People who go the extra mile
Celebrating interns on social media’s favorite holiday
The month of June in the United States marks a celebration of the global LGBTQIA+ community and Pride. At Volta, we celebrate our team and an environment that’s inclusive for everyone 24/7/365. Here’s how these members of the Volta team describe their experience at Volta from the lens of LGBTQIA+ and what Pride means to them.
What do you do at Volta?
ASHLEY: I’m an Enterprise Account Deployment Manager for Volta Operations. That makes me a liaison for all interaction between our clients and partners, and our team of engineers, and construction crew who design, permit, build, and commission projects for our regional and national footprint. My job is to simplify, customize, fast-track and manage a high volume of projects simultaneously.
JAX: I help maintain Volta’s network of charging stations by routing feedback, reports, and questions from thousands of EV drivers across our entire network.
Every report from our network goes to me or my coworker. After being in this role a little more than a year, I’ve received over 31,000 emails, could name probably a thousand stations, and have become very good at geography. Do you know where the town of Sequim is? I do.
What does, “Bring your whole self to work” mean to you?
ASHLEY: There’s a phrase that’s always stuck with me: “Be where your feet are.” When I think of bringing your whole self to work, I believe it means to be engaged, be present, and be passionate.
In the words of Alicia Menedez, “You cannot control how others feel about you. You cannot control if people like you. You can simply be the best version of yourself.”
I can be the best version of myself and bring my whole self to work at Volta because Volta’s mission really resonates with me.
JAX: Authenticity is important to me in the workplace.
I love dressing up to go into the office, being masculine or femme, or mixing it up. I also have a sticker that says “The Gay Agenda” on my laptop, plus a Queer Wave Coffee (shout out!) sticker, and trade LGBTQ comics and books with coworkers.
On a more critical level, “bringing my whole self” means more than bringing my hobbies to work. It also means being comfortable with confronting flaws in an organization, biases (mine and other people’s), and our intersectional privileges.
I have the privilege of being able to be out, proud, and loud at work without fear of retaliation. So I have always felt it was important to make the workplace a space where everyone can feel that way. I am not whole until everyone can “bring their whole selves,” even if their shackles are very different from my own (shout out to Audre Lorde!)
How does Volta foster a safe and inclusive environment?
ASHLEY: Volta is the first workplace I felt comfortable coming out. I say that with the caveat that I didn’t hide my sexual identity in previous work environments. Volta is different because it created a welcoming space to openly share my identity.
Within the first few months of working at Volta, I received a survey asking if I identified with the LGBTQ+ community and if I was interested in being involved in related events, Slack channels, and most importantly, being out to my peers.
This was nice and eye-opening. It was the first time an employer showed an interest in who I was outside of work, what they could do to provide support, and help me feel accepted in the workplace. Volta provided a safe space for me to be truer to my authentic self.
JAX: I’ve rarely had a problem with being out at work. I’ve mostly worked in service and operations on the west coast where formalities are a little more relaxed. And I don’t think I’d stay anywhere very long if that was a problem.
However, I recognize that it’s generally easier and safer for me to be out in a professional environment than gay men or trans and queer people who hold other marginalized identities. On my team at Volta, I’m valued for what I contribute. I take action. And I’m truthful. I also feel safe expressing alternative or nuanced opinions here.
Why is Pride important to you?
ASHLEY: To me, Pride is a symbol of celebration and perseverance. I think of Pride as a thread that weaves us together.
Regardless of our preferences, The LGBTQ+ community and our allies share a common love, common mission and/or common feeling. We celebrate change and persevere in the continuous pursuit of equality for all. What’s most important is that we stand with, and for, one another.
JAX: I recently traveled to Stonewall, NYC for the first time. In many parts of the US, it’s still a symbol of resistance. Pride reminds me every year that our work is never done. But it also reminds me of the power of finding joy in spite of marginalization. It’s a magical thing. Indescribable. To be out and proud means that others can see me and know that I’ve got their back. Being joyously gay disrupts the fearful narrative that you’re giving up something (security, love, family, jobs) by being gay. By being proud of ourselves and each other, we have so much to gain.
How do Volta’s values help the LGBTQ+ Community thrive?
ASHLEY: Two Volta values stand out for me.
“We like a little bit of edginess.”
Volta is an environment where diversity is embraced. Differences of opinions are welcome and requested.
“We will always be smaller than our ambition.”
The Queer community is resilient in the face of adversities and inequalities. It always has been. And always will be.
JAX: “Bring your edginess.”
That has always been my favorite Volta value. I think we’re good at coming up with solutions that value everyone and bring our voices to work. We like a little constructive conflict. When we hold onto our values, elevate all marginalized voices, address hard questions, and stay ethically ambitious, queer people will thrive at Volta and around the world.
Ashley Hicks, Enterprise Account Deployment Manager, Network Operations
MBA, Business Administration and Management
Jax Cuyno, Customer Support Specialist
Bachelor in Animation Storyboarding