Damali Rhett - The Energy Co-op

Current member of: The Energy Co-op since January 2017

What roles have you served in co-ops, nonprofits, or other membership organizations (Board, staff, etc.)?

Executive Director, The Energy Co-op
Co-Lead, Tuck Association of Diverse Alumni
Member – Class of 1999 Executive Council

Why are cooperatives important to you and to the Philadelphia area? Cooperatives are a combination of the best of business and social responsibility. Cooperatives provide a service and have the ability to share resources, while engaging community members in a way that other business models cannot. Additionally, for me, the following are important aspects of cooperatives:

  • Creating opportunities for community engagement
  • Teaching transferable business skills such as financial management
  • Keeping dollars within a community

Has experience in the following: Group process and decision-making; Meeting facilitation; Public speaking; Strategic planning; Project management; Business

How will your experience, skills or unique perspectives strengthen the PACA Board? Prior to joining The Energy Co-op, I spent almost 10 years consulting in strategy for a variety of organizations. As part of my work, I had to consider broad strategic objectives, how to develop and implement processes in ambiguous situations and how to shape and think about about the future. In addition to my strategy experience, I also have a strong analytical focus and understand how to use data to help drive decision making. Lastly, because I am new to co-ops, I bring a perspective that will allow PACA to look at its goals in a different light.

Where do you see PACA in 5 years?  I see three major goals for PACA in five years. First, is the ability to shape policy for co-ops through state and municipal legislations and regulations. Second, I see PACA as an education organization on cooperatives for the general public. While people may have an idea of what cooperatives are and do, they are not necessarily sure of all the benefits that are available to them as coop members. Third, I see PACA as a resource for existing and developing coops.

As you think about the three primary board roles—ambassador, advocate, and asker—in which role(s) do you think you will want to be most active?  Asker has always been my lane. Since almost first job, I have been a person who has asked questions and then used those answers to offer solutions. For example, I was selected to be on the Commission for DC Child Support Guidelines despite me having no children and no experience in Family Court. However, my role was to come in and help them challenge some of their previous notions. Additionally, I helped create opportunities to engage new thinking in the development of the guidelines.