By Erin Campbell, CCC
Director of Communications for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives
I entered the electric cooperative industry back in 2008, but I still remember when the principle of “cooperation among cooperatives” really materialized for me. I was working for an electric distribution cooperative in Illinois at the time and I was attending my first statewide communications and member services conference. Before I knew what was going on, attendees were going around the room freely sharing successes and asking for assistance with promoting membership incentives and evaluating annual meeting programming. I was really awestruck; this kind of thing never happened in my years working in the financial services industry. It was unheard of to share your strategic communication planning with another bank – they were your competition after all! Driving home after that statewide conference, I remember thinking about how much I really appreciated the cooperative business model and that my fellow communications colleagues wanted to help me succeed. In fact, it was a neighboring co-op communicator who encouraged me to serve on the CCC Board back in 2011, and that opportunity has turned into one of the highlights of my professional career. (Thank you, Mike Wilson!)
I hope you have similar sentiments regarding the electric cooperative community. We are all here to help co-ops succeed, and there is much we can learn from one another. I encourage you to tap into the resources offered by your G&T, your statewide association, and NRECA. I appreciate that there are several layers of support in place, and I often find exactly what I’m looking for and more when a question arises. Now that I work as a statewide communicator, my focus has shifted from helping member-owners to helping our member co-ops. It is my mission to provide valuable resources and offer strategic communication support for Iowa’s electric cooperatives.
Serving on the CCC Board for more than five years, I want you to know that this spirit of cooperative service is alive and well within the CCC Program. NRECA support staff work hard with your elected CCC board members to continually evaluate and update program materials while also finding ways to promote the program within Co-op Nation. We truly want every CCC candidate to succeed in earning their certification, and we review our policies to remove hindrances or unnecessary elements. These objectives can only be met when we all work together. I am encouraged to see the CCC candidate pool increasing year-to-year, which means the value and importance of the CCC program is getting through loud and clear.
While my service on the CCC board doesn’t end for another year, my term as chair ends in May. It has been a privilege and honor to serve you in this capacity, and I am thankful for the opportunity to give back to a program that has given me so much. Many of you have contributed greatly to the CCC Program over the years as board members, committee members, or as peer advisors. This program relies heavily on your support, and we are grateful for your service. I continue to be amazed at what we can accomplish when working together in the cooperative spirit.