Board of Directors Interview Series – Jerelyn Wilson

  | Board of Directors

 From the BFC Board of Directors

This is the first in a series of interviews with members of the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board of Directors. 

Jerelyn Wilson is a seasoned volunteer, frequent flyer in the community, having served on many boards.  Jerelyn has been on the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board before, back in the late 1990’s for 6 years, during which time she was Vice-president of the Board, and involved in writing some of the policies that are still in place and guide the current Board in how to govern our Co-op.  In her current round, Jerelyn has again been the Board Vice-president, and is now the Board President, serving two full 3-year terms, and up for re-election this fall.  She is definitely committed to community service and our Co-op, and we appreciate her for that!

This interview gives some insight, fills in a little background about Jerelyn Wilson:

When did you become a member of the Co-op?

The first thing I did when I moved to Brattleboro in 1983 was join the Co-op. At that time the store was on Flat St. where the photography studio is now. I didn’t know much about food cooperatives. I was attracted by the healthy, unprocessed foods and the sense of community I felt among the staff and other shoppers. Before long I was volunteering as the newsletter editor.

What do you do for a living?

My background is teaching. I trained as a Waldorf teacher and taught for four years in the NYC Rudolf Steiner School before moving up to Vermont. My first job in this area was working in the packing house at Miller Orchard in Dummerston, picking apples and delivering cider. When the apple and cider season were over I was among the first waitress staff at Walker’s Restaurant where Duo’s is now. Currently I’m the CEO of BuildingGreen, Inc. a 14-person company located in the Estey Organ buildings on Birge St. We provide a range of innovative resources and offerings designed to support the needs of the champions at the forefront of the commercial green building industry. In everything I’ve done over the years my teaching background has been very useful.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Most people don’t like meetings. I guess I’m a little odd in that way. In my spare time I find myself volunteering on boards which always entails lots of meetings. It gives me the opportunity to get to know people in the context of doing meaningful activity for organizations and communities I care about. I do love being out-of-doors and am a lover of ferns and the smell of the earth after a spring rain.

How have you spent these last 15 pandemic months?

On Zoom. Thank goodness for Zoom! It has allowed my company to continue our activities. The pandemic has actually fostered a lot of creative thinking at BuildingGreen and we’ve all learned a number of different platforms that have allowed us to provide retreat-type events on Zoom that would normally have been in person.

What do you like most about our Co-op?

The values behind the kind of organization we are; the fact that we operate from a different economic model that embraces cooperation and community. We are not just a grocery store.

What drew you to serve on the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board of Directors?

I appreciate knowing the inner workings of an organization. I don’t like to hang out at the periphery. I’d rather be in the core, see things from the inside.

What do you like the most about being on the Board of Directors?

Developing and enhancing my leadership skills; being challenged by the different ways people think and the variety of perspectives people bring to the table.