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July 2018

ConnectWith: SYEMC Director Karoline Overby

She had Wednesdays open

A born leader answers the call to serve her fellow co-op members.

At age 12, she asked her dad for a horse. Her wish was granted, but slightly altered. Karoline Overby has preferred two wheels over four ever since her dad bought her that dirt bike.     

Serving the members of Surry-Yadkin EMC as a director since 1997, Overby and her husband, Grant, have called her grandparents’ family farm in rural Pilot Mountain home for more than 30 years. The couple have two sons who have blessed them with three grandchildren. Nicholas, the eldest, is a local attorney, and Petty Officer Morgan Overby has served in the U.S. Navy for more than 11 years.     

“For most of my adult life, I have strived to serve God and serve others as best I can,” says Overby. She served as a Weight Watchers® leader for 24 years and for the last 21 years as secretary for Westfield Baptist Church.     

In 1997, then a stay-at-home mom working as a medical transcriber, Overby received a phone call from SYEMC’s general manager at the time. The co-op was seeking someone to finish the unexpired term of a director who had recently passed. Overby came highly recommended to fill the seat on the board.     

“I promptly declined, as I had quite the full plate at the time,” Overby recalls. That wasn’t enough to convince them. She received another phone call the next day from an aquaintance asking her to reconsider.     

“I told her my one free day each week was Wednesday,” says Overby. “She informed me that the board met on the fourth Wednesday of each month.” Overby took this as a sign and agreed to an interview.     

The new co-op director admits she knew absolutely nothing about serving on an electric cooperative board of directors. She quickly learned her commitment, with training and other workshops, was more than just Wednesdays. “I truly believe it was God’s plan,” she says. “As a wife and mother, I bring a different perspective to the board room and decision-making process.” She does not take for granted the privilege of representing the SYEMC membership.     

“Rates and increased purchased power costs are ongoing challenges for an electric co-op,” says Overby, “especially one with relatively slow growth and an average of seven members per mile of line.” Overby and her fellow board members focus first and foremost on what is best for the membership as a whole.     

Overby is grateful for the co-op employees and their level of commitment. “We wouldn’t be who we are without their hard work and dedication,” she says.     

The decisions and actions that come from the board room are not always popular. “Rest assured,” says Overby, “this co-op has the safety and best interests of all our members at the very heart of all we do.”     

Similar to her plans of riding on two wheels, Karoline Overby intends to serve the members of SYEMC as long as she is able.


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