Though she has just been a director at GreyStone Power Corporation for barely a year, Lucy Andres has a clear understanding of the value and the implications of information sharing.

As an attorney for a busy Atlanta, GA law firm, Andres depends on information as she prepares court filings for corporate clients in complex litigation and product liability matters, particularly those in the electronics industry. Whether it is for small businesses or Fortune 500 companies, the quality of her work depends on the information available to her.

It’s her legal training that makes Andres is especially aware of GreyStone’s policies and procedures pertaining to transparency and information sharing with members.

Generous Sharing of Large Service Portfolio

“Generous” would be one way to describe the co-op’s philosophy toward sharing information with its 110,000 members in eight rural and suburban counties surrounding Atlanta.

The philosophy reflects and reinforces the co-op’s consumer-centric emphasis.

Even a cursory glance at GreyStone’s website reveals the co-op’s large portfolio of consumer-member services, which, in addition to demand response programs and energy efficiency support, expands to include a federal credit union, gas services, and home security, among other benefits.

 

All the programs and benefits require ample information sharing. And the sharing is a policy that starts immediately after a member joins the co-op.

They receive access to a 24-page handbook highlighting up front that members “own” the cooperative. Among many topics, the handbook describes the history of the co-op, governance, capital credits policies, rate-setting. With two clicks, a member or anyone from the public can download the co-op’s bylaws.

GreyStone also uses social media and video postings to encourage member involvement. “Being a transparent cooperative is quite valuable,” Andres said. “It promotes trust and engagement with members.”

Member-Consumers Need Information in Making Choices

Andres, 34, is firmly a part of an online generation that expects information and transparency. “I would say that the members’ appetite for information is strong,” a measure she attributes to consumer expectations driven by the expansion of younger households and new businesses into GreyStone’s service territory.

Yet, Andres said, GreyStone’s board is sensitive about the need to strike appropriate balances. “We deal with so many issues – some of which are major – and dealing with those intricacies benefit from a sensitivity at the board level to privilege and confidentiality.”

She says the board doesn’t get overwhelming requests from the members for specialized information, however.

Any GreyStone member can attend board meetings. Other exposure to information is available through the co-op’s advisory groups. The opportunities to learn about the cooperative are limited only by a member’s level of participation, Andres said.

Overall, Andres said, the operating principle of the GreyStone board tilts toward openness, communication and above all, accountability. “In general, we believe that members want to be in-the-know. We believe it is to our benefit to help them understand everything they can about the cooperative.”

Getting to Know Lucy Andres

Lucy Andres is an associate attorney with Evert Weathersby Houff in Atlanta, where she assists in the management of both the national and local defense of clients involved in toxic tort and products liability litigation.

Her firm represents several Fortune 500 companies and many private companies as well. She previously worked as an attorney/Civil Division law clerk for the United States Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Attorney, in Macon, Ga. She is a graduate of Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor degree in May 2012.

She received her bachelor’s degree in May 2004 from the University at Albany, State University of New York. She serves as a board member of the Woodbridge Crossing Homeowners’ Association in Smyrna, Ga.

“As a board member, I will ensure that GreyStone’s corporate vision and overall corporate strategy is maintained and improved. I will encourage GreyStone’s board to explore marketing measures and philanthropic activities, as well as establishing corporate responsibility initiatives. My experience as an attorney and in governance, risk management and compliance will be an asset as a member of the GreyStone Board of Directors.”

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