For me, this is a time of year for reflection, and topping my list of things I’m grateful for is our wonderful community. I know I speak for all Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation employees when I say that we are thankful to be in such an incredible place. We are fortunate to live in the same place where we work, which makes our ties to this community that much stronger.
Last month, on page 24 we touched on four of the Seven Cooperative Principles, so this month, I’d like to tell you about the remaining three principles and revisit one we addressed last month. The Cooperative Principles are essential to the co-op business model and benefit all members of the co-op.
The fourth principle, “Autonomy and Independence,” means that the co-op operates in an autonomous way that is solely directed and guided by its members, reflecting the values and needs of our local community. This means the co-op is not being influenced by leaders or shareholders several states away. Instead, the co-op is led by the local members it serves.
The fifth principle, “Education and Training,” focuses on enhancing the knowledge of co-op employees and board members, which enables them to contribute to the development of the co-op. By investing in continuous learning for our employees and board members, our co-op is making a commitment to not only individual, professional and personal growth but to the future of the co-op and the high quality of service our members expect and deserve.
We also strive to inform our members (that’s you!) and the public about the mission and operations of the co-op. In fact, that’s why you receive this magazine every month: so we can share the latest co-op news and updates as well as energy efficiency and safety tips.
“Cooperation Among Cooperatives” is the sixth principle and fosters the ways co-ops work together to address bigger challenges. While this principle applies to all types of cooperatives, it is especially relevant in the energy industry. In our case, we put this principle in action after major storms and disasters that cause widespread power outages. When this happens, we call on nearby co-ops to come to our aid and assist with restoration efforts — and we, of course, extend the same help to them when they need us. I can’t think of a better example of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.”
We can connect and collaborate with other electric co-ops to tackle industry-related challenges like cybersecurity and an ever-changing energy landscape.
The seventh principle, which we mentioned last month, “Concern for Community,” is essential to who we are as cooperatives. We serve our community not only by being an essential service but by helping to power our local economy. Whether through economic development or donations to local causes, we invest in this community because it’s our home, too.
I think you’ll find that most cooperatives bring good people together to make good things happen in the community. We hope you feel that way about us, your local electric co-op.
On behalf of everyone at Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, we’re thankful for your membership, and we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.