New Ecosystem is Taking Root: LACE seeks Two Co-Executive Directors

Irie Ewers is an integrative sustainability strategist and creative storyteller with a knack for combining systems-thinking and product stewardship into organizational development.

Just as an ecosystem is a community of organisms interacting within their physical environments, the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) seeks two Co-Executive Directors to build out the Louisville Community Grocery project and lead LACE’s strategic vision forward. Since its founding in 2017, LACE has organized a network of community activists, business folks, farmers, and teachers.working towards LACE’s mission: fostering an ecosystem of cooperative social enterprises built on racial and economic equity. As Co-Executive Director, this is an exciting time to join a non-profit with a startup culture where you can influence strategy, organize structure, and formulate deliverables to enact cascading change.

According to Interim Director, Stephanie Mutchnick, it is increasingly important that community and worker owned businesses act as pathways for economic development, particularly by empowering and equipping communities explicitly excluded from the current model of capitalism. Just as healthy ecosystems thrive upon diversity, it is LACE’s vision that a collaborative network of cooperatives will work in conjunction to address food insecurity, economic injustices, and inequitable financial participation. Establishing the Louisville Community Grocery cooperative is just the starting point.

 

Why a split Co-Executive Director role?

LACE has split the Executive Director role into two positions. Not only does this shared leadership structure equip leaders for 21st century challenges but it also presents immense opportunities. Certain challenges that co-leadership structures mitigate include shared responsibilities to alleviate burnout, and offer an exciting opportunity to collaborate with another leader by tapping into a completely different conceptual framework, perspective, and potential community network. The timing is also crucial. The Co-Executive Directors will lead the Louisville Community Grocery project to physical completion. By treating the grocery as LACE’s first prototype project, you’ll gain leadership insights that are fundamental for LACE’s continued success. As interim Executive Director, Stephanie Mutchnick reiterates, it is important to encode all of the project knowledge into the LACE organization. You’re not only enacting Louisville’s first cooperative grocery, but your gained development knowledge will be central to LACE’s strategic vision.

 

What does the current ecosystem look like?

Currently, LACE and LCG organizations are composed of thirteen members between the two boards and two full time employees. To further development, LACE has secured funding from several major funders. In 2022, we will grow our pop-up shop program expanding relationships and bringing fresh local food to Central and West Louisville. And we are launching the Deli Up project in collaboration with Common Table, developing a new line of healthy, affordable, prepared foods.

As Co-Executive Director, this organizational foundation presents an opportunity to rally over 500 community grocery owners. While most projects, such as the 10 Pop-Up Markets in Russel, Smoketown, Shawnee, and Parkland have been mostly volunteer-led, you’ll help translate such efforts into a thriving staffed organization. Managing the two full time employees, including LCG’s Ownership Campaign Manager and Deli-Up Project Manager, will continue to grow physical project presence in the community while making steady progress in securing a location for the physical grocery. 

 

A new ecosystem is well-positioned to thrive, it just needs YOUR unique perspective, experience, and passion to cultivate expansion.

 

Are you up for the challenge?

If you’re excited to foster an organizational culture based on respect, collaboration, and learning, rooted in the principles of community organizing and cooperative governance, and garner a huge sense of achievement from being able to operationalize passion, please check out the official job description here. If interested in applying, simply send an email cover letter & resume to hiring@lace.coop. Application deadline is January 31, 2022. 

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