Wedge Board

The Wedge Board of
Directors is a small team
with a big task: steering
the future of the co-op on
behalf of its ownership. If
you’ve ever wanted to be a
part but weren’t sure you
had the time or expertise,
perhaps now is the time to
reconsider as we currently
have four open seats for
this year’s election. Read
on to see what the seven
current board members
have to say about the
duties, challenges and
rewards of serving. Maybe
you’ll be inspired!

Q: Why did you decide to run for a Wedge board seat?

DALE: I always loved shopping at the store; I feel like I’m walking into
a ready-made community of interesting and friendly
people every time I step through the doors. Given
that it was such an important part of our family, I wanted
to become involved with the Wedge in a bigger way.

JACK:
I’d been shopping at the Wedge since the late
`70s, when it was up on
Franklin Avenue. And so I got
to have friends who worked
there and they were so into it,
so dedicated, that I became
really curious about what
made the Wedge such an
exceptional organization. As
I began to investigate that, it
eventually led me to serve on
the board.

MIKE:
Well that’s ancient
history. I’ve been on board for
seven years now. But at the
time, I was looking for a new
experience and interested in
seeing the Wedge continue
to be a leading sustainable
member of our community. I’ve
stayed interested because of
how much the landscape has
changed with the competition
from corporate natural food
stores really creeping into the
urban scene.

What has been the most rewarding part of being on the Wedge board?

MARJORIE:
In general, I’m really proud of the
relationships we’ve built
between the board and
the staff to become more
collaborative. Most recently,
I’d have to say our work on
the strategic plan—which
was a really engaging process
to hear from a lot of different
voices—synthesizing that
into something that can drive
us forward into the future
was very rewarding.

DALE: It’s been really satisfying to work on the
creation of the Nicollet store
and commissary kitchen; that
business expansion took a lot
work. And I’m proud of the
board’s development of Co-op
Partners; the warehouse
really makes us a national
leader in local food systems.

PHILIP:
It was also really great to see the CAP project, which had been thrown
around in the past, finally
came to fruition. To see it
actually working and the
response from people who
needed it, that has been truly
rewarding.

What insights into local food systems have you gained as a board member that you
didn’t have before?

EMILY:
I learned just how
difficult it is for new farmers
or farmers transitioning to
organic for the first time to
make a living. The challenges
for organic production in our
current landscape are really
significant.

SARA:
I really gained an appreciation for how unusual
and special the Twin Cities
are. When I go to national
gatherings of co-op people
and tell them I’m from
Minneapolis, they say “Oh,
you guys really have it all.”
I’ve realized how many people
growing and cooking and eating local food are touched
by the Wedge in some way.

MARJORIE:
I don’t think I
realized the depths to which
the Wedge was doing good
work in the community
and growing the local food
economy. I didn’t appreciate
the scope to which we
were supporting nonprofits
working on sustainable
agriculture and food
education, or the reach and
impact that CPW has for small
local producers.

JACK:
I came from the
advertising world and had
a lot of big food clients, and
so what I learned was just
how different a cooperative
is from a for-profit business.
By really getting inside the
Wedge, I saw that there’s
something fundamentally
different in the way people
collaborate toward a bigger
goal than just their careers
or the bottom line. We
truly are a mission-driven
organization.

What piece of advice would you give any prospective or incoming board members?

EMILY:
I would say, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Don’t hesitate to ask
questions. Don’t hesitate to
ask questions.

MARJORIE:
The most important characteristic we
look for is the ability to work
collaboratively to tackle
the challenging work of democratic decision-making.
Anyone who feels that is a
strength of theirs I would
highly encourage to run for
the board.

SARA:
For the new board
member, I think the most
useful thing in terms of
getting up to speed is to
spend time with all the
super-knowledgeable people
around you and really utilize
those resources. For people
thinking about applying, I
want to say that it’s hard work
and it’s a big responsibility,
but it’s also a real privilege
to work with all these really
great people. And it’s fun!

What are the most important skills for a potential board member to possess?

MIKE:
It’s really important
to be invested from a time
and interest standpoint. The
needs of the board can be
anywhere from two to 12
hours a week and having the
flexibility and enthusiasm to
make those adjustments
are key.

EMILY: Being a good
listener and understanding
the board’s role as not
being operational but being
forward-looking in terms
of sustaining the co-op’s
strength of ownership as well
as its business.

PHILIP:
It’s not just one kind
of person that’s wanted in this
kind of work; there’s a place
for introverts, extroverts,
foodies, health nuts, business
people, you name it. It works
because we all have an
overarching commitment to
the Wedge and the needs and
concerns of its community.
If you can work with other
people in a competent and
graceful manner, then you
can succeed.

How has your time on the board informed or enriched other areas of your
life?

DALE: Being on the board

has confirmed for me how
important the locally owned
cooperative business model
is for the health and strength
of our communities.

JACK:
It’s given me a
whole new interest in the
enormous implications of U.S.
food policy. My eyes used to
glaze over when people talked
about the Farm Bill, and now
I’m really interested in issues
related to agriculture and food
production. I also eat a whole
lot better than I used to.

PHILIP:
It’s made me a
total food activist. Now I call
my congressperson about
organic and GMO issues, and
that’s directly because of my
board work.

MARJORIE:
It’s had a huge
impact on my understanding
of group dynamics and
how to work to get from A
to B effectively, with good
relationships intact. That’s a
skill I’ve gained that I think is
going to be really valuable in
other facets of my life
and career.

Help guide the Wedge’s future!

We’re looking for engaged,
creative owners to serve
on the Wedge Board of
Directors. Our board helps
to shape the long-term
direction of the co-op,
develops strategy, and
acts as trustees on behalf
of our increasingly diverse
owners. It’s challenging
and collaborative. Directors
make a real difference.

The position requires an
average commitment of
10-20 hours per month and
offers a stipend of $9,128
per year.

Previous experience
working in a group or on a
board and a background or
expertise in finance, retail,
or wholesale management
is a plus for candidates.

Additional candidate
information and the
application form are
available online at
wedge.coop/board-of-directors/become-a-board-candidate, the Customer
Service desk or by emailing boardadmin@wedge.coop.

June 26
Deadline for candidate
applications

Week of July 11
Candidate interviews

August 1
Board approves
election slate

October 4
‘Meet the Candidates’
Happy Hour