Harvest Co-op Markets
Board of Directors Meeting
July 25, 2005
Attending: Jessie Myszka, David Hermann, Mike Wiecek,
Betsy Adams, Sujatha Byravan, Amy Cotter, Elisa Alonso,
Karin Emry, Garland McQueen and Bini Reilly (IGMT),
Marilyn Scholl (CDS/CoCoBEEPP consultant), Matthew
Altman (new Harvest member who is interested in running
for Board position)
Absent: Jeff Rosenblum, Loren Rodgers (both
Approve Board Meeting Minutes, June 27,
2005 Public Session
There were no changes suggested. Motion to approve made
by Mike, seconded by Betsy; Sujatha & Karin abstaining
(passed with six votes).
GM Report, Public
Harvest’s sales are holding up better than expected
for mid-summer, as much as 15% above last year. Margins
are looking good and there’s money in the bank.
The leaks in Cambridge store were ones that had supposedly
been repaired before, so the hope is that they are repaired
correctly this time. The store continues to gain members.
The work focus for the immediate future is to increase
sales and retain better staff. Many thanks to board for
being available on Member Appreciation Days – it
MSCC Updates, Public
The next meeting is Wednesday. August 24, 6-7PM. Two
new members, Liz Levy & Anna Fleder, have joined
the committee; Erica Mintzer has departed to attend
Approval of Email Voting
A proposed bylaw change to allow voting by email is discussed.
This bylaw references an operating procedure; it was
introduced at June board meeting and is read for a
second time at this board meeting. Motion for approval
is made by Mike and seconded by Betsy; bylaw is approved
with no abstentions or oppositions.
Article 4: Directors
†††† Section 7: Meetings
Voting: The Board of Directors will make decisions by majority vote. The Board
may approve operating procedures that allow for the use of new technologies
for holding meetings and voting.
The Board of Directors allows for voting via electronic
mail on any issue if its first version of proposal
has been made at least one week prior to vote. A quorum
of Directors must respond in writing (including fax
and email) either in favor, against, or in abstention.
Four board positions are up for election this year: Jessie,
Elisa, Sujatha, and Karin.
Jessie, Karin, and Sujatha (check with them) are planning
to run, as is Matthew Altman. Elisa is unsure about running
again and will decide when she finds out how many other
people are running. Sujatha also wants to know if other
board members are interested in stepping down and how
it should be considered in the board election planning.
Karin shares what Loren shared with her: he will do what
is best for Harvest. Given that he is now on the West
Coast, he would consider stepping down if there were
enough candidates running; however he plans to remain
on the Planning & Assessment Committee.
The formal deadline for candidate applications is August
15, but applications will be accepted until Aug. 23rd
at the latest. Amy suggests another member appreciation
day on Aug 16 to talk up board candidacy. At the JP store,
shoppers were encouraged to hear about board elections
and recruitment for candidates, although no one wanted
to run. Sujatha said the member appreciation days provided
a new opportunity, not available last year, to talk up
membership and board elections.
Note: If application deadline is shifted,
then other dates & deadlines, such as for signature/write-in
candidates, must also shift appropriately.
Note: This year’s annual meeting will
occur Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the Middle East Restaurant.
At the next MSCC meeting, please discuss the upcoming
annual meeting and recruit one MSCC member to coordinate
with Chris Durkin on planning.
Board Officers for Remainder of 2005
Mike talked to every board member about stepping into
the board president role. Sujatha and Amy are willing
to be co-presidents, relying on Mike and Jessie for
advice on sticky situations. Amy will focus on coordinating
what board members need to do; Sujatha will work with
IGMT. Note that Harvest bylaws do not prohibit co-presidencies
or a board member assuming more than one officer position,
nor are there other legal limitations, so this situation
is fine. Either Sujatha or Amy can sign on any document
requiring a Harvest board president signature.
The following is the proposed slate of Harvest
Board of Directors officers for the remainder of the
Sujatha Byravan, Co-president and Secretary
Amy Cotter, Co-president
Jessie Myszka, Vice-president
Betsy Adams, Treasurer
David Hermann will become the board liaison
for MSCC, taking over from Amy.
Mike moves that the board approve this slate
of officers for the remainder of the current term. Betsy
seconds. All in favor (8 votes), no abstentions. Motion
PAC: Strategic Planning
The board retreat is scheduled for Saturday, November
Karin presented the overview for a strategic planning
process that she & Loren developed. This process
is contingent on getting a new GM in August. This is
a leadership team process and requires both the board
and the GM. An alternative would be more a group decision-making
structure, involving board discussions, perhaps a consultant
to help facilitate, and a minimum of separate meetings
between board meetings.
The first piece would be a review of the full context
for Harvest’s business. What are the marketable
things about Harvest? What drives competitive advantage
for members? What areas can we never compete with Whole
Foods? What are advantages of being member coop, and
how to implement to them? The next stage would be to
codify a plan and its ramifications for board committee
structure. PAC is working with Marilyn on this.
Be aware it may be necessary to schedule external meetings
for this strategic planning – board meetings just
If the strategic planning affects governance & management
guidelines – if there are fundamental questions
about Harvest identity & future -- then need to figure
out how to involve membership. Other, perhaps smaller
coops have had member meetings with hundreds attending
Other places have done telephone surveys; which we could
do if there were several scenarios in Dec.
There’s difference between members and shoppers
-- if we satisfy members and alienate shoppers we might
go out of business, which is a scenario to discuss.
This is a great opportunity to engage members.
Could there be a discussion at annual meeting?
Great idea, but timeline is really short. At another
store, just the survey/data part took six months, and
at Harvest there is no budget for the research part.
We need to focus first on sustainability and ensuring
the existing two stores are solid, then focus next on
the bigger picture.
MSCC thought annual meeting could be forum for discussing
Membership discussion at annual meeting is a good idea.
Let’s go with that because it’s immediate
to members, feels personal, will raise issues.
Who can do this stuff? Marilyn of CoCoBEEPP can do only
limited amount, and has been providing board work such
as working with Betsy about finance committee information.
Matthew leaves public session.