By Jennifer Walsh, PE, Hazen and Sawyer
On January 11th, 2018, 30 young water and wastewater professionals from Northern Virginia gathered for the region’s first Young Professional Leadership Seminar. The seminar was hosted at AlexRenew’s flagship headquarters building located in Alexandria, VA. The event featured two industry leaders, Karen Pallansch the CEO of AlexRenew Enterprises, and Jeanne Bennett-Bailey, AWWA Immediate Past President and retired Manager of Public Affairs at Fairfax Water.
Karen Pallansch shared her insights on the “Attributes of an Effective Water Leader,” reviewing the importance of collaboration, communication, and actively listening to team members. An interactive session identifying key attributes most important to the attendees provided insight into what others expect of leaders and potential leadership styles.
Jeanne Bennett-Bailey spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and used an interactive approach to illustrate how teams can accomplish much more than the individual.
The final speaker, Carlos Velazquez, was invited as a guest from the healthcare industry and he concluded the afternoon session with a presentation on the value of storytelling to create an impactful message.
Networking breaks and an evening social hour offered many opportunities for young professionals to talk with the speakers and their peers about the challenges and opportunities in the industry. In follow-up to the success of the Leadership Seminar, the VA-AWWA/VWEA NoVA YP committee looks forward to hosting more educational, volunteer, and fun activities in 2018.