OREMC's Hilliard Office Welcomes Sonya Cooley
It was Sonya Cooley’s dream to work at Okefenoke REMC. She grew up with the “REA” as her mom, Esther Woods, worked at OREMC’s Hilliard, Florida, office for 28 years before retiring as an operations clerk in 2022. It wasn’t until November of 2023 that an opportunity presented itself and Cooley came on board as OREMC’s newest member services representative. After nearly six months of on-the-job training, Cooley is happy to be in her permanent position in the Hillard office.
“I always wanted to work here,” Cooley says. “I remember coming to the office and being fascinated by the computers . . . in the 90s they were new. Mom worked right in our hometown and saw people she knew every day. Most of the guys who work in Hillard today I went to school with. I was the little sister of the group, as they were all friends of my brother’s. OREMC has always felt like a big family to me.”
It was Cooley’s banking experience that set her up to be a good candidate for the member services representative position. Prior to OREMC she worked for four years as the teller supervisor at PrimeSouth Bank in Fernandina. Cooley notes that she loved banking—was passionate about it—and worked in all the different departments: compliance, loans, auditing, training and customer service representative. “What I loved to do in banking and what I do at OREMC involves a lot of the same tasks and services, just in different industries,” Cooley explains.
Member Services Supervisor Liza Lloyd agrees, recalling, “When we interviewed Sonya, her commitment to the customer/member experience was evidenced by a story she shared. She had been working with a business customer over the phone to set up his online banking. It wasn’t working and he was considering taking his business elsewhere. Sonya volunteered to go to his place of business and help him in-person. To me this demonstrated she was willing to go the extra mile, and someone we want on our team.”
The sense of family, feeling valued and being close to home are added benefits for Cooley, now that she is working in OREMC’s Hilliard office. A self-described homebody at heart, Cooley enjoys spending time with her three children and husband.