Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Growing our Leadership

The Richmond Food Co-op grows every day.  Our recognition spreads, new members sign up, and current members become more involved.  Over the past year, this venture has expanded from a living room meeting of a dozen interested participants into a community of nearly 300 member/owners.  Our earned media record, relationships with national cooperative organizations, and popular chalkboard membership campaign all tout our success.  We were also just awarded a $10,000 seed grant from the Co-op Initiative, a cooperative assistance nonprofit.

Not bad, Richmond Food Co-op.

Now we are at the point to grow our leadership core.  This month, the board expands from five to seven members, and we will add a project manager position. 

I write to speak to the excitement and importance of the implementation of a paid project manager.  We have made incredible strides as a volunteer-run start-up.  The Co-op’s marketing and planning is a consistent part of many of our lives.  And now we find ourselves with a burgeoning business on our hands, requiring daily attention and maintenance.  Our attendance (thanks to a scholarship) at the Consumer Cooperative Management Association’s conference back in June taught us how tightly formal project management and successful start-up progression are linked.

Michele Lord’s transition from Board Chair to Project Manager is natural and necessary.  She has been at the helm of the Co-op, from idea to implementation, and is currently managing all member administration and communications.  Her new role will help advance the Co-op in several critical ways:

                Increase our membership base
                Strengthen the power of our member committees
                Identify new allies and sources of support in the community
                Stay connected with the national food co-op organizations

The Co-op is growing and growing up.  We celebrate this benchmark of our first hire as a sign of progress and commitment to opening this business as soon as possible.  We are on our way!

-Susan Hill, Board Chair

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