“Pathway to Renewal” is the theme of this year’s Centre Wakefield La Pêche Cooperative’s Annual General Meeting on Sept. 21 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. I hope you will join us to learn more about future opportunities and challenges for the cooperative. We have had a bumpy year. Nevertheless, I believe we have come out on the other side - stronger and wiser. Here are a few of my reflections.
If we only had more time! Success on the board is achieved not so much during meetings but in the “white space” around them. “White space” is the unplanned time when creativity, inspiration, and connection occur. It is when we get to know our new colleagues better, share experiences and perspectives, and listen with our hearts and not just our minds. “White space” is especially important for boards with diverse voices and experiences. My advice for the next board of directors is to spend as much time in your “white space” so that it can be more innovative, energy-giving, and collectively gratifying when it comes time for formal work.
Sustainability is more than a financial equation. While I love planning and working with numbers, the centre’s sustainability is much more than this. The cooperative must also give attention to maintaining good governance, which means picking up where the previous board left off; operational stability, which means putting our people first; and remembering we are responsible for making decisions that support environmental sustainability for future generations. Hence, our sustainability conversation must also be ongoing, giving equal attention to all four areas.
A big decision requires us to be brave and informed. This year, the challenge before us is to make a difficult decision on the financial sustainability of the centre. This decision is tied directly to our beautiful building. This board is in favour of expanding our partnership with the municipality. The municipality has the skills, experience, and resources to care for the building. We have the talent, creativity, and commitment to design and deliver events that bring people together, creating the vibrant, resilient community centre we all have said we want.
Please know that the work that this board has only partly been our own. We were honoured to build on the work of several past boards, committees, support organizations, and members engaged in conversation and reflection on the issue of long-term sustainability. We are grateful to the Membership Involvement Group, who has helped mobilize and engage many more members had we tried to do this alone.
The upcoming AGM is important for cooperative members – it is about a pathway to our renewal. I hope that each of you will see yourself in this plan and begin to appreciate how much influence you have in determining our future. I look forward to meeting you on Sept. 21.
The views in this submission are my own.
Vicki Carlan is the current president of Centre Wakefield La Pêche.