Reflections on Pride Month from a CleanChoice Team Member

Renewable energy with wind turbines and solar panels in a Pride flag
  • Jun 27, 2023

  • By Adam Powers, Culture & Engagement Manager

With strong LGBTQI+ inclusion policies, compassionate leadership, and teams of colleagues creating cultures of care, working at CleanChoice has not just encouraged me—but really empowered me to bring my authentic self to work every day.

I proudly identify as queer and non-binary, using they/them pronouns, but I didn't always share every part of me when I first started working at CleanChoice. While CleanChoice always offered Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits, over the years the company enshrined even more policies that support and protect LGBTQI+ folks, including Zero Tolerance Anti-Discrimination Policies and Anti-Bias Trainings to Gender-Affirming Healthcare Benefits.

But upholding these values of inclusion and belonging for LGBTQI+ folks aren't only company policy written into employee handbook legalese—this work is living and breathing across the team. Enlivened by leadership especially. I remember working in the office back on the day the supreme court decided on Obergefell v. Hodges, ruling the constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to marry. When our CEO and Founder Tom Matzzie heard the news, he immediately called the office to close for the day in celebration of the historic civil rights milestone.

In 2022, CleanChoice piloted an employee gift matching initiative and took team input on where contributions should be given for mission-aligned social-impact nonprofits. This was at a time in the country when hateful scapegoating spurred 300+ state-legislative attempts to further marginalize transgender people, gender non-conforming youth, and drag performers, all of which contributed to a direct rise in LGBTQI youth surveyed suicide risk. With all this happening, our team chose to donate thousands of dollars to the critical work of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth. And it wasn’t even Pride Month!

Because it's not just in the exceptional moments CleanChoice’s values of inclusion shine. But every day. We have LGBTQI+ people represented in leadership, across teams, a LGBTQI+ affinity group, and some of the honest-to-goodness best allies I know. One of the most moving things anyone has done for me was when a couple of CleanChoice colleagues set up time for an aside to check-in if I wanted their help in redirecting others on my pronoun usage, and offer their blanket support. When was the last time work colleagues emboldened your fear away, to always be yourself? I was in tears on a Zoom call speechless, to have people I work with care about who I am to go to bat for me. And when I've had conversations to redirect colleagues on my pronoun usage myself, it's never an argument or debate or the slightest disrespect; I've only ever gotten honest recognitions and commitments to see me for who I am.

This is all to say, at CleanChoice, I feel free to be myself because both the people and organization really champion diversity and inclusion.

A common phrase shared by climate campaigners goes "To change everything, we need everyone." And CleanChoice Energy fiercely embodies that positive vision of a future that truly includes all, with "Clean energy for everyone, everywhere."

Adam is our Culture & Engagement Manager here at CleanChoice Energy. They are the author of the Climate ChangeIsms poetry newsletter, a trained Climate Reality Leader with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the official CleanChoice Energy Poet Laureate! You can find them on Twitter @apowersb, and you can read about Adam and other inspiring LGBTQ+ climate voices in this blog post.

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