From the October issue of The Tennessee Magazine, "Between the Lines" written by SVEC President/CEO Mike Partin
News From Your Community
ACE Hardware, State Farm, REI, Land O’Lakes and Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative all share something in common: We’re all cooperatives. We may be in different industries, but we all share a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to thrive.
In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness, and service to the greater community good.
October is National Co-op Month. This designation attempts to draw attention to many different kinds of cooperatives, not just those that distribute electricity to their members. Along with SVEC, these companies are in business to benefit those they serve. Like co-ops all across Tennessee (as well as our nation and even in other countries), they adhere to the same set of seven principles that we do.
An easy way to understand this is to think about what makes co-ops special — and different from the way other businesses and organizations are governed and operated. These seven core values that guide us and characterize our unique business model are:
• “Voluntary and open membership”
• “Democratic member control”
• “Member economic participation”
• “Autonomy and independence”
•“Education, training, and information”
• “Cooperation among cooperatives”
• “Concern for community”
While each of these principles is an important part of what makes the cooperative business model unique and “Concern for the Community” sums up the essence of why we are in business, taken together, these principles capture the things we work toward, care about and believe in. We are governed by those we serve and exist solely to benefit our members. We look beyond the profit motive that guides most businesses to operate, instead, for the greater good. The services we provide are available to all. We help each other during times of crisis. We are future-minded with an emphasis on remembering that what we do today will benefit generations to come. We look outward with an eye toward making the communities we serve stronger and better. The Seven Cooperative Principles embody what we call “the cooperative difference.” They set us apart and make us who we are. And that, my friends, is something to celebrate.
So even though the official commemoration of Co-op Month is relegated to October, feel free to join me and all the other employees of Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in honoring the contributions we make to our communities all throughout the year.