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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of Directors,...
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Your Board

Sounding Board

Sounding Board
By Your Board on November 18, 2020

As a co-op owner, we encourage you to participate in your co-op by running to join the Outpost Board. As a board member, you will: 

  • Set long range goals and policies for the co-op
  • Ensure that the GM works towards the goals and policies that are in place
  • Represent the various interests and needs of the co-op owners to the GM

To serve on the board, expect the following commitment:

  • Serve a 3-year term at a minimum
  • Actively participate in monthly meetings either in person or online (3 hours/month)
  • Actively participate on committees (3 hours/month)
  • Actively seek to understand the needs of the co-op owners
  • Maintain confidentiality on some materials and information
  • Understand co-op principles and policies (training provided)
  • Understand financial statements (training provided)
  • Attend the Outpost Annual Meeting

Outpost is a co-op, meaning it is jointly owned and democratically governed by its owners - that means you! But while we are cooperatively owned and governed, it is also a large, complex enterprise, spanning four retail locations across our city. Due to the time and professional nature of our work, board service at Outpost is compensated by a quarterly stipend. 

Many owners already have a genuine interest in cooperative issues and in the Milwaukee community. Your time and energy would be welcome on the board as we need your fresh eyes to help shape and guide Outpost into the future.

Here is a link to run for the Outpost board:

https://www.outpost.coop/owners/board_corner/board_nominations.php

Okay, that was my sales pitch, but now I want you to know my personal experience with the Outpost Board.  

I joined the Outpost Board for the love of food, but I stayed on the board because I enjoy working toward a better Milwaukee. I have always had an interest in food knowledge: What is the food source? How is it used by this group of people? What kinds of dishes can be made from it? This was hugely interesting to me, and still is. Now that I have been on the board for a few years, I see that my food interest is only one small bit of knowledge that I bring to the board, but the real board work is about building a better Milwaukee community.

Through our board and committee meetings, I have learned that our co-op helps to keep the Milwaukee community alive (financially) by encouraging sales of local food from local vendors. I now see that while I used to think that it is interesting and curious that Wisconsin grows tons of cranberries (for example), I also see that the next thought should be that we should keep these cranberries growing by encouraging Wisconsin farmers to sell locally and encouraging eaters to buy local food. This helps our community, our farmers: The money stays here and doesn’t go to Big Box in Somewheresville. As a board, we beam the light for our GM by stating in our ends that our “community exists with commerce that is locally owned or locally oriented.” It keeps the cranberries growing, for us to eat!

It is inspiring to know that the board can sway the big Outpost ship toward the carefully thought future that it wants to see. For example, if we want to work toward a healthy, diverse, and sustainable community, we can put that wording into our Ends statement and then make sure that our GM illustrates to us (via financial and non-financial data) that Outpost is heading that way. If we head toward that goal a little faster than other grocery stores, then we can be an example to other businesses as if to say, “This is possible.”

The learning process takes time. To know exactly where we want to go and why, we have to know our owners, consider the financial climate, think about where we have been, and envision the future. We as a board are constantly revisiting these facets and these have all contributed toward constructing the bigger picture (that I am now seeing).

So, while I joined the board initially for the “food tidbits,” I stayed with it because it is a happy feeling to contribute my time and energy to thinking about future Milwaukee and saying, “This is where I want my co-op to be, because this is where I want my community to be.”

Swati Agterberg

Board Secretary

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