Start jotting down the various audiences that need and deserve clear, timely and useful communications from pretty much any electric cooperative across the country, and the list fills in pretty quickly: member-owners, co-op employees, news outlets, board members, elected officials, community leaders and more.
Between the range of key audiences, the number of projects to manage, and the ever-changing landscape of technology, prudence dictates that a cooperative’s communications leader takes to heart one of the guiding principles of the rural electric cooperative model: Education, Training and Information.
Community Electric Cooperative Manager of Communications Jessica Parr has done just that. This past October, she completed the Certified Cooperative Communicator program conducted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She was among 28 similarly situated counterparts from cooperatives across the United States, including three others from Virginia. The group’s members met virtually and in person over a seven-month period to hone their communication skills and gain insights on best practices. They capped their instruction with a week-long session in Madison, Wis.
“In successfully completing the Certified Cooperative Communicator program through NRECA, I’ve not only opened new doors in my career at Community Electric, but also reinforced the value of communication and leadership in the business landscape,” Parr says. “This journey has been a testament to the power of continuous professional development and the support of a dedicated employer and community. I’m ready to take on new challenges and make a positive impact in my field.”
Parr joined CEC in 2017. A native of Suffolk, Va., she describes her time at Community Electric as “fulfilling and never dull.” “There’s never enough time in the day to accomplish all that I want to but, like my colleagues, I am committed to serving our members well each and every day,” she says. “Participating in NRECA’s Cooperative Communicator program provided me with a welcomed opportunity for professional growth. It also confirmed what I’ve witnessed for years now — that the electric cooperative community is filled with wonderful people who are good at what they do, determined to get better, and who embody the fifth guiding principle of electric cooperatives — continuous learning to serve and represent our member-owners more effectively.”