Esteban de Dobrzynski- Appointed 2021
Since I heard from the Co-op, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I have been shopping at the Co-op even when I was living in downtown DC, and enjoying its bulk section since then! When I moved to Takoma Park, I knew I wanted to become a Board member: community service and volunteering was instilled in me from a young age by my parents; food has been such a big part of my upbringing and it has always been of interest to me; and cooperatives are also very important for me and my family. Therefore, being interested in serving on the Board of the Co-op was natural for me (no pun intended!). I want to contribute to the important job the Co-op does in improving the reality and future of the Coop and its community. And I want to put my skills, knowledge, training, and energy into a greater good by serving the community I live in. I also want to learn from the rest of the Board members and the Coop community so I can more effectively serve it. I have been living in the US only for six years, so there is so much for me to learn, but I also believe I can bring something different to the table.
Susan Cho- Elected 2019
I’m broadening the question a bit. Here are some of the reasons that stand out in my mind:
Why did I join TPSS Co-op in 2006? Its products are carefully chosen, not just for their quality, but also for their environmental and social impact. (yay for bulk & vegan goods!)
Why did I run for the Board in 2016? Board members are elected representatives of a cooperative, not appointed directors of a corporation. I wanted to uphold cooperative principles, rather than unchecked capitalism. (I like principles!)
Why did I run again in 2019? In working with other Board members, I saw that they valued not just intelligence, but more importantly, integrity. This enabled us to work well together through challenging upheavals. To be honest, I hadn’t held the well-being of our staff as dearly as other Board members did. I was deeply humbled to learn this through my time on the Board.
Another thing I’ve come to appreciate has been deeper engagement in the life of a city. I recognize people who have spoken at Council Meetings and am now interested in them as individuals, too. I have long been concerned about my impact on the earth, but now I also think of my part in my local community. (personal growth!)
Why am I not going to run again in 2022? Our Board truly values the participation of each member, and we need a diversity of voices. Just as importantly, other member-owners should get the opportunity to participate. It’s been extremely rewarding work, and it has added real value to my life.
Bob Gibson- Elected 2019
Our economy is dominated by profit-making corporations that too often place the enrichment of small groups of investors, shareholders and executives ahead of the interests and well-being of employees, communities and consumers. There is a different way of doing business, one that I think is superior if under-utilized. That’s the cooperative.
In my professional life, I have worked with cooperatives of different types, principally in the energy and electricity sector. I admire how cooperatives brought essential services to rural communities once ignored by for-profit companies. The cooperatives survived, and often thrived, based on the willingness of the members of communities to work together to achieve a common goal and good.
While I was delighted to become a member-owner of our local cooperative grocery in 1998, for years I was just a shopper. In 2018, after 40 years of being immersed in the well-being of cooperatives across the U.S. and around the world, it dawned on me that I had an opportunity to actively contribute to the well-being of my own cooperative, one almost literally in my backyard. While I did not win a seat on the Board when I first stood for election, I spent the next year volunteering on the Membership Committee and was honored to be selected for a Board seat in 2019.