I’ve served as a director on a lot of boards over my career. From banks, schools, and non-profit organizations, to industry-specific institutions, I’ve offered a lot of time, and I hope some sense of insight and talent, to provide strategic guidance and support.

Many organizations and their boards are under significant scrutiny these days as whistleblowers and other concerned citizens demand new levels of accountability and transparency. And rightfully so in many cases. Some organizations are turning to outrageous perks to attract board talent, including large per diems that mirror a full-time salary, generous benefit plans including health insurance and pensions, and luxurious travel arrangements and accommodations for conference and meeting attendance. It’s no wonder people are sitting up and taking notice; those kinds of incentives bring into questions a person’s motivation for service.

I’ve always viewed board service as both a serious commitment and a labor of love. I have to be willing to do the work to provide the right strategic direction and governance, and I have to strongly believe in the vision and mission of the organization.

I’m happy to tell you that your board represents on both fronts. While they do earn a very modest per diem and attend some conferences and meetings to equip them to represent, that is not why they serve. You are.

Just in the last five years they have tackled some major issues and multi-million dollar decisions that forced them out of the comfort zone of a typical electric cooperative board. These included the launch of our fiber communications system and internet service, the rate restructuring, and the rebranding and opening of a new headquarters facility. There were a lot of tough and heated conversations around the board table, but your representatives always left the table united behind the decisions made on behalf of our consumers.

We’re in a period of dynamic growth and change. It’s critical that you are represented by individuals who believe in the cooperative business model, and embrace the change necessary for us to achieve our vision of vibrant, relevant and sustainable rural communities. If those concepts resonate with you, then I encourage you to consider serving on the MEC board. Of particular importance this year is finding representation for district 9, which serves the southernmost portions of our southeast Michigan territory and our Ohio territory. Harry Gentz of Blissfield resigned in June after 35 years of committed service. Districts 6 and 7 are also up for election in 2019. Please see page 5 of your November Country Lines magazine for more information, or call us at 800.492.5989. Learn more about board service on our website.

Your board leads with great courage, casting a direction that is well executed by our employee team. You are the reason they serve, and the reason we roll up our sleeves every day to bring the highest quality services and experiences to our rural space.