Why I Became A Board Member

A little more than a year ago, I was asked by a Co-op board director to run for a Co-op board seat. Initially, I demurred. I had shopped at the Co-op since my husband and I moved to the Upper Valley in 2010 and since almost a decade ago, I have continued to appreciate the quality and variety of the products that are offered at the Co-op. I have never considered the Co-op to be just another grocery store.

I think that I need to explain the journey that I had to take, at least emotionally, to arrive at a place where I could seriously consider running for a Co-op board seat. My husband and I had left Los Angeles and relocated to the green hills and farms of the Upper Valley. We consciously escaped having to physically experience the millions of bodies on the streets and the suburban valleys of Los Angeles, the always-crowed freeways, the constant blur of lights, day and night, and the incessant noise. We traded all of that for the peace, quiet, and beauty of the Upper Valley. No smog, no devastating annual fires, no traffic jams, no earthquakes—although we had long since adjusted to the shake and bake aspect of living in Southern California.

The question, the one that made me consider running for a board seat, actually put me into a quandary. Did I want to sacrifice my newly found isolation of peace and quiet? Could I? What changes might I have to make just to 1) run for office and 2) be transformed into becoming an effective board member—that is, if elected, on behalf of my fellow member/owners?

My answer did not come quickly or easily. I understood that I would have to devote a minimum of seven or eight hours a month for board work. The time needed/expected from board directors was not really an issue. My issue was and is: Can I as a board director engage my fellow member/owners so that I can effectively represent their hopes, needs, and requirements to maintain the quality of the Co-op and to ensure that the Co-op will continue to thrive into the future?

So, I can assume that you can guess that I decided to run for a board seat? I am still a newly minted board member and I have many, many ideas about how to make our board, your board. And in my mind that is how it should be—the Co-op board is our board.

In order to accomplish that goal, that is making the board our board, I would like to offer each and every member/owner the invitation to join me as a Co-op board member. Please join me by deciding to run to become a Co-op board director.

Each of you know why you shop at the Co-op, why you joined to become member/owners. Each one of you is aware of our community here at the Co-op. We are all also aware of the precarious nature of our environment currently, and all of us want to ensure that our refrigerators and tables have the highest quality of food, produced locally and sustainably for ourselves, our children, and for generations to come. In an expression in our shared journey, please find time and a need to invest your time, energy and exuberance into our Co-op by running for the Co-op board.

Please come join me in our mutual endeavor of maintaining and augmenting the quality of the Co-op by running for a board seat. I have broad shoulders, but I cannot do all of the heavy lifting alone.

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Allene Swienckowski

Allene Swienckowski

Allene Swienckowski

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