March/April Board Corner

Board of Directors

Hello co-op members! Your board is off to a busy start in 2019. We welcomed five new board members at our December meeting. New board members are: Karen Bernard, Sam Applefield (Vice President), Eva Barinas (Secretary), Larry Meadows (Treasurer), and Jona Reyes. These five join Eddy Jones (President), Emily DeFerrari , Sarah Trafican, and Zoe Zelmanovich to bring us to a full complement and a sense of stability. We will miss outgoing board member William Warnock and appreciate the commitment he brought to the board. We will also miss Erica Peiffer, and thank her for many years of conscientious and knowledgeable work as our board clerk. We wish her well as we welcome MaCall Scott who will provide board clerk service to the board.

On January 13, Emily DeFerrari hosted a full day retreat at her home, where we got to know each other and understand the role of the board in governing the management of the store. Since then, we have been interviewing candidates for the general manager position, paying close attention to the criteria we gleaned from members and staff at the listening sessions held last year. The traits you, as a membership, told us were important were communication and people skills, love of good healthy food, and a commitment to cooperative values. We are also looking for an individual who can lead the store in whatever direction the expansion project takes us.

As you probably realize, we have been functioning without a general manager for 16 months; the board recognizes the work staff have taken on to keep the co-op on an even keel. In the fall of 2018, we moved from a three-member Designated General Management team to a seven-person Interim General Management team that consists of Jen Girty, Human Resources; eric cressley, Front End; Shawn McCullough, Finance; Kate Safin, Marketing & Member services; Amber Pertz, Café; Maura Holliday, Grocery; and Erin Myers, Information Technology. Tyler Kulp, our new produce manager, will gain strength in his new position before joining the management team. Please give our staff and managers a friendly hello and a verbal pat on the back for working well while we sort out the management structure. We’ve been especially heartened at the work the staff has been doing to improve our sustainability footprint and to make the store more affordable to people with low incomes. Currently about 3% of our sales are made with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funds. One opportunity to extend access to shoppers with low incomes is the Food Bucks program, coordinated by the Philadelphia non-profit The Food Trust; we are excited that our co-op is looking for ways to participate as a retailer once we have the necessary technical requirements in place.

We continue to make adjustments to our board meetings to make them more meaningful to members who want to attend. We want to acknowledge the insensitivity with which the first 2019 board meeting was scheduled on Martin Luther King Day. With this awareness we will pay closer attention to days of cultural significance as we manage the schedule in 2019.

Members are invited to attend board meetings. We usually meet at 7 PM on the third Monday of each month. Meeting dates and times are posted in the store and on the co-op’s website. If you are interested in joining the Member-Owner Participation Committee, which works on communication between the board and the membership, please e-mail us at boardofdirectors@eastendfood.coop. Hope to see you!