Carol Ritter

1. Why are you running for the board, and what skill sets do you bring to the table?

I’m running for the board because I have a genuine interest in seeing a community owned local grocery store in downtown Bethlehem. It’s much more than a grocery store: it’s a community-building, opportunity-providing endeavor that works to include all facets of the community, from local businesses and schools to city government and local legislators. As a member/owner and consultant for years, I see the value that the Bethlehem Food Co-op brings to the community which is way beyond opening a store. I would like to build on the leadership of current Board Chair Colleen Marsh and see this project to fruition.

I bring the following skill sets to the the Co-op:

LEADERSHIP: I have led boards on the state, local, and national levels. As a board member/leader I believe my first job is to inspire others into action. Also, to spend time with people, get to know them, and listen to what they need to succeed.

TEAM BUILDING: A very successful board is generally rated as 90/10, meaning that 90% of the board is high performing. Identifying the skills of each board member and spending the time to help them be successful is critical to building a united team.

CONNECTOR: One of my strongest assets is the many relationships, both business and personal, that I have in Bethlehem. Born and raised here, I have spent a lifetime being involved in the community. More than involvement, I have the ability to connect like-minded folks with one other.

FUNDRAISING: My company has raised millions of dollars for businesses and non- profit organizations in Bethlehem and surrounding communities. People give money from their hearts, not their pocketbooks. Our success has been based on relationships, teams, referrals and trust.

2. What do you believe is the value of cooperative enterprise in today’s economy?

Cooperative enterprise begins by bringing a democratic system to the community. Engaged member/owners can have a deep impact on the economy as buyers, sellers and, growers. The impact on a farming/maker community is real, and with the opening of the Bethlehem Food Co-op farmers/makers will have the ability to work with the cooperative to sell their products in a more structured way. Cooperatives bring a new crop of jobs to the community as well as chance for families to have healthy options in their neighborhood. A food Cooperative is a win-win for the community—providing opportunity, keeping dollars in the community, and making communities strong and healthy.

3. What aisle can we expect to see you shopping in when our co-op opens?

Every single aisle, but with a heart for fresh organic produce.

Watch a video interview with Carol:

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