Current Role: Store Director
Store Director Mike Casey has worked for Tesco for over 34 years and is proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ at Tesco network – he shares his story below.
My career with Tesco
My Tesco journey began when I was just 15 years old, working part time in our Guildford Friary Street store during my studies.
I didn’t plan a career with Tesco – after completing my A Levels, I was asked to stay on full time for more money than a role I had secured with Lloyds Bank, an offer I couldn’t refuse at 17! I started a management development course 2 years later, earning 2 diplomas in grocery distribution. Over the next 9 years, I worked in a number of senior team roles across different counties. I was determined to become a Store Manager before I turned 30, and at the age of 29 was given my first store to lead – Newbury Metro.
“Coming out was really tough and without my Tesco family, I honestly don’t know what and where I would be now.”
I was appointed as Store Director in 2012, and currently manage Group 21 Large Stores in West Wales. I have a fantastic team of 25 Store Managers and am very proud of how diverse my team are – half my team are female, and there are 2 openly gay men on the group, both myself and Ian Horton, Store Manager of Pontypridd. We are both part of the LGBTQ+ at Tesco team, and work hard to support diversity across our business.
I came out in 2009 while I was the Store Manager in Swansea, and had huge support from my close friend and People Manager Hazel Gillet and Store Director at the time, Phil Britton. They didn’t judge and I understood how difficult it was for me personally – I was married with 2 children, and had to build up the courage to tell them I was gay and leaving home. Divorce for any couple is really difficult, but at the time the law didn’t recognise gay relationships as a reason for divorce, and it made the process really horrible.
My Dad initially disowned me, which was hard for my Mum who wanted to see me but couldn’t. Over time, I managed to rebuild a great relationship with my Dad and before he died, he told me he was glad I was happy and had found someone nice.
Since coming out, I can honestly say that my career has blossomed and I can be the person I want to be. Before coming out I wasn’t really myself at work or home, trying to portray this strong straight man. However, now what you see is what you get. I’m no different at work than I am at home, except maybe a bit more professional!
“Be yourself, work really hard, be honest and brave, and go for it – Tesco are awesome and inclusive.”
I turn 50 this year, and have been with my partner Mike (yes, Mike & Mike!) for 9 years. We are now engaged to be married next September. I’m a very proud father too, with a son, Charlie, and daughter, Cath. Cath came out a couple of years ago, and I’m so proud she’ll be joining me at Cardiff Pride this year. My nephew also came out shortly after I did, and is now happily married. He told me that seeing Uncle Michael coming out gave him strength.
Coming out was really tough and without my Tesco family, I honestly don’t know what and where I would be now. My advice to anyone thinking about their career and are worried that diversity would get in the way, would be to just be yourself, work really hard, be honest and brave, and go for it – Tesco are awesome and inclusive.
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