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Pride Month spotlight: Michael Thurston

June is Pride Month which celebrates diversity, advocacy and achievements in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. This observance provides another opportunity for our company to spotlight team members.

Michael Thurston, Project/Program Lead for the Corporate Responsibility team, joined CPS Energy in April of last year. Michael works on our company’s corporate sponsorships and helps lead fundraising events such as GrillsGiving and our annual Golf Tournament. He also coordinates our United Way campaign and leads other initiatives that support our customers and community. Read below to learn more about Michael.

Michael shared more about his role at CPS Energy and what Pride Month means to him in this Q&A: 

How long how you been with CPS Energy and what do you enjoy most about your job?  

I’ve worked at CPS Energy since April of 2023. What I love most about my job is the fact that I get to meet and work with so many of our employees. From being at fundraising events such as GrillsGiving, our annual Golf Tournament, and United Way campaign, I get to meet so many of our wonderful employees. I also enjoy being out in the community representing CPS Energy.   

Why is it important for our company to be active in the community?  

It’s important for us to be active in the community because we are a community-owned utility. Our customers and the community must be supported and taken care of for the next generation. It’s our company’s responsibility to make a conscious effort to give back through corporate sponsorship dollars, volunteerism, the programs and services we offer like the Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP) program. I believe CPS Energy does a great job giving back to the community and I know we will only continue to do more and create new ways to help our customers and provide the best utility services. 

A photo collage of Michael Thurston and his team members.

What does Pride Month mean to you? 

Pride Month means to celebrate who you are without regret, shame, or thinking twice about it because you are amazing. It means to accept others, making everyone feel welcomed and a sense of belonging. It’s a time to celebrate one another, no matter what you identify as because love is love. 

Can you tell us how you have felt supported and embraced for who you are at work?

I always feel the energy and support from my colleagues. I’ve had the opportunity to have face time with our executive leadership team and their support has meant the world to me. President & CEO Rudy D. Garza and our leadership team have always had a welcoming attitude and provided the support I need. They see me as Michael and not as anything else. I saw it last year when I reached a milestone goal in our United Way campaign and raised over $556,000 dollars. Rudy and our leadership team supported my plan and efforts and I always stayed true to who I was. Every employee was so nice and welcoming. I felt overwhelmed by their support.

A photo collage of Michael Thurston and his team members.

What advice do you have for employees who may be struggling to bring their authentic selves to work?  

To take it one step at a time. There will be tough days but also days that will be better than the last one. Over time, that struggle will disappear. It will be scary and you may have some days when you feel alone but push through and celebrate the wins you have. Find a good friend or friend group and be a good friend too so you have a support system. We all struggle with something or feel insecure so know that you are not alone. Life is short so be who you are. 

Why is it important to share your story during Pride Month?  

It’s important to share my story because there might be someone here at our company questioning themselves and I am here to tell them it’s okay. It’s important to show all employees that our company supports everyone and that there are other employees willing to be a resource. I hope me sharing my story gives that person the courage to reach out to me or someone they confide in, or even better, live their true authentic self. 

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your personal story with us! 

One thought on “Pride Month spotlight: Michael Thurston

  • Thank you Michael for all you do for COS Energy and our community.
    Miss you!
    Yvonne Pelayo

    Reply

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