|Co-op Directors Encourage Others to Attend Training|
On January 10 and 11, a Co-op store board member training program entitled "Co-op Leadership for Today and Tomorrow" was conducted at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery. The workshops titled "Mergers & Consolidation" and "Being a Good Board Director" were well received by 40 directors from all over the state. Those conducting the training were Jon Otsuki, CEO of GVLabs, a business innovation company; Steve Lauck, President and Owner of Steve Lauck LLC, a management and board consultancy company; and Sarah Spivey, also with Steve Lauck LLC who works with producers and agribusinesses nationwide on strategic projects and programs.
Via telephone interviews, favorable reactions were given of the training by all directors contacted.
Rayford Edmonson, Randolph Farmers Co-op, said the interaction of such a diverse group of board members allowed those gathered to share ideas about how to overcome problems and struggles some Co-ops have. He had shared with his fellow board members what he had learned at the sessions and encouraged them to attend in the future.
J.W. Jefferys was one of four directors from Colbert Farmers Co-op in attendance and had been to a similar training exercise AFC had sponsored for Co-op directors. He said this time different subjects were covered that were just as important as those covered in the earlier workshop. The trainers knew what they were talking about and given a chance to attend such a meeting, a Co-op board director should take advantage of the opportunity.
Jerry Gargis, also from Colbert, said the trainers really helped him and gave him a better idea of what his responsibilities as a board member are.
Larry House, director at Atmore Truckers Association, said the timing of the training was perfect for a busy farmer. He found the sessions to be very informative and welcomed the opportunity to learn from other directors and share with them.
David Ellis, director at Opp’s Co-op, said he understands how much more buying power a group of merged stores can have since he has gone through the training. The literature offered by the trainers was very good and they made the participants stay involved. He understands some directors can’t get away because of their jobs, but encourages them to attend future training if at all possible.
Jimmy Helms, director at Hartford Farmers Co-op, said the main point of the training was that the trainers took time to answer questions and encouraged the board members to interact with each other and share ideas. He left with better insight as to what his job as a board director is and has told his fellow directors about the value of the training.
Ed Gullatte, director at Taleecon Farmers Co-op, was impressed by how the role of being a board member was explained by using the analogy of "taking off your farmer’s hat and putting on your board member’s hat." He also left the sessions with a better understanding of the need, in some cases, for merging stores for buying power.
Michael Love, a director at DeKalb Farmers Co-op, felt the board training should be mandatory for anyone who wanted to remain on a Co-op’s board. He said nothing about the training should be changed; the timing is perfect, the meals were excellent, good location, the sessions were the right length, and the trainers offer a wealth of ideas about what a board member is responsible for and what they’re not responsible for. He definitely will recommend the training to his fellow board members.
AFC will again sponsor director training with a similar range of topics during January 2013. Invitations will be mailed well in advance to current Co-op store board members and all are urged to attend.