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Curious About our Organizational Structure?

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This update is from Board member Karen Jacobs, who leads our Organizational Development Team. 

How does an all-volunteer organization “do” the traditional work of a Human Resources team? Meet Chicago Market’s Organizational Development team (or as we call it, Org Dev). Our team helps other Chicago Market teams to define their goals and strategies, and break them down into projects, tasks and timing for volunteers. Then we get to work on the really fun part of our job, which is talking to Owners and supporters of the co-op about how they can be part of our team.

Just since this summer started, Org Dev has brought in dozens of new volunteers to help with tasks ranging from short-term and tactical to long-term and strategic. Our volunteers engage in whatever way fits best with their schedules, their experience and their passions -- whether helping us research or manage data from their laptops at home, or lending specific expertise to our Finance & Site Selection teams, or helping us to plan and staff events and classes, or helping us talk to Owners and farmers about what our definition of “local” should be.

What’s most rewarding for me is the chance to meet and talk with other folks who are excited about Chicago Market and who want to help us grow and grow their own connections with our community at the same time. I feel like I’m making new friends, through Chicago Market, every week!

At the heart of our Org Dev team are Lizzy Appleby and Fred Mahaffey, the friendly coordinators who do most of our reaching out and “match-making” new volunteers to opportunities. Nancy Bucher is lending her expertise to help us create job descriptions and a plan to recruit and hire the folks who will eventually be our first real Chicago Market employees -- starting with a General Manager. Two fellow Board members are also active members of Org Dev: Malcolm Haar, who also leads the IT & Data group, and Grant Kessler, who is also our Board President and whose GLRP team was featured in a recent blog post. 

Behind the scenes, Org Dev also helps set up and trouble-shoot processes, training tools, and work-flow that make our efforts as inclusive and efficient as possible for the various teams. For instance, we use Basecamp, an easy but powerful project-management tool, to help us all share information and “to-do” lists with each other. Seeing all of the amazing conversation and activity that’s happening across our teams everyday is inspiring.

Want to join our Org Dev team, or find out more about Chicago Market projects that you can be part of? Email us at volunteer@chicagomarket.coop and Lizzy or Fred would be happy to chat. We’d love to welcome you aboard.


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