Co-op Job Application

I am a finalist for the Moscow Food Co-op General Manager. As the process goes public, they are asking us to write responses to 3 questions. Mine are below.

1) Why do you want this job?
I’m excited to be considered for the position as GM because I believe the mission and strategic directions of the Co-op are urgently important for Moscow’s long term sustainability. I want to help the Co-op contribute to our community’s successful transition through these changing economic/energy/climate times.

Specifically I want to help the Co-op to facilitate the food-awareness of members/ shoppers and the success of local growers and producers. This addresses two aspects of food security that concern me: 1. As fuel prices rise, people in our community may be forced to choose between food and other necessities. Knowing how to use bulk and local fresh foods will be important to achieving good nutrition. 2. A local food economy could buffer our community from shocks from global food markets and our long supply lines.

I also value the ways the Co-op leverages its resources to help the community in other ways. Examples include Dime in Time, a micro fund raising mechanism and co-marketing with Fish People and local growers. I will encourage activities that support the Co-op community without detracting from the mission as a natural food cooperative.

2) Give us a brief history of your experiences to help us understand what you bring to the position.
The GM is much more than chief retailer. To implement the Co-op’s Strategic Plan, the GM must work within a complex ecology, responding to the Board, helping managers, and serving as the Co-op’s representative to multiple stakeholders, including member-owners and other shoppers, suppliers, and the wider Moscow community.

I have many years of experience that prepare me for the complex role of GM, including:

  • As Palouse Prairie School’s Board Chair, I learned to implement the Co-op’s “policy governance” model.
  • For the last 10 years at WSU I have supported the success of professional managers via peer-coaching and serving as a sounding board and strategist.
  • My last years at WSU focused on a variety of assessment strategies and I will use assessment data to aid decision-making by the Co-op team.
  • I learn quickly, can persuade diverse audiences and get the job done, as I demonstrated founding Palouse Prairie School.
  • As a member of Moscow’s Planning and Zoning Commission I bring experiences with the City and see the Co-op as a key anchor store downtown.
  • Palouse Prairie School’s consultants taught me to facilitate collaborative work and problem-solving, which I will use to further the goal of making the Co-op Moscow’s best workplace.
  • I have led seven barn raisings and am able to help a diverse group learn, work and have fun together.

3)  What is your vision of our Co-op’s future?
The Co-op is progressing toward its Sustainability strategic goal. The store could produce hot water and electricity with roof-mounted collectors, but the payback periods will be long. I will help the Co-op own its building so it can explore these long-term investments.

I envision a financially healthy Co-op that chooses to how to focus its resources to advance its member-owner’s goals.

I will help the Community Food Works partnership increase engagement and education about food systems and local food options.

Initiatives to encourage non-motorized shopping trips are laudable, but the Co-op serves a wider region than Moscow. As GM I will explore if satellite ventures in other towns can strengthen the Co-op community, reduce shopper travel, and compliment existing local merchants.

Sodexo is struggling to meeting its contract to serve 15% local foods at UI. This may be because local growers operate on a different scale than Sodexo. In keeping with the Co-op’s goal to develop and support the local sustainable food economy, I will partner in exploring ways to create local markets at larger scales to meet institutional needs.

Recently the size of the Newsletter was reduced. I will develop New Media methods to preserve the editorial richness at lower production costs.

Nils Peterson Co-op Resume

One Response to “Co-op Job Application”

  1. Nils Peterson Says:

    I did not get the job. I have a meeting in a week with the chair of the hiring committee (who is also Board chair) to debrief.

    I’m going to start a series of posts that build on this one as I seek what next to do with my life.

    Questions to consider answering in the next week(s)
    * What am I good at?
    * What do I like to do? (and dislike? and can the dislike be re-framed in to a like?)
    * What do I want to do with my life (I think this is started previously in the blog)
    * Who is worth talking to about these questions?

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