Thoughts and success stories

- Kyle White

3 people you want at your co-operative’s board table

The day-to-day operations of a business are governed by its co-operative board of directors. These courageous folks are co-operative business shareholders willing to serve the business in a leadership role – sometimes in a volunteer capacity. Management is often the public face of a co-operative business, but the board is key to the business’ policies and procedures, which help ensure stability and success over time.

Serving on a board can be a tedious job and often doesn’t get a lot of recognition, but becoming a co-operative business leader can still be very rewarding it gives you the opportunity to shape an organization and see it benefit your community.

Every board needs to make sure it’s got the right mix of people at the table. Here are the 3 types of people you definitely want on the board to contribute to the success of your co-op.

Someone with a passion for policy and procedures

Not everyone is interested in the technical bits involved with operating a co-op. However, ensuring a member of your co-operative’s board can lead the development of bylaws and navigate various legislation will help the organization operate effectively under the various regulations. Many boards elect these people as their president or secretary to ensure meetings follow the appropriate procedure and leadership is properly informed.

A financial guru to make the numbers add up 

One of the most important positions on a co-operative’s board of directors is the treasurer. This person oversees the day-to-day finances, presents financial information to the board/members, and makes sure the audit or review of annual financial statements is done properly. This role is best filled by someone with an accounting or finance background, who is comfortable handling necessary software and documents, as well as potentially working with an auditor at year-end. For larger co-operatives, the role of treasurer may be filled by an employee with expertise and experience in finance.

Industry experts to get the job done

While it’s essential that all members of the board of directors have an interest in, and understanding of, the co-operative’s business, it’s important to have leaders well-versed in the industry where the business operates. Directors with important connections and insight into an industry will ensure the co-operative business is well-positioned to create relevant policies informed by experience.

Want to learn more about co-operative governance? Sign up for the Good Governance Matters online course. It’s free and you can work through it any time, at your own pace. Check it out today!

People in a co-op