Helping Young Water Professionals Build Careers
By Haley Falconer
Feb. 19, 2013
The Students and Young Professionals Committee mission includes providing leadership opportunities and serving as a springboard to other WEF committees. When the SYPC was asked how we could strengthen the YP involvement, we proposed a leadership integration program for the WEF Mid-Year Meetings. Within less than a year, we had a board-funded and approved program to support young professionals’ attendance and involvement at Mid-Year. Part of the application process included a commitment from the YP and their supervisor to become involved actively in other WEF committees and to attend WEFTEC in October.
Of course, this program would not be a success if we had willing YPs but no committee to receive them. Not only did the technical committees welcome the YP volunteers openly, they helped identify and provide opportunities to get involved.
My experience at Mid-Year was focused on helping the YP volunteers make the most of this program and get connected within WEF. I attended my first Government Affairs Committee meeting and look forward to continuing my involvement in the Water for Jobs campaign. I believe that we have a responsibility to spread the word about the value of water and the impact that investment in water can have. It’s fun to be around folks who have similar interests and passions.
In Chicago this year we had 16 YPs – some who were new to the committee and some who had been around for several years – attend Mid-Year. In total, these volunteers attended 8 committee meetings, networked with countless WEF leaders and staff, volunteered for various roles, and made a few friends in the process!
YPs should consider involvement in WEF and the SYPC because of the networking and leadership opportunities it provides. I will be attending my 8th WEFTEC this year! My involvement in the SYPC serves as a means for me to attend this one-of-a-kind conference - WEFTEC is the water event that should not be missed! YPs out there, please feel free to post questions or comments.