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Vermont Electric Cooperative Recognized as Vermont Pride Business of the Year

May 25, 2016

Johnson, VT- Vermont Electric Cooperative is pleased to announce that on Friday, May 13, 2016, at the 18th Annual LGBTQA Community Celebration, Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) was recognized as “Business of the Year” by Pride Center of Vermont. VEC received this award for its exceptional contributions to the LGBTQA community.  The recognition is due to VEC’s unwavering support of Chief Executive Officer Christine Hallquist when she publically came out as part of the Transgender community towards the end of 2015. The Pride Center honored the Board, Staff, and VEC Members for their outstanding commitment to creating an inclusive work environment for all Transgender employees. 
 
“As VEC knows, it can be a process to shift a business so profoundly. VEC’s success demonstrates that when a business truly cares about their employees they can be a positive contributor to the employee’s health, well-being and ultimately their productivity”, said Kim Fountain, Executive Director, Pride Center of Vermont. “VEC’s belief in Transgender inclusivity and the many ways they have put these beliefs into practice has garnered both local and national praise”.  
 
Tom Bailey, VEC Board President, was present at the Celebration to accept the award on behalf of VEC. “I would like to thank Christine for the leadership she has provided for VEC both before and during her transition to her true self. I have to admit that I am a bit old-school and was not that familiar with what it means to be transgender.  Learning more about it, I realized how important it would be for the VEC Board to provide leadership for the company in supporting Dave as he navigated the transition to Christine. VEC’s culture path has been evolving over the years in response to rapid changes in the electric utility industry which requires innovation and leadership from all levels within the organization. We believe that our workplace has evolved to be highly collaborative, team based, and inclusive. I believe this provided a solid foundation to welcome Christine into our organization”, Bailey added. 
 
Fountain added, “I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see a business creating a supportive environment for its LGBTQA employees. We get many calls from employees who are suffering in their workplaces and they feel so alone and helpless. It is utterly demoralizing to work where you are not valued or respected but where you need to cash the paycheck to pay basic needs. Thank you VEC for giving us a local example of a really evolving workplace. We tell people your story and it gives others hope”.