Be the light: Bend toward empathy

A new ad campaign is being developed by Basin Electric with the line “Be the light.” The ads show how Basin Electric and its member cooperatives can be the light in communities and homes like only a cooperative can.

You may have seen the story in the March/April 2016 Basin Today Magazine, Be the Light: How Basin Electric employees shine in their work. In addition, we’re starting a blog feature here, by the same name.

Nicole Perreault

Nicole Perreault has been called “The Nice Jillian Michaels.”

She is certainly as motivating as the television personality, but Perreault has a training style more bent on empathy than on decibel levels. She has been blogging on an internal blog called BE Well and running Basin Boot Camp for several years now, and works as a fitness instructor and personal trainer at the Missouri Valley Family YMCA in Bismarck, ND, in addition to her full time job at Basin Electric.

Perreault says when clients complain about not having the time to work out, she helps them figure out a schedule. “If you decide working out or eating right is a priority, you will make it happen. Everyone has a busy schedule,” she says. “Plan your workouts for the week. Take a spin class on Monday if you know Tuesday is a busy evening. People do better if they have a plan and a routine. Also, don’t expect perfection. There will be days where you don’t work out or eat healthy, the important thing is getting on the right track the next day. Don’t let one bad day turn into a bad month.”

The work on the BE Well blog and Basin Boot Camp eventually turned into a cooperative-wide Wellness Committee. Perreault says employees reap benefits from living healthier lives, and so does Basin Electric. “I know when I’m working out, I’m in a better mood, I sleep better at night. It boosts my immune system, so I’m not getting sick all the time,” she says. “You never hear someone say, ‘I started working out and eating better, and I feel like crap.’”

Perreault says despite her commitment to fitness, it’s not always easy for her either. “I can definitely relate to people when they don’t feel like working out,” Perreault says. “There’s days I don’t feel like teaching, but I have to because I’m on the schedule. In a way, I’m almost in a better situation because it forces me to workout. I don’t have the option of skipping that work out.”

Beyond physical wellness, leadership roles have helped Perreault transition into being a supervisor.

“A lot of times, people just need support and encouragement. Especially when they’re new to a situation. You want to be welcoming,” she says. “You get better results when you show compassion. People will open up to you, and you’ll have a better working relationship.”

Perreault encourages leadership training and professional development as much as she encourages walks and healthy eating. “I see Basin Electric going in the right direction.”

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