Jake steps out of his comfort zone to find both career and professional development at SRP
For Jake, a Business Analyst in Substation Services, the past decade of his career at SRP has been all about development — as an administration and operations professional, but also as a person.
Jake started at SRP in 2012 as an administrative assistant on the hydro generation team and, with mentorship, grew into a new role as an admin in substation maintenance. Working hard and learning new skills, Jake’s work eventually took him into his current role.
“It’s been fun to see how SRP’s power is generated and how we get it out to our customers,” said Jake, whose role includes cataloging equipment and updating maintenance records.
Finding a new path
SRP today has 10 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and Jake was working for the company when one of them, SRP Proud, first established its charter. The ERG’s mission aims to foster belonging to cultivate a safe and supportive environment for all LGBTQ+ individuals through visibility, relationship-building, and education.
Jake joined briefly but withdrew soon after because he “wanted to just blend in at work and didn’t think joining Proud would do that.”
Jake feared being associated with an LGBTQ group at work and was concerned it would “out” him.
“It’s funny to me now,” said Jake. “Because so many connections I’ve made, the growth and confidence I’ve gained, and the achievements I’m most proud of are all part of my journey and involvement with SRP Proud.”
Today, he has served on the SRP Proud board for a total of five years, having “stepped out of his comfort zone” to gain skills serving in roles such as secretary, communications and membership, and even chair.
His work with SRP Proud, in tandem with a graduate school project, led Jake to another opportunity. Through the lens of his own experience, Jake partnered with SRP’s Human Resources team to introduce training and guidelines on how SRP and employees can handle gender transitioning.
“After seeing how speaking up was able to influence change, I wanted to make sure that nobody else was as scared as I had been about transitioning at work,” said Jake.
The policy is now a widely adopted standard at SRP for anyone who is transitioning as well as the managers and the teams who support them.
SRP is an active member of the community and encourages employees to give back by working with nonprofits, including Phoenix-based one•n•ten. Jake appreciates this connection and now manages fundraisers and holiday events while working directly with the center’s youth.
“I enjoy sharing resources and being a trans ‘big brother’ for those just starting their journey, as well as sharing my experience with those who wouldn’t normally be familiar with the gender spectrum to help erase the stigma of transgender individuals,” said Jake.
Between his career, SRP Proud and his work in the community, Jake continues to develop his skills and build his confidence.
“I spent most of my life being ashamed of who I was and hiding it from others so people would like me. But now I’ve made a real impact on people in my community, and because of that, I like myself,” said Jake.