Amanda Charland

We All Want Change. Let’s Talk About How We Get There

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in this new position for nearly four months. This period has been a time of great change, not just for me but for the entire organization. I’m so inspired by the work everyone has done and all the things that have been accomplished in such a short and challenging period of time.

To name a few: we’ve restarted huddles and operations meetings, rolled out a new compensation plan, made some great new hires, and this week we’re taking our diversity, equality, and inclusion work to new heights.

We’re also talking more, which may be the most important change of all. I’ve especially appreciated our “town hall meetings” lately—the candid, free-form listening sessions held with Co-op staff in every location. Today I’d like to talk about some of the important ideas I’ve heard over the past week.

First, clearly everyone wants to see change. Not small change, but big change—like a new co-op reborn out of an old idea. Everyone—myself included—wants to see a return to who we are and what makes us special, a recommitment to the collective spirit that brought many of us here in the first place and that’s kept many of us here year after year. There’s a magic to this beloved old business that’s been nurtured by staff and members for nearly 90 years.

Perhaps the biggest goal of my tenure as GM is to recapture that magic, and from what I heard in the town hall sessions, many other people want that, too.

Second, this is going to take all of us. That’s the message staff shared with our director team, and I agree completely. Everyone has a role to play in building toward our vision. It’s important that we create a space where everyone feels comfortable to highlight what’s working and to point out where our frustrations are. That’s how we identify opportunities. It’s hard work to build better systems, but we’ve got the teams and the tradition behind us to do it.

Third, we have a lot of good things ahead of us. Now is the time to think with optimism about what we can accomplish. While we have a lot of strength to build on, we also have a lot of opportunity to do things in a new way. As we build toward our future, we’re not putting things back together the way they were, and our director team heard this throughout the organization.


This Week’s Updates

Welcoming our new HR Director

This week we welcomed Mary Saritelli, our new HR Director. Mary is people-focused, highly experienced, and filled with energy and new ideas. I’m excited for employees to get to know her and to learn more about what she has in mind.

Welcoming Deo and his team

Also this week, Deo Mwano and his team of top-notch consultants have been here to help us embrace what makes us different and unique so we can work better together to accomplish our goals. Moving forward I look forward to sharing updates with you on Deo’s work!

Thanks to all of our members and reach out to me anytime.

—Amanda

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Amanda Charland

Amanda Charland

Amanda Charland is the General Manager of the Co-op Food Stores. She was first hired as the Co-op's Sustainability Coordinator in 2012, and joined the Co-op Leadership Team as Member Services and Outreach Director in 2014. She earned a Master's Degree in Cooperative Management in 2017, and she was promoted to Director of Cooperative Engagement in 2018. She was hired by the Co-op Board of Directors as General Manager in 2022. Contact her at acharland@coopfoodstore.com.
Amanda Charland

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