Why would you like to serve on the City Market Board? What excites you about becoming a Board Member?
It’s been an absolute privilege to represent you over the past 3 years. Thank you! City Market’s role in supporting our community is only more apparent in these challenging times. I am super grateful for our frontline staff and managers working through both the pandemic and other unexpected challenges like multiple water advisories.
One of my favorite parts of this role is reading our monthly update from our GM. I am always so proud to see what City Market is doing as it strives to deliver an excellent shopping experience, be an employer of choice, and reduce waste and support the community, all with financial prudence.
I also love working with the rest of our board. We continue to run like a well oiled machine with many laughs and smiles even as we have shifted to meeting by Zoom.
If granted a second term, I will contribute to City Market’s success over the next 3 years by:
- Mentoring new board members.
- Using my analytical skills and business acumen.
- Being an engaged ally to our vibrant and diverse community.
- Finding additional ways to bring the voices of City Market members into the board’s decision making.
Please describe any professional skills you have that will help you to be an effective Board Member. How would you help the Board to balance the business needs of a $50 million business with the need to meet our Global Ends as a community-owned cooperative?
I contribute to my fullest ability in board meetings and strategic planning sessions through a combination of co-op specific training and my professional experiences.
Co-op specific training includes but is not limited to:
- Fundamentals taught in the Cooperative Board Leadership Development Program.
- Co-op Financial Literacy.
- Primers and Reflections on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (this is never complete).
- Best practices provided by General Managers, Board Members, and consultants at regional and national co-op conferences.
I use professional experiences in finance, operations and marketing analysis roles to identify the most critical drivers of success for City Market and understand the risks and benefits of pending decisions.
After managing Target’s customer satisfaction measurement and working in shopper research, I am very familiar with retail fundamentals and its evolving landscape.
My five years working at Seventh Generation, have taught me how to make business recommendations based on the triple bottom line principle, where business growth and financial profits are imperative and do not come at the expense of people’s wellbeing or planetary health.
I lean on these experiences and trainings when evaluating City Market decisions that require balancing financial performance with other obligations found in City Market’s Global Ends.
Describe your prior involvement with community organizations and/or cooperatives. What did you learn from these experiences?
At the end of my first City Market Board Term I am most proud of the following experiences and contributions:
- Evaluating reports and planning documents to understand key business drivers and the assumptions critical to City Market’s present and future success.
- Serving on the board perpetuation committee in 2018 and early 2019 recommending the removal of potential obstacles to candidates running for board election.
- Serving as the board’s treasurer since September 2019.
- Recommending that the board publicly recognize all nominees for the Don Schramm service award in addition to the year’s winner as a way to celebrate the wonderful acts committed by our community versus only announcing the winner.
I have also regularly volunteered for the following organizations since moving to Vermont:
- Friends of Fletcher Free Library- volunteering at book and music sales fundraisers.
- Waste Warriors- Providing education recycling and composting at public events.
- Vermont City Marathon- Race Expo volunteer and registration packet stuffing.
What ties all of my community involvement together is that each of these groups are committed to a desired future in Burlington that requires many people to make happen, and I am always glad to lend a helping hand.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future of City Market?
While competition becomes fiercer by the day, City Market continues to be a leader. Our future will be largely determined by our own choices.
Continued long term success at City Market will require the following:
- Continue providing a safe retail experience for workers and customers alike during the pandemic.
- Balancing financial responsibility with compassionate service to community during our current recession and fighting roots of systemic food insecurity.
- Breaking down biases and institutional structures that unknowingly keep individuals from feeling welcome in our stores.
In a period of planned unprofitability, deliver the clearest case for continued City Market membership when patronage checks cannot be a driving factor and explore new member benefits.
- Develop and execute a financially viable plan for ecommerce that is in line with our cooperative principles.
- In solving each of these challenges, City Market has the following strengths to lean on:
- A strong and committed community of members and shoppers.
- A well deserved reputation as business role model before and during the pandemic.
- South End store performing stronger than expected and capturing sales from previous downtown store shoppers instead of shopping at the competition during the pandemic.
Click here to see Jim's resume.