Co-op General Manager Coaching Award Applications Now Open

Honor pays tribute to late mentor and consultant Bill Gessner
Bill Gessner Award Main Image
The Bill Gessner GM Coaching Award is named for a man who worked with more than 300 co-ops over 25 years as both a consultant and a mentor.

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) has opened applications for the Bill Gessner GM (General Manager) Coaching Award, which is named for a man who worked with more than 300 co-ops over 25 years as both a consultant and a mentor.

The award is open to all food co-op general managers nationwide, including and beyond NCG-member co-ops. Each year’s recipient will use the $3,000 award to make use of leadership coaching services to reach identified goals and outcomes and improve that general manager’s professional abilities. Shanon Davis, of Main Market, in Spokane, Wash., received the first-ever award last year.

“Bill — who passed away January 2019 — was the consummate co-op coach,” noted C.E. Pugh, CEO of St. Paul, Minn.-based NCG. “In his work and life, he created a trustful environment, provided encouragement and support to co-op leaders, offered guidance and inspiration to all co-op team members, and never lost his sense of wonderment and of human capability.”

Added Pugh: “This award honors and remembers Bill’s commitment to — and support of — professional development, and we look forward to many years of his legacy continuing to have a positive impact on our co-op leaders and the entire co-op sector.”

Food co-op general managers can learn more online about how to apply for this year’s grant by March 31. 

Founded in 1999, NCG is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. The organization helps unify food co-ops to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and, ultimately, offer more value to food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. Its 149 member and associate co-ops operate more than 200 stores in 38 states, with combined annual sales of $2.4 billion. 

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