Hispanic Outreach Team Makes a Difference in Saginaw

The Consumers Energy Foundation supports the Great Lakes Bay Hispanic Leadership Institute.

In addition to celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Consumers Energy is working to expand leadership opportunities for the Hispanic community in the Bay County region.

At the request of the company’s Hispanic Outreach Team, the Consumers Energy Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to Saginaw Valley State University, allowing 14 people to attend the Great Lakes Bay Hispanic Leadership Institute this year.

The program, accredited through Saginaw Valley State University, provides monthly classroom sessions and community service projects to bolster leadership capabilities for Hispanic community members, including some Consumers Energy employees. Topics range from conflict resolution to team management, and also include networking opportunities with international corporations based in the region.

September’s class, sponsored by Consumers Energy, focused on decision-making strategies and was led by Danilo Sirias, an acclaimed Saginaw Valley professor of management.

Javier Ruiz, chair of the company’s Hispanic Outreach Team and a 2013 graduate of the institute, said the program is vital for enhancing leadership opportunities.

The program also fills a key hole in the region’s Hispanic population, said Ruiz, who works as an operations supervisor at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant.

“(It’s) investing in the diversity of the company’s customers in the Saginaw, Bay City, Midland and Flint area,” he said.

“There’s a practical application where they actually implement what they’ve learned,” he said. “It’s a great, great program for building Hispanic leaders in their communities and within their company.”