1. Current employment and work experience.
I am a local psychotherapist and have had a private practice in Lawrence for more than 35 years. While I work with clients on many different issues, my emphasis over the years has been working with individuals who have experienced trauma. I am also a trained mediator.
Before opening my psychotherapy practice I was the Assistant Director of Foreign Student Services (now International Student Services) at the University of Kansas. In that position I worked directly with international students, developing programming and helping them adjust to the university and the community. That experience opened my eyes to the value and pleasure of diversity and inclusiveness, which I have tried to embrace in my own life and support through participation with groups in our community.
2. Previous board experience
I served on the boards of directors of Douglas County Legal Aid and Women’s Transitional Care Services (WTCS, now Willow Domestic Violence Center). My work with WTCS was extensive and varied, including being a member of the first volunteer group and serving in various positions on the board. I was also instrumental in developing the organization from starting an on-call service to establishing a shelter house. More recently, I served on the board of the Freedom Coalition, an organization focused on LGBTQ issues in the community, and served in various positions on that board. Presently I am vice president of the University Place Neighborhood Association.
3. What skills would I bring to The Merc Co-op’s board of directors?
I believe my strong communication skills and previous board and organizational experiences would be an asset to The Merc board. My communication and facilitation experience, developed throughout my career and through working with civic groups, would contribute to the board’s efforts and effectiveness. As a therapist I have learned to listen well, understand different layers of meaning, and respond appropriately, respectfully, and compassionately.
Decision making in WTCS was by consensus, and those skills became well-honed over the six years I worked in that organization. I have also developed and led workshops, and facilitated open dialogue and mediation for other boards struggling with conflicts among their members.
In addition, I am very active within the groups I join, and am willing to face difficult discussions and decisions in a constructive manner. I believe strongly in listening to others with respect. I am able to disagree but to also work toward satisfactory resolution of differences. A healthy board or leadership group is vital to facilitating the work of any organization; that requires open, ongoing communication and collaboration between individual members and within the group as a whole.
4. Why would you like to serve on The Merc Co-op’s board of directors?
I have been a member of The Merc since its early days. I volunteered at the 7th Street store, and have shopped at the Co-op since its days on Mass. St. I have had a long interest in healthy food and healthy cooking, and have gained a great deal from The Merc to support those interests. A serious health crisis in 2002 increased my focus on healthy eating, and it was a great relief to know I could shop in one place to get the kind of food I both wanted and needed for my recovery and long-term health. I came through that crisis, and it now seems like time to give back.
I’ve watched the growth of the Merc and would like to be part of the process going forward. With the increased availability of organic foods in traditional grocery stores, I find it even more important to be sure we offer something different that allows us to stand out in the community. We’re a unique
business offering excellent quality, education, and resources to our customers, and I want to help ensure we can continue to do so. Part of our uniqueness is that our store is committed to buying local produce and supporting area farmers, thus keeping our money in our community and
surrounding area. An essential service to me is the selection of food available for purchase. I know at The Merc I can trust the buyers to make good choices.
The climate also makes it increasingly important to develop our resources as efficiently as possible, respecting and protecting our environment. Moving to solar energy is a positive step toward continuing to shrink The Merc’s carbon footprint, which is essential as we go forward. I would like to help facilitate our continuing growth in that direction.