Our Society Board Director John Chillcott was elected for the first time in 2018.
He has enjoyed a 30-year career working for both Anglia and Ipswich Co-operatives including serving as Chief Executive at Anglia Society.
We spent some time learning more about his Co-op journey and how he will use that experience to help and grow Central England Co-op.
What is your first Co-op memory?
I’d say that it would have to be my mum kitting me out in school uniform at the Co-op department store in Bracknell. After that I did not have much contact until my early 20s, this was when I took up the role of Store Manager with Anglia Co-operative.
Tell us about your life and how you came to be part of Central England Co-operative?
That’s a big question! In terms of how I became a part of Central England Co-operative, that is really a reflection of the past few years’ experience I’ve had in the broader areas of social enterprise, co-operatives, charities and voluntary organisations. I have met some inspiring people that are very dedicated to a fairer way of doing business. People who want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I think our Society is on that track in bringing membership to the heart of the business and I felt I could bring my experience to bear in that endeavour.
Tell us about your role as CEC Director?
I’ve joined a board where my fellow directors are broadly aligned strategically but where each brings a unique and varied set of skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives to the challenges of delivering on our strategy. That makes for interesting board meetings where debate comes from the heart and the head but from a shared belief in the values and principles of co-operation. I enjoy the debates and helping to reach a consensus. I serve on board sub committees delegated with focusing on membership development and our Community Dividend Fund, which is at the heart of our business.
Tell us about the vital work you do helping community projects and local good causes?
Locally, I’m serving as a board representative on the Eastern Membership and Community Committee, which is great opportunity to make some real practical interventions with community groups, charities and social enterprises, helping them to realise their ambitions.
What do you think is the best thing about being a member of CEC?
Members own the business and have equal democratic rights to elect Directors they feel best represent their views on how our Society is run. Membership is not a loyalty scheme, though there are good member benefits to be enjoyed. It is an opportunity to get involved and shape the social impact your local Co-op can have on your community.
How do you like to relax and unwind?
I stepped back a few years ago from full time employment but remain actively engaged and employed across a number of organisations and companies. That is both work and relaxation, keeping my mind active. Beyond that, then Lesley and I enjoy hiking and I dabble in motorsport.
How would you best sum up Central England Co-operative to others?
A business with a purpose beyond profit and one which welcomes like-minded people on board.
Picture caption: Board Director John Chillcott is proud to be able to help grow Central England Co-operative for its colleagues and members.
Find out more about our Board and how you can get involved at www.members.coop