Kelly Barth

Kelly Barth, Board Candidate

Kelly Barth, Board Candidate

Current Employment and Work Experience

I am currently employed as an online writing tutor trainer with Smarthinking.com, a division of Pearson. I also work part-time as a salesclerk at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence. I am a writer and have worked as a freelance writer in the past.

Previous Board Experience

  • For the past six years, I have served on the Merc’s Board of Directors.
  • For eight years, I was a member of the Lawrence Parks & Recreation Advisory Board.
  • For five years, I served on the grant review board for the Elizabeth Schultz Environmental Fund, overseen by the Douglas County Community Foundation. In collaboration with four other review board members, I reviewed applications and selected projects based on need and available funds.
  • I was on the Lawrence Complete Streets public relations advisory committee. Our goal was to host events and create materials that would help citizens understand the larger purpose of complete streets, a program with the goal of ensuring the safe use of streets by all users, i.e. pedestrians, cyclists, and wheeled device users. As a partial result of these efforts, a complete streets policy was adopted by the City of Lawrence.
  • For nearly a decade, I was a member of the Committee on Imagination & Place, an arts and environment think-tank, which has organized two citywide conferences. I’ve led breakout groups following sessions to allow people to further process what they heard.

What skills would you bring to The Merc Co+op's Board of Directors?

Primarily, I offer my long-term commitment as member-owner of the Merc; I purchased my first share in 1997. Though once reticent to express an unpopular opinion, through my service on the Merc Board, I’ve learned to speak my mind, keep to the subject, and communicate efficiently with a focus on the larger conversation. By being both respectful and informed, I can clarify my own position while remaining open-minded. I’ve also learned to listen carefully and request for clarification if I don’t understand. I’ve also learned when to concede to the majority opinion—when to disagree but not block its decision. With expansion on the horizon, I also offer the board the stability of a candidate with previous board experience and the institutional memory to support the board through this exciting time of transition.

Why would you like to serve on The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors?

I want to continue to serve on the Merc Board because I want to help it continue to remain a profitable grocery store that has been the source of sustainably grown, organic, and local food and has been an irreplaceable community resource for more than 40 years. With the potential for expansion into a new market, I also hope to serve as a board member that can serve with a sense of integrity to the current store combined with an openness to the needs of shoppers at the proposed location. I would consider it a distinct honor to serve on a board with members from that new area and to gain an understanding of the needs of a diverse community that has, for far too long, managed without any grocery store, much less a co-op. And, as I said when I first applied for the board six years ago, essentially, I care about the food I eat, where it comes from, how it is raised, who grows and harvests it, and how they treated the land that produced it. I want to encourage and support that passion in others through board service.