Cindy Lee: The rewards of being a working parent are plentiful.

MISO recently recognized our 2020 graduates, including Cindy Lee’s son, Ethan. In our most recent employee spotlight, she reflects on her 16-year career at MISO as a working parent.

Many years ago, I remember thinking of the year “2020” and it seemed so far away. This was brought to light when my son, Ethan, was just a toddler and attended a birthday party where he was given a tiny, white t-shirt with stenciling that said “CLASS OF 2020”. Thinking of him graduating high school had never even occurred to me.

About that same time, I started my job here at MISO on the General Ledger team. Fast forward to June 2020, when I celebrated my 16-year anniversary with MISO. Ethan was just a one-year-old when I started at MISO, and now he is 17 and a 2020 high school graduate. You might say that a lot has changed over the past 16 years in both my professional and personal lives. My “working mom” skills have been refined, Ethan went from diapers to diploma and MISO has grown exponentially.

Working full-time as a mom has had its fair share of ups and downs. Many of the disadvantages felt awful at the time, but they of course ended up being just fine. I remember days when dropping off Ethan at day-care felt like I was deserting him forever. I would drive away only to glance back to see him sobbing through his classroom window mouthing the word “mommy”. Some days I would arrive at work feeling on top of things, only to realize I had forgotten to leave the bag of bottles and formula at the new daycare on his first day there or would arrive to work and pull Thomas the Train underwear out my coat pocket. Despite all the stressful mornings and forgetfulness, it’s rewarding being a working mom.

As a working mom with a long commute, the ultimate advantage was, and still is, working for a company that understands that life always does not go as planned. MISO understands that sometimes things come up with your kiddo and you might occasionally have to make a quick exit from your planned workday. Knowing that MISO accepts working parents for who they are has been a big part of what has kept me around for 16 years.

When I joined MISO in 2004, we were “Midwest ISO”, the logo was a red waffle-looking grid and there were approximately 275 employees. It was somewhat a small company. Soon after I was hired, we issued a press release that announced MISO would be hiring for 300 jobs in the next five years. It seemed crazy that this company I just started with would balloon to 600 employees in just a few years.  

As a new employee, one of my first tasks was to work with IT and help test the financial system for this initiative called “Market Launch” that was to happen in 2005. At first, I had no idea what it was, but I quickly learned. Unfortunately, I missed the market launch because, on April 1, 2005, my second baby decided to enter the world. It has been interesting to watch all of the changes over the last 16 years at MISO – the organizational chart going from just a few pages to around 65, moving from a one-story building to  two buildings in 2008, switching from Blackberry phones to iPhones, dial-up modems to high-speed internet, the various name changes from Midwest ISO to MISO (and all those in between) and of course, all of the fun logo changes.

It feels as though I blinked and on May 31, Ethan graduated high school. We are over halfway through the year, although I think we all can agree this year has looked like nothing we ever imagined. Upon reflecting over the past 16 years, I have grown so much personally and professionally. I have learned that you must laugh a lot and not always take things so seriously. As for Ethan, he has also grown so much and has made all the challenging working mom moments worth it.

A lot has changed at MISO since that first day I walked into the building in 2004, but one aspect has stayed constant: it is a phenomenal place to be employed and I am blessed to be part of the hardworking MISO family.






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