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Board Candidate: Minaz Hassam

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?


 - In my 42 years with Continental AG (known for its Tires), I am trained to be a highly structured thinker and using the ideas of ALL Team members to propel forward on all Key Performance Indicators. Trust, Passion to Win, Freedom to Act and For One Another are the Values that are in my blood. My team and I developed several financial information systems for which we received awards at a World Wide level. These systems together with other functions’ Systems provided the strong foundation for the economic success of the Company. The Board can benefit immensely from these skills and qualities.
- At Continental, I sat on several Legal Entity Boards over the years as a member and Chairperson. I clearly understand the role of a Board Member in an organization. Providing direction via setting Strategic Goals and establishing Policies followed by monthly monitoring of agreed Key Performance Indicators are the top priority of the Board. Accountability as a Board Member is paramount.
- I have trained myself in this art of Emotional Intelligence and also have prepared and delivered a 40 hour training module for others. It’s the ultimate to Personal, Professional and Organizational success in my humble view.
- My family owned a restaurant for 40 years. My mother of 87 just stopped her catering business. I have been around good healthy food for all these years. In a spice store that my parents owned, I was responsible for sourcing all the products from around the world and pricing for overall profit. I am a foodie and my wife and I take pleasure in hosting dinner parties at our place. Discussions on quality food, preparation learned from the great chefs around the world and enjoying the bounties of the earth are frequently in our conversations.

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.

Economic Resilience, the 1st goal, is what my heart rhymes with. Since I spent the majority of my 42 year career in a Finance Role, fifteen of which were as Chief Financial Officer, it’s an easy area for me to connect with. Continued Profitability and Cash Flow, balanced with the remaining 6 Strategic Goals would be area one can count on me to contribute to. The Co-op can do greater things with a strong cash flow in alignment with the Strategic Goals.

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

- I was on a World Wide Steering Committee and working member of a New Supply Chain process at Continental, based in Frankfurt, Germany. We had team members from approximately 25 countries, which brought to the table not only different cultures, languages and practices, but also great ideas to have a State of the Art system, our Goal. Providing an avenue for sharing "crazy” ideas was laid out. In one instance, I found a low level person that had superior skills in one aspect of the supply chain system. After discussion at the Steering level, we made this person the head of this aspect. We hosted many cross cultural events where team members were able to understand other cultures and see the benefits of diversity.
- An example I frequently used in my coaching on diversity matters - We have 5 fingers but all are different sizes. Imagine unbuttoning a shirt without the thumb. Shows the value of diversity.
- A practice I follow regularly is when I am in a group discussion. If I am speaking and someone else starts to speak, I automatically stop speaking in order to hear the other person. Two ears are for double the listening.

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

The people. The People on the Board. The employees that I have encountered in my shopping at the Co-op. The shoppers, many of which must be members.
- I found the Board Members to be passionate about being on the Board. They care about the Co-op and the community they serve. Local foods, community engagement, sustainable food practices, affordable food accessible to all came up several times in the Board meeting I attended. These topics are near and dear to my heart
- The employees. I only met happy employees (were the sad ones hiding?). One told me that this was the best place to work. Another said he felt good in providing high quality products. Happiness provides for a strong spring board for creativity and an enriching environment for all.
 - The shoppers. I do not see zombie like faces on the shoppers’ faces nor those just surviving. I see engaged people with smiles, enthusiasm and a zest of "living to eat” type of mentality. I see the customers enjoying the calm ambience that the Co-op provides.

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

I have a Masters in Accounting.
42 years of my Career was spent in Finance related areas with 3 years in Supply Chain.
Served as Chief Financial Officer of different Entities around the world in Continental for 15 years
Experience in Accounting, Controlling, Systems, Legal, Contracts and Managing Director

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.

- Volunteered for specific service at the Aga Khan Foundation. Waiting for opportunity. (
- Embarking on my 2nd career to GIVE to the Local Community, as I have done over the years to the World Wide community at the Aga Khan Foundation.

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

I am starting to make strong connections with the residents of Whatcom County since I moved here last spring. I expect to live here in Bellingham the rest of my days and look forward to contributing and sharing my knowledge and leadership skills for the betterment of the community. I was waiting for the RIGHT opportunity to come by and this Board Member position is the right one for me to share my skills with.

Describe any business or entrepreneurial experience you have.

- Managing Director of Continental Tire in India for 3 years
- Financial Controller for several start-ups over the years, some of which became full-fledged profitable Business Units. Start-ups are highly demanding of all of one’s experience in a fast moving environment where Team work is the Key to success.


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