From the Top — November 2023 | OEC News

Paving the Way for Future Meetings: The Record-Breaking Drive-Through Experiment

Last month, we reviewed the record-breaking attendance at our mid-September Annual Meeting, which utilized a unique drive-through approach. The turnout was so impressive that it has prompted us to reconsider how we conduct future meetings.

Traditionally, Annual Meetings offer an opportunity for members to engage directly with cooperative governance. However, the conventional setup at Lloyd Noble has often presented logistical challenges. Attendees would descend a ramp not designed for foot traffic, causing congestion and inconvenience. Over the years, as our membership grew, attendance began to dwindle, possibly due to the hassle of navigating such an environment.

The drive-through format, introduced this year, seemed to remedy many of these issues. Despite members missing out on aspects like barbecue dinners and face-to-face interactions, the new format encouraged a broader swath of the membership to participate. Not only did attendance nearly double from previous years, but many members found it convenient to join the meeting while running errands or even just getting out of the house. The sight of pets peeking out from car windows added a touch of charm, hinting at potential pet-friendly features for future meetings.

This convenient format also drew a significant number of first-time attendees, suggesting the traditional format might not have resonated with a segment of our members, whereas the drive-through option was more appealing and accessible. The cooperative’s essence is its distinction from other entities. It’s not just about the services we provide but how we are governed by the very people we serve. The drive-through meeting embodies this principle, offering a streamlined process for engagement and governance.

Feedback from the membership has been overwhelmingly positive, with many favoring the new format. We too will miss the fellowship and engagement opportunities the prior format afforded, and we hope all members will continue taking an active part in this important meeting in the future. While change can be difficult to embrace, we look forward to continuing to learn and evolve right along with our membership.

As we move forward, it’s crucial to embrace formats and strategies that resonate with our members and make governance more inclusive and efficient. The evolution of our annual meeting is a testament to our commitment to adaptability, growth, and most importantly, our members.

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