We’re pleased to announce the five candidates running for the St. Peter Food Co-op’s Board of Directors!
For the second year, the St. Peter Food Co-op will offer electronic voting. Voting will open at 8:00 AM CST on Wednesday, September 26th and will remain open until 2:00 PM CST on Friday, October 19th. Co-op owners will receive an email or letter in the mail with instructions on how to vote for the candidates of their choice. If you are unable to vote electronically, the Co-op’s staff will be happy to help you cast your ballot in the store.
All Co-op owners are invited to this year’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 25. The meeting will be held at the Melva Lind Interpretive Center in the Linnaeus Arboretum, on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 W. College Ave., St. Peter, starting at 5:00 PM. In addition to our normal agenda of a business meeting, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar, we will have table-top exhibits and Soil Trivia facilitated by Education majors at Gustavus from this year’s Nobel Conference – Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot.
St. Peter Food Co-op Board of Directors Candidates
Each numbered answer corresponds to the numbered questions below:
- Why would you like to serve on the St. Peter Food Co-op Board of Directors?
- What skills, experiences, or expertise would you bring to the Board that would directly contribute to the fulfillment of Board responsibilities and expectations? Include any involvement with the Saint Peter Food Co-op, other cooperative enterprises, other boards, or non-profit organizations.
- Please review the cooperative principles, discuss which one is most meaningful to you and why.
- What opportunities and challenges do you envision for the future of the St. Peter Food Co-op?
- Why do you believe Owners should choose you to represent them?
The Co-operative Principles:
- Voluntary & Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Members Economic Participation
- Autonomy & Independence
- Education, Training & Information
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
Assistant Professor of Social Work
1. The food co-op is where we felt most at home when we first moved to this part of the state in 2009. I also recently finished a term as a director with the board of directors for a national organization and look forward to the opportunity to invest my time and energy in my own local community.
2. Our very first stop after moving to South-Central Minnesota in 2009 was to purchase a membership at the food co-op. It is a community treasure. I have been a board member for both local and national nonprofit organizations, and I have worked for a number of wonderful nonprofit organizations over the course of my career as a social worker. As the result of my experience as both employee and board member, I have a good working knowledge of board governance and a board of directors.
3. The principle most meaningful to me is Principle 7 – Concern For Community. The collective knowledge, resources, and gifts/talents/strengths of a member organization like the food co-op provides great value to the surrounding communities served by the food co-op. I believe that having a sense of community is important for our health and wellbeing. We now know that social isolation plays a very important role in health outcomes in the United States. The St. Peter Food Co-op is a more than a place to shop for your family’s groceries – it is an intentional and welcoming community space.
4. The St. Peter Food Co-op is dedicated to understanding and being responsive to the mission and values of its member-owners. Serving a diverse group of member-owners makes this an important and complex undertaking. As the co-op continues to thrive and grow, it will be critical to keep the member-owners’ priorities and needs at the forefront while proposing and implementing changes both big and small. The organization is thriving which is both a gift and a challenge when making decisions about where/how to grow.
5. I care deeply about the values and mission of the St. Peter Food Co-op. I believe in the ability of an organization like the food co-op to play a vital role in creating a sense of community. I am not afraid to roll my sleeves up and dig in to community-based work nor am I afraid to ask or hear the “hard” questions. I would be honored to support such an important organization as a member of the board.
1. A desire to positively contribute to the vibrant St. Peter Food Co-op community and to mindfully plan for its future success are the main reasons why I am excited to serve on the Board of Directors.
2. I have a desire to give back to the communities in which I work and live. I honed my talents in national marketing and business through leadership positions within Taylor Corporation. I currently work in Human Resources at Gustavus Adolphus College. I participated in two strategic planning groups for non-profit institutions, served on the Board of Trustees and Finance Committee for Loyola Catholic School, currently serve on the Finance Council for my church and actively volunteer for BSA Troop 29.
3. Education, Training and Information resonated the most with me within the Co-operative Principles. I value education and firmly believe that informed members, employees and vendors create decisions to positively impact the St. Peter Food Co-op and its community. Specific training is also crucial for employees, managers, and directors within the Co-op as we continue to foster an environment for engaged and satisfied members.
