Community Food Co-Op
   

Board Candidate: Erin Grant

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

Having worked in the natural foods industry as a food broker for the last 7 1/2 years, I've developed an in-depth knowledge of both retailer and consumer trends and performance across the country. In working closely with natural food brands and the retailers they sell to, I have a unique experience of identifying brand to market strategies in the natural channel that I would be able to apply to the Co-op for it to succeed with its members and greater partners. In addition to my direct experience within the natural foods industry, I currently oversee a sales team and work closely with our executive team on company strategy, measurable objectives, company culture, and other bigger picture topics that would equip me to contribute to the larger, tough decisions that the Board of Directors make on a regular basis.

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

One of the goals that really stands out to me in the strategic plan is Exemplary Workplace. Without a motivated, fulfilled team, no organization will be able to thrive, let alone support, its surrounding community. Company culture and workplace happiness is something that I'm very passionate about and I've had experience with in my role as National Sales Director. Working for a certified B Corporation, I've taken part in surveying team member satisfaction, analyzing strengths and opportunities, and implementing operations and policies to strive towards improving the identified opportunities. The more that the Co-op Board can engage, support, and listen to the Co-op staff, the better.

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

One of the most direct approaches to supporting and encouraging cultural diversity is to make sure that underrepresented groups have the opportunity to be present and speak for themselves. One way that I'd love to see this come to life would be through Co-op sponsored BIPOC events that highlight local businesses or cultural events. An example of this could be hosting a Día De Los Muertos celebration and featuring local Hispanic businesses.

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

I think the Co-op's greatest strengths are being known as a staple for high quality, local, natural, and organic foods, and supporting local partners. I personally love shopping at the Co-op because I know I'll find unique and local offerings and that just by shopping at the Co-op, I am more likely to be supporting my greater community.

Describe any experience you have in reading and understanding financial statements.

I have experience reading and analyzing profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, expense reports, as well as year-over-year growth and forecasting. I currently participate in financial reviews at my current employer and use these reviews to help decide how we move forward with the company's measurable objectives and team growth.

Describe the experience, skills, or knowledge you have working with any or all of the following:

Cooperatives; policy governance; consensus process, non-profit or for-profit boards; a group that used active member participation to achieve its goals.

This is an area that I have little to no experience in - and am hoping to change that! I'm very interested in learning more about participating as a board member and seeing the relationship of a board and the cooperative's members as well as the greater impact of both board decisions and active member participation.

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

I am relatively new to the Bellingham and greater Whatcom community, as I moved to Bellingham from San Francisco this last summer. With that being said, I have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the strong presence and engagement of community here. There is so much support and encouragement of local arts, events, sports, and business that has truly inspired me to want to be involved myself - one of the many reasons why I decided to apply for the Co-op Board of Directors.

Describe any business or entrepreneurial experience you have.

My current role as a National Sales Director directly applies to this - I oversee a sales team that services 50+ natural food brands to grow their businesses. To do so, I meet with our clients regularly to establish goals and measurable objectives, review overall performance, and constantly look for ways to identify and anticipate challenges, maximize opportunities, and overall grow the business as much as we can. I work alongside many business owners and entrepreneurs - one of my favorite things is to help small businesses succeed and thrive.





  
 

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