February Staff Profile: Karen Faunce

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Karen Faunce and her family moved to Moscow, sight unseen, in 1997 so her husband could pursue his Ph.D. in Historical Archaeology at the University of Idaho. They ended up liking Moscow so much—the community and high quality of life, especially for families—that they stayed.

18 years later, Karen doesn’t have a noticeable drawl, but it’s there; it has just become more “context specific.” Now, the drawl only reappears in certain situations, like her recent family trip to Texas.

Karen says that her work history is a patchwork of experience that led her to her current position as Human Resources (HR) manager at the Moscow Food Co-op, a position both demanding and satisfying. She oversees hiring processes, applications, and recruitment; monitors performance reviews; and provides trainings for staff.

“People sometimes think that working at the Co-op will be a laidback experience, and that’s not really true. The Moscow Co-op is fast-paced and often demanding. The staff is playful, but people work hard.”

Karen says that she appreciates working with a great staff and that there is an emphasis on self-care and healthy mindset. Two desirable traits of successful Co-op candidates are excellent customer service, both internally (with colleagues) and externally (with Co-op customers), and the desire to work hard in a fast-paced environment. In interviews, Karen likes to ask structured but open-ended questions that give her a better sense of the applicant’s personality.

As we all know, the Co-op is much more than a regular grocery store—there is a clear strategic plan, support of local growers, an emphasis on community outreach, research of purchased and requested items, and a sense of community within the store between staff and customers.

Jane Austen and Pat Conroy are two of Karen’s favorite authors, but when it comes to family entertainment, it’s usually science fiction or fantasy. Her family loves to watch or read such classics as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. They also enjoy travelling, usually to visit out-of-state family, but also for an annual summer trip to Priest Lake for kayaking and huckleberry picking.

Yoga is a personal passion that Karen practices regularly. She has been a yoga teacher for years and currently teaches two classes on the side. Her classes utilize the Feldenkrais Method, a “unique approach to movement and learning” (http://moveimprove.net/method.php). It is a method that supports the improvement of posture, coordination, flexibility, and patterns of inefficiency associated with restricted function (http://feldenfraisinstitute.org/about/).

Although Karen is still working, as many of us are, on finding that delicate balance between work and personal life, her ongoing yoga practice helps.

We welcome Erin Rishling to our staff profile! Erin wrote about our Mamas + Papas group until it retired last month. She looks forward to sharing with you stories about your friendly Co-op staff.  Naomi Brownson, who formerly wrote the staff profile, is now writing our 5 Spot features. - Editors