4. New technologies make shopping for healthier foods easier and efficient. Pairing the existing strengths of the St. Peter Food Co-op to new technological opportunities is key to future growth. I envision fostering growth with concepts such as online ordering for deli foods, exploring delivery options, and increased online membership involvement. Financial sustainability is critical to the success of all initiatives and being fiscally minded is important when tacking new opportunities.
5. My blend of practicality, skills and passion for non-profit organizations make me a solid candidate for the Board of Directors. The experiences I’ve had in working with non-profits, leading national marketing initiatives, and balancing intricate budgets provide a strong foundation for me to be a successful director.
1. I would like to serve because I see great value in the principles that the Co-op represents and upholds. The Co-op’s health conscious mindset, the need to have quality food, that is it’s first and foremost obligation. This is addressed while also containing a strong appreciation for locally sourced products.
2. I am an international Business major with an emphasis in finance. I am also very active in the greater community, being a part of the Rural Equity Learning Community that brings together stakeholders in the Nicollet and Blue Earth community. My education background coupled with my deep involvement in our wonderful community is my greatest strength. Continuing to serve would be my humblest pleasure.
3. #5 – Education and training really resonates with me. I believe an aspect of a strong community is a well-educated electorate. Raising not only healthy and strong children but also conscious of other individuals in their community. Education and Training are the cornerstone in building a space where people feel respected, safe, and even celebrated. A culture of inclusion and a desire for understanding.
4. A well worn and used quote is “where one sees an obstacle, I see an opportunity”. This is principally true because it has been a tried-and-true method since our grandfathers were kids, and beyond. Our community is now expanding and growing to look more diverse and populous. St.Peter has always remained compassionate and kind. Values that the Co-op has been birthed with. The next opportunity in fostering equity is to increase involvement and build a partnership among friends. The Co-op is a unique vehicle that has and strives to continue to meet community involvement.
5. I hope to represent the interests of the greater community as a child that has been raised by both my Somali and American roots. As a member I will uphold the truest values of brotherhood and the bridging of two cultures most dear to me. Th Co-op is an integral part of our community and I would stand with it’s values.
Director of Operations, FieldX Inc.
1. I believe in the values and vision of the St. Peter Food Co-op, and would like to offer my experience and capabilities to further those ends. It would be an honor to serve an organization that is developing community and supporting local agriculture. I grew up on a family dairy farm where I saw the struggles and payoff inherent to agriculture and food production. It was there that I began appreciate the benefits that local and wholesome food brings to a community.
2. At my day job, I manage and balance various activities in operations and strategy development toward accomplishing my company’s goals. This will be an important asset to a co-op Board Member. Additionally, my MBA at the University of Minnesota was focused on Entrepreneurship, including coursework in management, new business development, and operations. Finally, I have experience serving on a Board of Directors, having been on the board for a nonprofit which provides after-school programs for 4th-8th graders.
3. #1- Voluntary and open membership. This principle is the basis of community. Indeed, the other Principles cannot be accomplished without a recognition that the co-op is accessible to all, regardless of their walk of life, race, or income class. In today’s world, organizations like the co-op are critical for breaking down barriers that prevent community members from speaking each other’s language. We all need to eat, and we all desire to eat healthy and allow our kids to eat healthy. Everybody has potential to connect into our food co-op.
4. The St. Peter Food Co-op has an opportunity to understand needs from their customers at a deeper level than competitive food retailers. While organic and healthy food products are becoming more prominent competitors’ store shelves, a connection to members is unique to the cooperative model. This needs to be further leveraged in developing the co-op’s strategic direction. Furthermore, continuing efforts to meet the needs of busy individuals and families with healthy, quick, and wholesome meals is important to the sustainability of the co-op.
5. My work, volunteer, and academic background offers a unique blend of experiences in agriculture, non profit management on a board of directors, and managing operations in the private sector. My focus will be on improving customer experience and member community engagement.
David L. Wicklund (Incumbent)
1. I am finishing a current term and would like to continue working on the multiple projects we have started in the last three years.
2. I have learned a lot during my first term on the Board and would like to apply that understanding to the leadership activities of the next three years.
3. The Co-op contributions to the local community are so evident to me and also are a significant part of the quality of living in St. Peter. I want to help continue these gifts into the future.
4. The increasingly competitive food industry along with shrinking profit margins are a significant challenge for the future health of our co-op.
5. I have been a member since 1972 and have served on the Board of Directors for the last three years. My experience makes it possible for me to contribute to the ongoing health of the co-op.