Dan Madsen

Retired Information Security Architect

I have been a co-op member for four years. For three and a half years, I read the newsletters and emails but viewed the co-op basically as a natural food outlet. Then the pandemic hit and the murder of George Floyd occurred. Seward’s responses raised my awareness to how Seward exemplifies my values. It made me proud to be an owner.

It was then I decided I wanted to be active in promoting and contributing to Seward achieving its mission. Since I believe the current board is making the right decisions, I do not want to replace one of them; I would like to fill any vacancy left by a departing director.

I believe my 35 years of experience as a contributor and manager in large enterprises honed my skills in areas relevant to serving on the board. I have experience reading financial reports. I’ve written vision documents with a 3-year horizon. I’ve learned to make strategic decisions that remain good decisions over the long term. I’ve worked with the concept of stakeholders since 1990 and identify at least seven groups of Seward stakeholders. I have success working collaboratively across departments, and I’ve seen failures from not collaborating. I am proud of having worked collaboratively to bring Quaker Voluntary Service to the Twin Cities.

To me, working collaboratively involves open discussion with all views on the table, adjusting my views based on others’ insights, then contributing to reaching a consensus decision. I define a “consensus” not as a decision that everyone agrees is the absolute best – it is a decision everyone agrees they can live with.

The co-op’s current efforts to meet its Ends Statement is what caused me to want to contribute to meeting that vision. I can contribute by helping make policy decisions that balance conflicting forces. For example, a decision on offering more conventional foods must balance the goals of increasing food accessibility for the community and sustaining the co-op financially against the goals of positive environmental impacts and being a source of natural foods.