The way we learn has evolved so much from when I began teaching high school in Montana years ago. Back then, the expectation was that teachers lectured and students listened. The same was true for professional learning events—there would be a series of speakers, you would listen and maybe take a few notes, and then you’d go home.

Gone are the days of thinking the only “experts” in the room are the ones standing onstage. As lifelong adult learners who have experienced and overcome challenges in our professional and personal lives, we all have something to offer.

In a few weeks, we plan to gather in Nashville for NRECA’s first in-person PowerXchange. This reimagined annual conference is designed to help us leverage our diversity and our common experiences to our mutual benefit.

As leaders, we can go to any conference and listen to the expert at the front of the room. But at PowerXchange, we’ll have increased opportunities to interact with one another, share our successes and lessons learned and discover more about emerging trends that are specific to the electric cooperative network.

While each co-op is unique, we face common challenges. Those include rapidly advancing technology, shifting member and employee expectations and a changing regulatory landscape. The three themes for PowerXchange couldn’t be more relevant for us today: “The future of electric power,” “Co-ops at work" and “Shifting from reactive to proactive leadership.”

We’ll get insights on how electric cooperatives can remain steadfast in delivering affordable and reliable power through significant industry change.

We’ll hear from workforce experts and engage with cooperative leaders on elevating co-op culture, management style and employee recruitment and engagement strategies to manage the shift in contemporary workforce expectations.

And we’ll learn about leading practices for risk management, crisis communications and leadership that can help our cooperatives move forward in a future chock-full of uncertainty.

PowerXchange provides the best opportunity for leveraging the power of our network. And to make the most of it, I encourage you to engage in the interactive sessions, ask questions and share your stories.

I look forward to seeing you there.