It didn’t take long for IT Senior Business Analyst Greg Andress to feel connected and accepted by his colleagues. Greg found this to be true even before he joined our company as a contractor in 1998.
“DTE fosters such an inclusive work environment,” said Greg. “I noticed this when I interacted with DTE employees, while working at my former job. They would share positive information about their LGBTQ group that preceded the Power of Pride (POP) Employee Resource Group, and I was impressed.”
Greg knows what it’s like to not feel included and connected, too. In his previous roles at other companies, Greg felt that coming out – being open about his sexual orientation – to upper management would have meant the end of his career.
But Greg is not one to hide his true self. He came out to supportive parents as a child and found great friends to confide throughout his life and career, including IT Business Analyst Gayle Tess, who joined his group at DTE in 2005. The two instantly clicked. Before COVID-19, they sat two cubicles away from each other and laughter punctuated their workspace throughout the day as they bonded over classic movies, and family.
“We have the same sense of humor,” said Gayle. “We are kindred spirits. We’re both family-oriented and we like to get a job done and do it well. That kind of set the tone for of our friendship and work relationship.”
Gayle added that down the road when the opportunity became available for them to join DTE’s Power of Pride (POP) employee resource group, they did so, together.
“I’m so proud to be employed by DTE and be a part of POP,” Gayle said, adding that being an ally is important. “I was thrilled to become an ally. I never even knew there was a word for it. That is just who I am. I support Greg. I support all my other gay coworkers. Their friendships have made my life richer, better.”
National Coming Out Day, on Oct. 11, raises awareness, celebrates and encourages the LGBTQ community to come out and proudly share their true selves, instead of hiding or living in silence.
Be an ally!
Want to learn more about how DTE is working to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace? Read more about our efforts here.