Building a field of dreams

In the fall of 2017, many Texans sat glued to the TV watching the Houston Astros capture the World Series for the first time in the baseball team’s history. While they had a lot of great talent on the team such as Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander, much credit must be given to the coaching staff who worked side-by-side with players to refine and build their pitching, hitting and fielding skills.

Like coaches, mentors lead individuals to success — championing mentees to be their best, providing guidance so they learn to deal with situations thrown at them, and presenting game-changing tips and advice to help them realize their dreams and propel their winning careers.

CPS Energy understands the value and long-lasting impact that mentoring can have on a person’s life and career. We’ve even made it a key component of our Emerging Leaders Cohort (ELC) program.

ELC, a professional development opportunity for employees, is now in its second year. Earlier this year, 16 employees were drafted to participate in the 2020 program. They’ve split into four teams. For the past five months, they have been immersed in learning about themselves, their colleagues and the company. The eager-to-learn and -grow participants also have been virtually meeting with company leaders, who have served as mentors to them.

Last month, we kicked off a series spotlighting the four ELC teams. We continue that series today as we meet up with team Power Nerds. Read on to find out what valuable, out-of-this-park plays and coaching these team members have acquired from their ELC mentoring experience.

Ready to learn and grow

In baseball speak, mentees are sort of like rookies, soaking up as much knowledge as possible from coaching staff and seasoned players. While Madison Bernal of the Power Nerds team has had several mentors in her life, she still takes advantage of every opportunity to have and engage with mentors.

“Mentors are extremely valuable; they challenge you to grow,” said the Senior Project Lead for our company’s Construction Service Improvement (CSI) program. Madison, who’s been with CPS Energy since 2016, also shared that to get the full benefit of a mentoring experience, you need to “come ready with good questions and ready to grow — ready to face your shortcomings and learn from somebody wiser than you on how to be better.”

Having a formal mentoring relationship is something entirely new to Madison’s teammate, Marco Gomez. Nonetheless, he credits the mentoring sessions for the personal growth and development he’s already experiencing as a 2020 ELC participant.

“Being able to listen to and interact with our company’s leaders has helped me identify and find ways to improve my leadership skills. It’s helped me grow personally and professionally,” he said.

Marco, who joined our company in 2017, shared that the ELC program is also helping him better understand our organization and enabling him to network with other employees and other areas – something that can benefit him in his current role as a Procurement Agent within the Supply Chain department and in future roles with our company.

Hearing from the pros

While mentors may not have their faces splashed on trading cards or successes posted in record books, their personal and professional stories are invaluable and a compelling component of the ELC mentoring experience. In fact, this part of the program has been a fan favorite for the Power Nerds, especially for Eduardo Espinoza and Kemi Osoko.

“What I really enjoy about the mentoring is how they tell their stories and share so that we can grow and make our own stories. And later on, pass our stories on to somebody else,” said Eduardo, a Leak Crew Foreman in our Gas Solutions area.

Though he already has a decade of experience with our utility, Eduardo saw the ELC program as an opportunity for continued learning and for boosting his capabilities, credibility and confidence.

Similarly, Kemi saw the program as the chance to do something outside of her comfort zone, do more networking, and learn about other people and areas of our business.

A General Business Analyst in Records Management, Kemi also wanted to learn from seasoned leaders about what it takes to be a good leader, to take and apply this helpful advice and information to her own career.

“I love to listen to them and see how they navigated different obstacles and progressed in their careers because it gives me motivation, it motivates me to believe I can also do it,” said the two-year employee, adding that that the biggest takeaway she’s learned from the ELC mentors is the importance of saying “yes” to opportunities when they arise.

“Sometimes it looks like more work, but they’ve encouraged us to always say ‘yes’ to those things because you never know where it will lead you.”

Along with meeting regularly with internal mentors and participating in other developmental activities and workshops, each ELC team is working on their capstone project, which they’ll present to senior leaders in November when the program concludes.

With their enthusiasm to learn, grow and better themselves, it’s fairly safe to say that the 2020 ELC participants will enjoy striking success and their dreams come true.

Stay connected to our Newsroom, where we’ll continue our Emerging Leaders Cohort series and feature the other two teams.

Pam Maris

Pam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.