Along with providing reliable, resilient electric and natural gas services, we’ve been proud to have a rich tradition of giving back. That’s the benefit of having a public power utility where the employees are your neighbors and invested in the community where they live, work and play. Before the pandemic, our employees dedicated more than 22,000 volunteer service hours to our community. COVID-19 put a halt to our traditional ways of serving but it couldn’t stop our commitment to make a difference. As National Volunteer Month comes to a close, we’re highlighting some of our team members who continued giving back despite the pandemic.
Manager helps break down barriers for those in need
Last fall, Andrea Guadarrama, Senior Manager of Enterprise Alignment, got an inside look at the challenges our community was facing during the pandemic while serving as one of our United Way Loaned Executives. Her work with United Way came during a year when our employees and retirees gave approximately $980,840 to the annual campaign.
Andrea’s experience eventually led her to become Vice Chair of United Way’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Council. She now works with other leaders to make sure our community is having crucial conversations to break down barriers for women, and to organize events that encourage local business to have important conversations about hot topics like equal pay and the digital divide.
As part of the Safety Net Impact Council, she works with non-profits to ensure that dollars received through United Way have their greatest impact on local families and individuals. Andrea is also helping United Way think strategically about the future and plan how they will impact Bexar County and San Antonio.
Mentor offers hope, encouragement to teens
Summer Johnson, an Environmental Analyst, is a dedicated leader with a huge heart for encouraging high school students toward success. She’s been a mentor with our Company for nearly a decade, beginning with our InspireU mentoring program. During the pandemic, she’s stayed connected with a group of students at CAST Tech High School through a virtual platform to continue being a source of hope and encouragement. In their monthly meeting, she helps them talk through any challenges they’re facing and celebrates their wins. Summer believes mentors have a unique opportunity to be an encouraging voice to help them progress and strive toward their dreams.
VP makes a difference through American Red Cross
Jonathan Tijerina, VP of Enterprise Risk & Development, is a volunteer and the current Board Chair for the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He’s served on the board since 2018 and became Board Chair last June. The committed group of volunteers take part in disaster recovery efforts, provide CPR and First Aid training and certification, coordinate blood donations and serve and care for those impacted by natural disasters.
Jonathan finds great inspiration from the volunteers that he considers the backbone of the organization. Despite the pandemic, he and his fellow volunteers developed a campaign for fundraising and helped draw more attention to the local chapter. In March, the San Antonio City Council presented a resolution to his local chapter commemorating American Red Cross Month and the City’s volunteers for their tremendous efforts.
Director makes a paw-sitive difference
When it comes to caring for the environment and pets, Angela Rodriguez, Director of Climate Strategy & Sustainability, is a natural. Angela has a big heart for rescuing furry friends in our community. As Treasurer of our Company’s networking group, Worthwhile Animal Rescue Mission (WARM), she helps rescue stray cats and dogs, some that have been found near or in our own facilities. One such rescue happened in the midst of COVID as WARM saved a boxer that was found close to our Solar + Battery Energy Storage facility near Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Angela reached out to the Austin Boxer Rescue group to take in the lonely canine and help him find a new home. WARM members made a donation to the group for the boxer’s medical care.
Executive empowers others with free legal support
Devi Kumar-Nambiar, Vice President & General Counsel, has been an advocate for local patients diagnosed with an incurable lung disease with nowhere else to turn. A decade ago, her husband, Anoop, a pulmonologist with UT Health San Antonio and the Veterans Affairs, co-founded the San Antonio Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group. In the process of helping him connect patients to free medical resources, she discovered they also needed free legal counsel.
Having worked with the San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA) for several years as a volunteer attorney, Devi sought a partnership between the support group and SALSA. Since January 2021, support group members have been able to obtain pro bono services from SALSA to prepare their wills and other end-of-life documents.
Springing back to in-person volunteer events
Andrea, Summer, Jonathan, Angela and Devi and the causes they serve represent a small sample of CPS Energy volunteers who have a big heart for our community. This spring, our team members are excited to get back to some sense of normalcy and in-person volunteerism. Keep an eye out for the folks wearing orange volunteer shirts and energetic smiles. We are happy to be of service once again, face-to-face!