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Living Authentically with Pride: Q&A with Michael Cannon

At Gray, we deeply value the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our team members. This Pride Month, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of our LGBTQ+ team members, whose unique perspectives and experiences make our company a richer, more inclusive place. We believe in fostering an environment where we treat others the way we want to be treated, where everyone is welcome and respected. This is one of our core values, which guides every decision and action we make. 


We spoke with Michael Cannon, training & development specialist, on the Gray culture, bringing your whole self to work, and what Pride Month means to him.  


Can you tell us a little bit about your career arc and what led you to Gray? 


I started at Gray in the fall of 2022. I worked in training and development at Central Bank for five of my 11 years at that company before coming to Gray. Taking some of my former education background and looking for new training and development opportunities, I discovered that Gray was developing a training and development team. It was a terrific opportunity for me to get in at the ground level and build something from scratch. 


Describe your normal workday or your “day in the life.”  


It really depends on the day. If I’m in the office, it involves getting in, grabbing a cup of coffee, answering emails, figuring out the next training opportunity, engaging with our subject matter experts on training content, and marketing our training. If I’m at a training event, it’s a bit more chaotic, as I am coordinating with facilitators, working with the caterer, texting our shuttle driver, answering questions, and presenting material. It’s a bit of a juggling act, but I love it. 


What do you enjoy most about working at Gray? 


Hands down, it’s the people. As an introvert who’s also a people person, I love helping people meet their career and personal goals. Seeing those results is a really rewarding experience. 

What does Pride Month mean to you personally? 


Living authentically is the most important thing you can do. It’s about bringing your full self to work every day and knowing that people respect you regardless of differences. Pride means showing up authentically and not being ashamed or afraid to show people who you truly are. 


What does a welcoming and inclusive workplace look like to you? 


It’s an environment where you can be yourself without fear. It breaks down barriers of potential conflict and helps us become a cohesive team. Gray’s core values, especially the one about everyone being welcomed and respected, illustrate inclusivity and were a big reason why I decided to join the Gray family. 


What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? 


The island of Maui, in Hawaii, where my husband and I got married. It’s a beautiful place with lush forests, mountains, and beaches. The remoteness of it all is wonderful. 


"Gray's core values, especially the one about everyone being welcomed and respected, illustrate inclusivity and were a big reason why I decided to join the Gray family."
Michael Cannon, Training & Development Specialist


In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray? 


A family-centered culture. Gray truly embodies what it means to be a family, from the engagement with the Gray brothers to the interactions with team members across various departments. 


What do you think sets Gray apart from other service providers in the industry? 


Gray has a unique set of individuals who genuinely believe in our core values, live by our guiding principles, and execute our vision and purpose every day. I don’t think our competitors have that same sentiment. 


What is the most valuable advice you’ve ever been given? 


Figure it out. Everything is “figure-outable.” If you don’t know the answer, chances are you have the resources to figure it out. 


Is there anything else you’d like people to know about yourself or your time at Gray? 


I’ve loved my time at Gray. It’s one of the best companies I’ve worked for, truly living and practicing what they preach. The fact that Stephen Gray personally talks about our core values and guiding principles every other Monday in orientation shows how important it is to him and translates to our team members. Regarding Pride, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just an issue in June, and sometimes being an ally means taking a stand and taking action. 

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