Community Food Co-Op
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Board Candidate: RJ HalloranRJ Halloran 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 an outgoing and friendly conversationalist, who is always looking to make friends and meet people wherever I go. Additionally, I see it as my responsibility to use this skillset to bring people in my community together. I want to take a seat on this board so that I can engage more people in our community to collaborate with the Co-op and see how working together makes our community stronger.

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. 

As I’ve already spoken to the third strategic plan goal of the Co-op, I believe that the seventh goal of Stewardship and Advocacy speaks to my interests as well. I am a firm believer that one should take pride in their community and work to support their neighbors. I also feel confident in my ability to create change, and encourage/incentivize people to take steps in their own advocacy work.

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

Recently. I met an elderly neighbor for the first time and they seemed reluctant to ask for help (they had just walked up a fairly steep hill that usually leaves me out of breath, and I was worried they might collapse). After talking for a few minutes, I learned their native language was Punjabi, so I took the smallest of steps to learn how to say "hello”. As someone with experience traveling internationally, I know it can mean a lot to hear your native tongue being used casually and I want everyone in my neighborhood (whether that be Puget, Bellingham, or Whatcom County) to feel welcomed and celebrated for their diverse experiences.

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

The Co-op has built strong ties within the local community, and the location in downtown has importance to a variety of sub-communities - college students living in York and Sehome neighborhoods, those without homes that rely on various other community resources in the downtown area - and various other groups of people that value the conscious action of shopping locally. Our greatest strength is through our people and community spirit.

Describe your experience reading and understanding financial statements. 

I’ve been doing my own taxes since I graduated college and due to my nomadic lifestyle, up to this point, they have been rather complicated. I can’t claim any broader knowledge than that when it comes to finance, but I do understand basics concepts and consider myself a fast learner. I would be more than willing to seek out seminars and continuing education in financial topics.

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.

While attending WWU, I was a vice president of the Kinesiology club. I helped lead our club’s first on-campus 5k Fun Run, and used my networking skills to assemble a team of volunteers that was almost greater than our participants. Our club also followed a modified/relaxed consensus process to move forward with our ideas with as much input from club members as possible.

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

In the past, I have worked with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County’s chore program to help elderly folks in Bellingham stay independent. I’m also tapped into the sport communities of Bellingham and the county as a result of my Sports Psychology minor at WWU and my current seasonal position at Mt. Baker Ski Area. I also have connections to the community through a previous position at Work Opportunities of Whatcom County, a supported employment agency. 

Describe any business or entrepreneurial experience you have. 

I had the best lemonade stand when I was a 10 year-old, huge profits with minimal effort. On a more serious note, I have used my conversational skills and ability to connect with people to acquire jobs wherever I go, whether I’m promoting a club in Siem Reap, or managing a cafe in South Lake Tahoe. I find a way to work myself into the fabric of the community and make sure I stay employed in a way that utilizes my set of skills.

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

I see myself being best suited to the Member Affairs and Board Development committees. I want to connect our member-owners and board to the community. I think the best way to do that is encourage groups that are underrepresented to apply to the board and reach out to those that aren’t interested to see how the Board can support them in their lives.


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