh ideas."
Dear Board Members and Owners of the Whitewater Grocery Co.,
I have chosen to not pursue reelection to the president’s seat for the 2020-2021 term. The Grocery Co. and the board are in a period that is ripe for change and growth and it feels like a good time for new leadership.
In the beginning, when we formed as a steering committee, we were a small group that had to learn a lot, build momentum, and focus on creating a foundation for the future board. This included planning for succession and perpetuation. A cooperative is never about one small group, but rather the community as a whole. And so we focused on building a board structure that could (and should) transition with the changing needs of the co-op and the rotation of different people entering and leaving the board over the years.
In our first three years as a cooperative, I was proud to serve as the president of a board whose primary focus was growth and connection. We went from zero owners to over 600 owners and built a recognizable brand and mission in our community. We developed reputation and relationships. This has been the catalyst stage… and starting projects is something that I love to do.
Now the co-op and the board are on the precipice of the next stage, where we transition from getting buy-in for the vision and instead need buy-in for the grocery store itself. We are about to embark on site selection, raising capital, hiring, and planning. We have been building a reputation and now we need to build a store. This takes a new type of focus and energy. This transition will require new leadership and fresh ideas.
It is my intention to not seek reelection to the president’s chair, but to still serve out my term as a board member, so I can mentor and support our next president and help train them in all I have learned over these years. It has been an honor to serve the board and the owners of the Whitewater Grocery Cooperative and I look forward to seeing where this change in leadership will take our co-op in the coming stages of development.
P.S. I want to leave you with these parting words that I strived to live by in the past several years and will continue to pursue in service to the co-op:
"As cooperatives continue to strive to create a better world, a top-down scheme is contrary to our desired goals of empowering local communities. Servant leadership provides an approach and a framework that can help us serve our teams, help our teams serve our co-ops, help our co-ops serve our communities, and help our communities serve the world today so that we can indeed manifest the tomorrow we strive for."