Senior Vice President & General Counsel, CMS Energy Corporation
Growing up in a large family, Catherine Reynolds knew she would have to work and go to college. She was the second of nine children. Her parents encouraged all their children to pursue higher education, and Catherine followed her father into a career in law.
Jackson College was close to home and allowed her the flexibility to study and work at the same time.
“I think that attending a community college, some people may not look at that as the best option, but it was the best option for me. I was the second oldest in the family, and when I started, my sister was just 2 years old. So, I wanted to spend time with my family, and I needed to work, so it was a great option,” she said.
The campus was smaller then, and Reynolds remembers classes in Bert Walker Hall and a commons area where students could study between classes or get something to eat.
“I liked to study and I liked school, and JCC was a great place to have time to study; I could study out here during the day, and I usually worked in the evenings. It got me where I am today.”
Furthering her education
After finishing at JCC, Reynolds transferred to Michigan State University and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in political science. She went to work for Consumers Energy in 1979, and that fall also started at Cooley Law School in Lansing. Again, at each step she worked and went to school.
She has worked for Consumers Energy for 39 years. As senior vice president and general counsel, she is responsible for all legal matters including corporate governance, risk, corporate records, corporate secretary and legal functions. She was the first woman to become a senior vice president at CMS Energy.
“It’s been exciting and I really like what I do,” she said. “I think Jackson College’s role in the community is an important one. It’s giving people a real option to have an education.
“Jackson College being enmeshed in the community can help you get an education in a community where you have really good job prospects.”