Kamala Alister stepped down from the Co-op Board in 2023 after over twenty years of service. She was elected seven times by the members. “I have always had a passion for Co-ops and for healthy lifestyle, so Maple Street was a perfect fit,” she explains. Kamala served as Chair of the Board between 2018 and 2022 which were pivotal years for the Co-op. In that time the Co-op celebrated its 40th anniversary, operated through the pandemic, doubled the shop space, rebranded, expanded marketing, member engagement and membership, and has seen impressive financial growth. Kamala is proud of her part in professionalising the Board and transformed AGMs into the fun and well attended events they are today., “It was great to be able to announce each year: ‘This has been our best year ever!’” she recalls.
During those years Kamala also earned her Executive Masters of Business which she feels was very supportive of her work with the Co-op.
Kamala shared with us the factors that contribute to the success of the Co-op’s Board;
The sincerity and skill level of the Board and its members are more important than many people realise. Attracting and choosing good quality Board members is an important function of the membership that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Board represents the member/owners. It is vital that the Board finds ways to connect with membership and understand their needs and wants.
One of our Co-op’s strengths is its ability to retain staff and directors over the long term. The Board also has an important job in supporting and guiding management. This corporate memory helps us build our culture and develop collective skill.
High quality facilitation is essential to draw out the best from each director. Our Board, according to its rules, must work by consensus. This can work brilliantly with good facilitation and emotional maturity around the table.
Thank you Kamala for your long service and passion for our Co-op.