In January, former President Mary Aiken departed East Aurora for the sunnier skies of California. I know nothing would have made her happier than to continue to lead the Board right through opening of the store, but we all are extremely grateful for the countless hours she invested in ensuring this project is successful, and that I was well prepared to take on this role. Mary remains actively engaged in several committees and continues to be a great asset and trusted adviser.

Two weeks ago, our Board advisor, Joel Kopischke, and CDS consultant Thane Joyal joined us in East Aurora for a full day Board retreat. This annual activity helps the Board review fundamentals such as the pillars of cooperative governance, discuss timely issues like transitioning to working with a general manager, and to review a self-assessment survey we all took. It was a highly rewarding experience and we all appreciated the opportunity to improve how we work.

Our General Manager Search Committee continues to review resumes and interview candidates. We’ve received applications from local and out-of-state individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and experience. Candidates are evaluated using a skills matrix, interviews, feedback from references, and reviews by our consultants. Hiring a great General Manager is one of the most important steps we must take to ensure the success of our store. We have not yet closed the door on accepting applications, so if you know someone that might be right for the job, please direct them to our website for information on how to apply.

In an upcoming newsletter, you’ll be introduced to our 2015 slate of Board candidates. We had many interested member-owners come to our Meet the Board events, attend Board meetings, and discuss the role with our Nominations Committee and we couldn’t be happier with the breadth and depth of skills this year’s candidates offer. We will be hosting a couple “Meet the Candidates” events in the near future so you can talk directly with them and learn why they want to be your representative.

Finally, our annual meeting will take place on May 28th at East Aurora Middle School. This is your opportunity to hear firsthand about our progress, our financial status, our timeline, and vote for your new Board members and updates to our bylaws. More information will arrive in your mailbox next month. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Derek Punaro
Board President