1. Why are cooperatives in general and Weavers Way in particular important to you?
I currently serve as Vice President of the Weavers Way Board and I am running for reelection. I value Weavers Way as a business that serves its member-owners and the community at large. I see cooperatives as a powerful economic model for growing local economies, retaining and reinvesting community spending, creating quality jobs and generating community wealth.
2. How will your experience, skills or unique perspectives strengthen the Co-op Board?
I’ve devoted my life to community-based economic development, working with cities and towns across the country on downtown revitalization and small-business development. In that capacity, I help civic leaders start community-owned businesses, including cooperatives.
3. What do you perceive to be the long- and short-term challenges facing Weavers Way and how would you address them?
We face a rapidly changing marketplace in the natural-foods sector. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and even Acme, Target and Costco are each taking larger shares of spending. Weavers Way is performing better than most co-ops nationally — most have flat or declining sales. I see the Board’s job as being vigilant, strategic and adaptable to keep Weavers Way financially strong. We can do good work only if we do well.
4. What volunteer experiences have you had with other cooperatives or organizations?
My primary volunteer activity currently is Weavers Way. I am also active in an informal association of GLBT planners and architects, where I am organizing our participation in “International Park(ing) Day,” a project to turn a parking space into a miniature park for a day.
5. How can Board members better represent the opinions of the membership?
I participate in member listening sessions and intend to participate in more of them. I would like to conduct regular mini-surveys on issues as they arise, so we can “take the temperature” of the membership on more issues, more frequently.