By Jerri Imgarten, The Victory Electric Cooperative Assn., Inc.
This article is part of a series highlighting winning Spotlight on Excellence entries. We hope to capture the spirit of an entry and inspire others to submit their work in the Spotlight on Excellence Award contest.
A cooperative annual meeting is the one day of the year set aside for members to gather, share experiences, and hear from cooperative leadership and employees. White River Valley Electric Cooperative, a 48,000-meter cooperative based in Branson, Mo., wanted to take full advantage of their time with members by creating an award-winning video featuring various cooperative employees and their role in keeping the lights shining.
“We've done several videos in the past that highlight the linemen,” said Diana Prasifka, WRVEC marketing coordinator. “This year, our CEO wanted to turn the camera to the inside employees because they are just as important to the success of providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Our objective was twofold: first, to personalize the cooperative to our members by introducing them to some of the office employees, and by doing so, give credit to employees not normally in the spotlight; and second, to educate members on what it takes to provide new service.”
The video gave WRVEC members an inside view of the workings of the cooperative and a new appreciation, not only for what goes on at the cooperative, but also for those who spend their days doing the foundational background work that needs to be done to keep the lights on when they flip the switch.
Prasifka acknowledged the biggest challenge was getting initial buy-in from employees and finding ones who would willingly participate in a video interview. However, word spread quickly that it was relatively painless to be put in front of the camera and it was actually a fun process. It was out of most of employees’ comfort zones, but those featured in the video participated anyway and generously gave their time to the project.
The challenges proved worth the effort. “It was a joint effort for the whole cooperative,” said Prasifka. “It meant rearranging some schedules and putting up with cameras interrupting work around the office. But the feedback from our members was positive. They liked having a peek behind the scenes at how things work and who did what.”
WRVEC’s dedication to member education, project innovation, and success of the video earned WRVEC a Gold Spotlight on Excellence Award for Best Digital Storytelling.
Prasifka, who earned her CCC in 2016, encourages communicators to engage and work with people who have high standards for their work. “One tip is to give credit where it is due, especially to those who worked on the project with you.”
Don’t forget you can now view the Spotlight on Excellence Award entries on cooperative.com.