My name is Jenn Baechle and I am running for a position on the Co-op Board. Some of you may remember me as a BCC employee from 2011-2014. During my time at the Co-op, I worked in a variety of departments, started the Book Club, and was part of the Hiring Committee for the new manager. My family and I recently returned to Winona, and since then I have been a part of the board as an appointed member.
I would like to serve as a permanent member of the board because I cannot imagine being in Winona and not being a part of the Co-op in some fashion. The principles I learned as a BCC employee have guided and shaped my everyday life over the past several years not only in my food choices, but also sustainability practices, community involvement, and environmental impact. My familiarity with these principles will allow me to naturally make board decisions with the Co-op’s best interest in mind.
During my time in Winona, I have held a number of jobs and worked with a variety of teams and organizations, allowing me to get to know our diverse community. These connections would make me an asset when working on the different board committees and helping to promote the Co-op on a daily basis.
I believe in the mission of the Co-op and would like to assist in creating a community dedicated to building a local sustainable society.
I’m interested in serving on the Coop Board of Directors because I’m excited by the positive impact the coop is making in our community. The vision of providing healthy, sustainable food for everyone in the community is something I strongly believe in. The Coop is a place that brings together a lot of thing I value; inclusive community, healthy, local food, and shared ownership and responsibility. I’ve been a proud member of the Coop since 2011, and now feel that I could contribute by serving on the Board.
My work for the last seven years at the National Eagle Center has offered me the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of a nonprofit organization, including marketing and communications, membership, and visitor services. In my current role as Associate Director there, my primary responsibilities include accounting, financial management, and organizational leadership.
Working at a small nonprofit organization, I understand the benefits and challenges of non-traditional business models. As part of a leadership team, I work closely with a Board of Directors, and have experience with effective Board, management dynamics. I am eager to learn more about the cooperative ownership model and bring my experience to the Coop Board.
I also understand the challenges of trying to create a big impact with limited resources. I’ve been so impressed with the work of the dedicated Coop staff and Board throughout the expansion project. As a Coop member, I’d like to support the good work that is happening and continue to dream big for what the coop can be.
I recently completed a Master of Business Administration at Viterbo University, and feel I can bring a knowledge of business operations and organizational leadership to the Coop Board. I would like to offer my time and skills to help the Coop continue to grow and thrive. I would be honored to serve as a member of the Bluff Country Coop Board of Directors.
My experience at the Winona Catholic Worker really informed my approach to a cooperative model. As a live-in volunteer in that community for many years, I still bring that experience with me to everything I do. I am most comfortable working in a collaborative, team environment, where everyone contributes to making decisions better, together. My experience and relationships with people living in poverty also strengthens my resolve to make good food accessible and affordable for everyone. I see the Coop as part of the solution for a healthy and sustainable future for the whole community.
As an active member of Bluff Country Co-op for many years, I am interested in serving on the board of directors for a number of reasons. I believe it is a great opportunity to learn and grow with our coop and to be a more engaged member of the coop. I hope to offer time and talent to the health and well being of our coop and the Winona community it serves, and I am interested in gaining a better understanding of and participation in the principles of democracy.
I have a wealth of experience working in healthcare, as a practicing nurse, educator, and leader. In these roles, I have participated in many committees to improve the quality of our care delivery, and I believe these experiences will transfer to skills that would be beneficial on the coop board. My favorite parts of committee participation include client advocacy, complex communication, and building relationships with the diverse people I worked with. I also enjoy understanding and working with the structures that support good outcomes.
I have considerable experience working cooperatively in both my professional and personal life. In my career, I have had the immense pleasure of developing many intimate relationships working closely with the sickest of people, their families, other care providers and all of the staff that make clinic and hospitals function. From the dietary staff to the greeters, from the pharmacists to the physical therapist, from the nurses to the doctors, I have worked to create a sense of community and collective purpose around caring for our patients. In my personal life, I have nurtured lifelong relationships with family and friends, and volunteered in various capacities. I have also learned a fair bit about cooperation since being married!
Good health and good food are really important to me, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Bluff Country Board of Directors to support this important work, and to learn and grow with our coop.
I have always believed that we get the community we deserve — meaning that if we want something to succeed and flourish, we have to help it grow. During most of the years I owned The Book Shelf, it took all of my energy, both emotional and physical, to keep it in business. I was approached many times to serve on boards of directors for local organizations that I supported, but was never able to afford the time (or energy) to give those organizations the attention they deserved. Well, that dynamic has changed. I, thankfully, have settled into a more “normal” work schedule, freeing me up to pursue activities that both give me purpose, and support the community I love. In this pursuit, I think serving on the board of Bluff Country Co-op would not only give me the satisfaction of helping to see the co-op succeed for years to come, but also lend my experience and knowledge to the work of the board.
I owned a small business in Winona for 15 years, and understand the community-specific challenges that come with that. I have an extensive network of contacts and associates in Winona that might come in handy (fundraising, advising, etc.) in the future. I have served on the boards of two other organizations, Visit Winona and the Midwest Booksellers Associations, and as president of the latter for 5 years. I volunteer as an active member of Engage Winona on its “Next Ones Up” initiative, and am president of a chapter of AIM, a business networking group here in Winona.
Although I have never served on the board of a co-op, my work on the board of a regional trade association is similar. We were ever mindful of who we were serving — the member stores. All of our efforts and activities were focused on giving our members value for their membership dollars. Similarly, the co-op’s member owners expect leadership to focus not only on running a strong business that is self sustaining, but delivering added value (education, events, services).
I am Deb Pelowski, wife of Gene, mother of Gene Paul and Ryan, grandmother of Nicholas and Abigail. I have lived in Winona since 1975, working at Hal Leonard Publishing as an accountant, Wells Fargo Bank as a teller, Merchants Bank as a loan secretary, and WSU as a Customer Service Specialist with a dedication to improving people’s lives while providing excellent customer service through active listening. I have become an even better listener while meeting people and hearing their concerns on the campaign trail these 31 years with my husband.
When I retired from WSU in 2014, the first commitment that I made after learning to slow down, to not set the alarm clock, and to stop making to do lists, was to join Bluff Country Co-op. It was a meaningful decision for me to make an investment not only in my healthful living as a member but yours as well as a member serving on your Board of Directors.
I appreciate the opportunity to meet you, listen to your ideas and promise to work to expand the wellness conversation in our community.
Thank you. Be well.