Embracing Growth and Empowering Co-ops: My Journey Ahead

Embracing Growth and Empowering Co-ops: My Journey Ahead

August 18, 2023 by Julie Crook, Chief Services Officer

Not too long ago, I shared the completion of my MBA in management, with a focus on data analytics, on social media. Since then, many have been curious about my future plans, prompting me to answer simply, "I am working." Continuous personal and professional development has always been the guiding force in my life.

Growing up, my mother's dedication to daily crossword puzzles, aiming to keep her mind sharp, left a lasting impression on me. The pursuit of knowledge and constant learning has been my source of inspiration. I am driven to expand my horizons, gain new insights, and apply them to both my personal and professional endeavors.

Over the past 22 years in the co-op world, I have been captivated by its intricacies and daily operations. While the mission of co-ops remains constant, the surrounding world has undergone significant changes. Factors such as technological advancements, government regulations, broadband subsidiaries, and more have reshaped the landscape in which co-ops operate. To thrive in this evolving environment, I believe it's crucial to stay informed and adapt my skills and knowledge accordingly.

Empowering co-ops and helping them succeed is one of my primary objectives. Success, for me, is not merely achieving personal milestones but uplifting and supporting others. My dear friend, the late Mike Beam, from NEXT fiber, exemplified this spirit, consistently motivating both of us to seek new ideas and share them with the cooperative community. Our inspiring interactions set the tone for each week, fostering excitement for the challenges ahead.

As I continue honing my expertise in data analytics, management, and related fields, my ultimate goal is to empower cooperatives by enabling them to embrace change and capitalize on emerging opportunities. My focus remains on personal growth and self-improvement, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to Inside Info and the co-op community.

Completing my MBA is a significant milestone, but it's just the beginning. My commitment to continuous growth drives me to stay ahead in the ever-changing co-op landscape. Through expanded skills and knowledge, I hope to make a lasting impact on co-op success.

In the cooperative environment, we are more than colleagues; we are family. The sense of camaraderie and interconnectedness fosters collaboration, support, and shared success. Just like a family, we celebrate victories, tackle challenges together, and create bonds that extend beyond the workplace.

So, when I say, "I am working," it encompasses my dedication to becoming the best version of myself—a resource for my team and cooperative colleagues. The co-op world and Inside Info hold a special place in my heart, and I eagerly embrace the journey ahead, ready to contribute and make a positive impact.

Photo: Carrie Vugteveen, Sioux Valley Energy, and Julie Crook (OJ) enjoy some time together at the 2022 Insight Conference. Planning has started for our 2024 Insight Conference, get more details. 

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