Community Food Co-Op
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Board Candidate: Ceci LopezCeci Lopez Board Candidate Photo

What skills and qualities uniquely qualify you for the Board of Directors and why do you want to run for the Board ?

I am a lawyer by training and I teach law at Western Washington University where I direct the Law, Diversity & Justice program. My developing research includes areas of conflict, transformation and belonging.

I bring my scholarly work, my passion for social justice, and my understanding of the societal need to belong, to my work on the Board.

Choose one of the seven Co-op strategic plan goals and briefly explain why it interests you and what you could contribute to its development. 

I am passionate about the newly set goal of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This goal necessarily informs the other goals, and most importantly, has the potential for creating not only a co-op, but a community, that has a greater sense of belonging. For me, belonging is the reason why the EDI goal is important. The work we do is about seeing our humanity—and where else would that be more appropriate than in our co-op.

Think about a situation that demonstrates your ability to create a climate that values cultural diversity. How would you encourage sharing different perspectives?

As an educator, I encourage diversity of perspectives and thought.  As a person raised in Guatemala, I have learned to be curious about different human experiences, how I perceive them, and how others perceive me. I encourage sharing different perspectives by showing respect and acknowledging the importance of different perspectives.  I value cultural differences that build on each other to foster a better understanding and cultural growth. 

What do you believe are the Co-op’s greatest strengths? 

Its people—members and staff. Their active participation in the Co-op is a source for innovation and evolution. This collaboration among individuals is shown, with much passion, through participation and feedback on the many different aspects of the business: celebrations, food justice, local issues, etc. 

Describe your experience reading and understanding financial statements. 

I ran my own tax law firm for a few years and I worked with entrepreneurs in their early startup phase. I have also received training through my participation in the Community Food Co-op Board of Directors. 

Describe your experience, skills, or knowledge working with any or all of the following: cooperatives, policy governance, nonprofit or for-profit boards, or groups that use active member participation to achieve their goals.

I have been a member of this co-op for the past five years, where I have acted as the chair and co-chair of the Board Development Committee, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and member of the ad hoc Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In addition, I have 10+ years of experience working with nonprofits, including providing trainings about legal obligations of board directors to the organization. For the past 11 years, all my working environments hinged on active-member-participation to achieve goals. 

Describe your connections with the community, including volunteer work if applicable.

I am an active member of the community and volunteer whenever possible. Last year, I was a co-planner of the Color of Justice event, panelist during the Cascadia Women’s International Film Festival, moderator during the Climate Change and Housing Equity Forum, and moderator during the Washington State Supreme Court panel presentation at Western Washington University. 

Describe your business experience. I started and ran my own law firm for five years, focusing on business and tax law, and was in charge of all the planning and execution of strategies. 

I ran my own marketing, did all my administrative and accounting tasks, licensing, taxation, and provided direct client services in both English and Spanish. In addition, I counseled individuals about business formation, trained board members (for-profit and not-for-profit), and upon joining the Coop, I continued to learn about Cooperative Law. 

What committee(s) are you most interested in serving on and what skills and experience would you bring?

I really enjoy serving on the Board Development Committee as it engages my interest in pedagogy. It helps me stay updated about the Board’s policies and processes, so we can successfully continue to represent our members and our community while maintaining a sustainable and innovative business model.


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