Why I Value Serving on the TPSS Board

By Susan Cho, Secretary, TPSS Board of Representatives

I’ve always been very enthusiastic about the TPSS Co-op. I am emotionally “allergic” to businesses that are driven primarily by profit, especially when the profit goes to people who already have more resources than they could possibly need. As a member-owner, I would support TPSS even if it didn’t offer my preferred items.  But–guess what–it is my favorite place to shop! I particularly value the variety of our bulk foods, the organic and local produce, vegan-friendly options, and cruelty-free wellness products.

When I joined the Board four years ago, we faced some unusual challenges, so we spent a lot more time meeting with each other than in typical years. I found that my fellow Board members were bright and devoted people who stepped up to some demanding work. It was more gratifying than I had expected.

The work of the Board these days is more positive and less time-consuming. Although there are always difficulties to address, I have full confidence that our current and future Board members will tackle them with a lot of experience and goodwill. Our member-owners keep electing dedicated and thoughtful people to serve, and the Board has put structures into place to ensure that future Boards have solid guidance.

As far as the time commitment for a Board member, it depends on how much committee and individual work you decide to put in. Everyone is on at least one committee, which meets (or at least touches base) once a month. I’m on the Policy Committee, which means examining a lot of documents. If there are issues we need to address, we gather information, consult with knowledgeable parties, come up with guidelines for ourselves, put them into words that make sense, and regularly check ourselves to make sure we’re following them.

Decision-making can be drawn out because there are nine members working on a consensus basis. Everyone needs to weigh in before a proposal can be accepted.  In the long run, the extra discussion makes for stronger proposals that everyone understands and is committed to. We can draw on our different backgrounds and strengths, so our choices are well-informed and well-considered.

I’ve met remarkable people during my time on the Board: TPSS staff, the community at large, and, of course, other Board members. It’s truly been a pleasure working with them and becoming friends. If you’re interested in serving, I highly recommend it!

Learn more about running for the Board. The deadline to nominate yourself is October 15th!