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Food co-op GM Award accepting applications


Food cooperative general managers looking to up their game can now apply for a grant for leadership coaching services thanks to a program established by friends and colleagues of Cooperative Hall of Fame member Bill Gessner. The annual “Bill Gessner GM Coaching Award” celebrates the life and career of Bill Gessner, who worked with more than 300 co-ops over 25 years as both a consultant and mentor.

“Bill — who passed away January 2019 — was the consummate co-op coach,” said C.E. Pugh, NCG CEO. “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.”

“This award is to honor and remember 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,” Pugh added.


While the Award is administered by National Co+op Grocers, any food cooperative general manager can apply. The application deadline is March 31, 2021.


The GM Coaching Award is one of three grants made by the CDF Board of Directors based on recommendations of the Bill Gessner Legacy Fund advisors. The other grants support annual scholarships to the CCMA Conference and an annual award for start-up cooperatives.

About NCG

National Co+op Grocers (NCG), founded in 1999, is a business services cooperative for 147 members and associate retail food co-ops located throughout the United States.

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