VMDAEC held a meeting for Cooperative communicators to share ideas and best practices at the Glen Allen headquarters on Wednesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 30. The meeting kicked off with a roundtable discussion about emerging issues for communicators in the co-op world, followed by a group dinner hosted by ODEC. 

The group reconvened for breakfast and coffee on Thursday morning, then had a media training session provided by Marisa Nahem, a media relations expert from Pod 3 Strategies. The media training covered the full spectrum of best practices for engaging with the media including:

  • Building relationships with reporters and pitching stories
  • Responding to media inquiries with strategic messaging
  • Preparing your co-op leadership for interviews with the press
  • Highlighting successes and amplifying positive press coverage

The training included interactive opportunities to practice mock interviews so cooperative communicators can always be prepared to answer tough questions and share the cooperative difference with press. 

Afterward, Vince Rodriquez from NRECA called in via videoconference to preview the content that members can expect to see at the CONNECT Conference in May. Finally, during a working lunch, communicators received government affairs, Cooperative Living and ODEC updates from VMDAEC and ODEC staff. 

The co-op communicators working group plans to continue group meetings throughout the year to ensure that we are collaborative in our efforts to share cooperative stories with external stakeholders.

–Report by Sadie Gary, Director of Public Affairs, VMDAEC.