category Board of Directors

Members Assembly and Thirsty Thursday

It has been quite the 18 months hasn’t it my friends! But this month as
the Austin sun returns to bake our fair city, we have an opportunity to
celebrate all that we have: our resilience, our humanity, our co-op, our
cold beer and our member owners!

In recognition of all that we have endured, BSCO would like to thank and
recognize all the members who have persevered with us in recent times
with a celebratory event, happy hour and social. Let’s get together,
review the state of the business, pull some (free for members) pitchers
from behind the bar, snack on some chips, and feel just a little bit of
that stress float away.

You are invited at 6pm on Thursday July 1st to join us at BSCO to meet
with your fellow member/owners as well as the worker assembly and board
members. We shall review the annual report, conduct feedback activities
relevant to the operation of your co-op, hear the vision the kitchen,
beer and business teams have for the coming year, and drink a beer or
two. Or three (responsibly).

We recognize that as our membership grows, we should not limit this
event to only those within reach of the pub. We alas, cannot post you a
beer, but I shall set up a zoom link so that you can chat questions and
have your say with regards to the operation of your co-op. Please email
me at graham.green@blackstar.coop for login information with subject
line “Thirsty Thursday”.

Many thanks and all the best. See you on July 1st @ 6PM.

Volunteer Opportunity: Report Committee

Dear Valued Member-Owners –

The Workers’ Assembly and the Black Star Board are currently preparing
the 2020 Report to Member-Owners.  We are looking for one or two
volunteers to assist in reviewing the report, asking any questions, and
providing a stamp of approval.  This volunteer opportunity will require
anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours total, over one or two meetings.  The first
meeting will be held on May 19th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
If you are interested in joining us in this work, please contact Dacia
Schoolfield at dacia.schoolfield@blackstar.coop.

Prost!

Board of Directors Election Results

Many thanks to all of our Member-Owners who voted in the Fall 2020 Co-Op election. We had a significant voter turnout, and the results are in. The Black Star Board of Directors welcomes two returning board members and one new board member. The BOD members will be officially named to the board in the December 2020 meeting and their terms begin January 1, 2021.

Returning: John Warren
John has 20+ years of business & technology management experience, and he is also an
extremely consistent Member-Owner; he can be found at the Co-Op most Wednesday evenings. John finished his first term on the Black Star Board of Directors and looks forward to supporting
the Co-Op in the years to come. He would like to focus on Co-Op survival and growth, in a post
COVID-19 world.

Returning: Dacia Schoolfield
Dacia has 20+ experience in Quality Control Management; she has also moonlighted as a
Culinary & Pastry Arts Student. Dacia finished her first term on the BOD, and is excited to
continue supporting the Workers’ Assembly, as well as her fellow board members. She will
focus on effective communication between the WA and the BOD, as well as supporting the team
in pursuing grants and available funding sources.

New: Brian Crum
Brian and his family relocated to the Austin area in 2012. Black Star was his first local brewpub
in the Austin area, and remains his favorite to this day. An engineer by degree, he has worked in
aerospace, automotive and now urban mobility. He has travelled extensively in Europe and Asia
and enjoys meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. He has many lifelong
friendships that started with six simple words, “Can I buy you a beer?”

If you would like more information regarding the Black Star Board of Directors, please check out the
BOD page. As always, if you have questions for the board, please send an email to board@blackstar.coop.
Thank you for being a Member-Owner and thank you for being involved in the Black Star Co-op. As we
approach the holiday season, don’t forget that Black Star merch always makes for a good gift, as do gift
cards, crowlers, and growlers.
See you at the pub.
Prost!

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Onward & Upwards: A Reflection

This. Has. Been. A. Year.

Who would have thought right at the beginning of January 2020 that in the year to come we’d face a
global pandemic, a crazy presidential election, the loss of Alex Trebek, and the loss of Sean Connery – all
in the same year. I, like many of you, am looking forward to putting 2020 in the rearview mirror. Regardless, we enter that time of year where reflection, compassion, and the thirst for progress ushers
us into 2021. I reflect on what’s important, significant, and what brings me happiness: family, friends,
friendly faces at Black Star Co-Op, and a freshly poured pint of Vulcan on the patio.
Due to the heroic efforts of the Workers’ Assembly, and through the dedication of our amazing
Member-Owners, Black Star Co-Op not only celebrated a ten-year anniversary this year, but the pub
remains open, operational, and ready to offer up inspired craft beer with a side of amazing food.
We are all fortunate to have Black Star in our lives – to support an institution that celebrates the worker,
is democratically controlled, provides meaningful and exceptional services, while also building a true
sense of Gemütlichkeit.
So take a moment to reflect on the year you’ve had, the year we’ve all had. And come on down to the
Co-op for a cold beer and some good food. Celebrate the inevitable end of 2020, and more importantly,
celebrate the year to come. I propose a toast to honor Black Star, the Workers’ Assembly, and the
Member-Owners. Together, we will prevail.
I look forward to seeing you at the pub.
Prost!

Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting

Come one, come all, join us this Fall for a virtual Member-Owners meeting!  

During these crazy, pandemic times, we are moving the Member-Owners meeting to an online platform.  We encourage all M/Os to join us this Sunday, November 15th at 10am; please RSVP here.

We’ll have an action-packed agenda to cover with everyone.  Well, maybe not quite as exciting as JCVD’s latest flick, but still chock-full of data, anecdotes, the occasional laugh, and fun surprises.

After the virtual meeting, plan to head to the pub for a socially distant, outdoor pint with members from the Board of Directors, as well as with our esteemed members of the Workers’ Assembly. 

In the meantime, stay safe, healthy, and drink good beer. 

Candidate Questions and Answers

[Candidates appear in alphabetic order]

Brian Crum

Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
When I first moved to Austin, Black Star was one of the first local brewery’s I visited. Over the years, it remains one of my favorites – good food, great beer! Being a co-op makes it even more unique. When it became apparent that many Austin restaurants and bars were not going to survive COVID-19, I made a list of those that I would really miss and a commitment to support them. Black Star was on that list. Becoming a Director is part of that commitment to do everything I can to help ensure it not only survives
but thrives.

What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years? My 1-year goal would be to ensure BSCO navigates the rapidly changing business environment while staying true to its Co-op principles. This means we are nimble and flexible and able to adapt quickly as needed. Over a 5-year period, in addition to a thriving business, I would like to see every customer who visits BSCO want to become a Member-Owner. Be more than a customer. The Co-op has created an environment and such a unique selling proposition that anyone who loves the beer and food can’t help but want to be part of it.


What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?
In my professional life, I have attended board meetings as a member of management and company officer for the past 8 years. I am well versed in financial and operational disciplines as well as the fiduciary duties that would be required of a member of Black Star Co-op Board of Directors. I am also familiar with the Co-op principles as we were part of a co-op school when my children were younger. I did some homebrewing when I was in college. My beer was pretty bad so that only reinforced that I am
a better beer drinker than brewer. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs.
To quote a line from the TV show Cheers. “You wanna be where everybody knows your name”. Every brewpub has its own vibe. Based on location (i.e. not in an industrial park), I think Black Star can be the neighborhood pub that others cannot. It has the right location and right size (not too big, not too small) to be the place you stop by with friends after work for a beer and a delicious bite to eat.
What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
The 7 th Principal: Concern for Community is my favorite principle. Sustainable development and sustainable resources are important principles in today’s world. The fact that the co-op embraced this concept years before it came to the forefront of popular conversation says something about our core beliefs. Creating and now operating a business that will contribute to the community for years to come by being mindful of our resources and the impact to future generations is inspiring.

Dacia Schoolfield

Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
The opportunity to serve on the Black Star BODs is a unique, interesting, and challenging experience. Over the past three years, I’ve learned a great deal about how the co-op runs, measures its performance, gauges success, and improves organizational output. I’ve also learned about policy
governance and democratic worker control. Most importantly though, I’ve forged relationships with the Workers’ Assembly and want to continue to foster an environment where communication, trust, and diligent efforts are rewarded. I am personally committed to the Black Star Co-Op, the Black Star team, and have a legitimate stake in seeing Black Star succeed.


What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?
I’d like to see Black Star in a financially stable position, while still supporting the basic tenets that make Black Star unique: paying livable wages, locally sourcing, commitment to the community at large, etc. I’d
like to see an expanded marketing presence, establishing Black Star as the cornerstone neighborhood brew pub.


What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?
With twenty years of manufacturing experience, fifteen of which spent in quality management and team building roles, I’ve developed both personally and professionally. This development includes: a strong but gentle voice, a passion for processes, enthusiasm for the worker, and a commitment to contribute my personal best. I’ve learned patience, communication, empathy and drive. I’ve been able to draw upon my professional experience during my time on the Black Star board (2017 – 2020), and I look forward to continuing my service.


Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs.
To differentiate Black Star from other options, I’d focus on 1) crafting memorable, award-winning beer 2) creating a simple but innovative menu, with some portion rotating based on season, and 3) creating a family-friendly environment.


What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

Out of the seven co-operative principles, the principle that speaks the most to me is that of Democratic Member Control. There is strength in autonomy, in independence and strength in numbers. Democratic Member Control captures the significance of each member’s voice – with not one individual’s voice, opinion, or desire being greater than his or her neighbor’s. I believe in the co-operative board working for and with the Workers Assembly, with ultimate responsibility to the co-op members.

John Warren

Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I want to continue working with the Board especially during these unprecedented CV-19 times and support Black Star to whatever is next.


What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?

I’ve always believed in the unique business model of the Co-op and believe that Black Star will survive these unprecedented times. The Member-Owner model, together with its Community focus, has proven resilience. What comes next after the pandemic is the big unknown. My goal is the survival and future growth of Black Star as a business yet to be defined.


What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors?
I have 20+ years of business management experience albeit not in the brewing or restaurant business, however, I believe that I have proven the value of my acumen as a board member.

Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local brewpubs.
The Black Star Co-op model survived and then thrived post CV-19!


What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?

As a second-term candidate, my favorite principal has changed to 5th Principle: Education, Training and Information. During these unprecedented times we are all learning and sharing for the benefit and
survival of Black Star.

Board Meeting Review

As long-time regular patrons of Black Star who enjoy the house beer and the wonderful staff, we have come to feel like a part of the Black Star family. We saw how the Co-op handled the COVID19 difficulties, successfully rising above other businesses in keeping patrons and staff safe while continuing to stay open, and were intrigued by the great opportunity offered in the May newsletter to attend a board meeting as guests.

Although we didn’t have any expectations beyond observing the meeting, we were immediately welcomed into the Zoom forum with an introduction of each member and warmly invited to participate throughout the meeting.  It was a bit disappointing to know that only one board member is female, but refreshing to learn that Dacia is the dedicated president (who attended despite feeling under the weather).  The board is comprised of a mixture of legacy and new members, and all seemingly dedicated to offering their talents to the success of our coop.

After a thorough presentation of the current state of affairs by Chris, who represented the staff, a few other topics were covered.  The meeting was run efficiently, and members were very respectful of each other’s time and contributions. We left feeling that the Co-op is in great competent hands, and that this is a group we would feel comfortable contributing as members.

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly.


Interested? Our next virtual Board Meeting will be held virtually, this Sunday morning at 9:30am. Attend in sweatpants if you wish!


Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board(board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.

e-xtravaganza Catch up with member-owners, co-op workers, and friends! Learn how your co-op is faring during these interesting times.

A friend gave me advice recently not to accept my solitary day-to-day
situation as the “new normal” but to challenge myself to achieve a
normality despite a global health crisis. This has led me to consider how
to maintain activities, responsibilities, and friendships until these
difficult times have passed – yes there are compromises to be made,
but just putting everything on hold should not be a viable option.
In the spirit of this, just as the word church is said to represent the
people not the building, I would suggest that words Black Star Co-op
represent the personalities, the ideals, the beer, and the community –
all of which can be enjoyed beyond the confines of Easy Wind Drive. So
lets get together (virtually), raise and glass, and check in on how we are
all doing.

Our first Virtual Extravaganza Members event is scheduled for Sunday, June 7th at 4pm . Fill up a growler or grab a 6 pack from the Co-op and join us to learn about how your Co-op is doing. The hardworking staff from the Co-op will give an update as to how they are doing, how the business is
adapting to its situation, and how they are making decisions at this time
founded in our ethics and guiding principles. If you are lucky, Marcus
might treat us to a little co-op trivia, and Dacia will give the board
perspective on how the Co-op is operating with reference to the long
term financial stability we are all looking to secure.
Above this we want to hear from you! How are you doing? Have you
any stories to share with your fellow members? Questions about the
Co-op? Beer ideas? Groan-worthy jokes? Bring it on!

I’m going to schedule around 30-40 minutes content as big zoom calls
are always better with a little structure. After this we can descend into
more general chat. We shall be naming and shaming those who are not drinking Black Star beer…

!REGISTER HERE!

I joke, we would never do that. But if you can stop by the Co-op,
say hi to the pub team and fill up a growler or two, they would love to
see you! I can’t wait to see you. Stay safe and all the best

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly. Interested? Now’s the time to attend a Board Meeting—from your own home!

Our next meeting will be virtual at 9:30am on May 31st!
Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board (board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.