Providing trusted information that Southside Electric Cooperative members can use and exemplary services they need — that is what SEC’s new vice president of member engagement and communications plans to do.
Sheena Lankford wants SEC members to “connect with their local electric cooperative,” whether it is for tips on preparing for a storm and possible outages, information about buying an electric vehicle, ways to reduce an electric bill, answers about installing solar at home and a myriad of other topics. As a member-owned cooperative, she also wants every point of contact with members to be a pleasurable experience.
“We are here for you; take advantage of that,” said Lankford, who began her work at SEC on Oct. 27. At the same time, Lankford encourages members to be involved with their cooperative by participating in board elections, following SEC on social media, reading Cooperative Living and bill inserts, looking for SEC articles and ads in local newspapers, and by visiting the website for a host of resources.
“SEC is your cooperative. The board, management team and all the employees are your partners in powering your homes and businesses, along with receiving a host of other services that benefit member-owners and communities across our 18 counties. I look forward to getting to know our members and building relationships with them,” she said.
Lankford leads both the member engagement team that works with SEC members for account-related inquiries and electricity use and the communications group that promotes transparent communications about the cooperative through digital and written sources and works in local communities.
“My job is to know the heartbeat of the cooperative and to guide and direct a strong member engagement and communications team. I am excited and ready to jump in and work together with others to improve the service and communications we provide to our membership.”
Lankford comes to SEC from Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative in Idaho, where she worked as manager of member services. Before that, she was member services supervisor at Golden Valley Electric Association in Alaska. She has also worked in title, escrow and financial fields.
“Sheena brings over 13 years of experience in telling the cooperative story and leading member engagement teams within the cooperative industry. She brings a high energy and commitment to the cooperative business model, which fits right in with our SEC team,” said SEC President & CEO Jason Loehr.
Lankford loves the cooperative business model of serving the member-owners with safe, reliable and affordable electricity and providing other value-added services. She said she found that same passion at SEC.
About the move across America, Lankford said she and her husband were looking to their future retirements and wanted to be in the eastern part of the country. Virginia was at the top of their list.
“After researching SEC, I believe in the direction that the cooperative is going and the strong, competent team that it has to guide it. SEC believes in transparency and the Seven Cooperative Principles, all of which align with what I believe.”
A native of Alaska, Lankford earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and an occupational endorsement in sustainable energy, both from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She also graduated from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program and holds several certificates in Acrobat and social media.
Lankford and husband Eli have a blended family with daughters Brooke, Aleah and Olivia and sons Devin, Trey, Scott and Drew. When not working, Lankford enjoys spending time with family, learning new things, meeting new people and traveling.
The position Lankford has filled was vacated by Ron White, who has moved to a new venture at the cooperative as vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs.
– Report by Jennifer Wall, Communications Specialist, Southside Electric Cooperative