Cooperative Principle 5: Co-ops provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative.
On October 18th-20th five employees of Monadnock Food Co-op attended Rising Stars 2 in Hadley, MA. Rising Stars is a natural foods leadership development seminar produced and presented by three industry professionals, each with over 30 years of experience in natural and organic grocery stores. They bring their passion, humor, knowledge and advice and present a very inspiring seminar. The host co-op for these three days was River Valley Co-op in Northampton, MA. River Valley provided seminar attendants snacks and lunches daily and an excellent store tour/reception one evening. Rising Stars seminars are a great chance to meet other co-op professionals from around the country and discuss our challenges, strengths and achievements.
One of the main themes of this year’s seminar was integrity and whether or not your organization (or yourself) has a wealth or a lack of integrity. We were asked a group to make a list of good examples of integrity and some of the answers included; showing up on time, having a positive attitude, be generous, assume good intentions, take your breaks, and actions speak louder than words. As a group we arrived at 32 examples of modeling good integrity and we were then asked to assess whether we each modeled these behaviors or if we had some room to grow. Being honest with yourself is never easy, but if you have the courage to accept your flaws and work to change them, you can have a positive impact on those around you. I returned from Hadley feeling inspired and ready to take my own integrity to the next level.