California Water Environment Association                                           December -January  2010-11
Leader Link

News, insights, and advice for CWEA's volunteer leaders                     

In This Issue:

3 Tips on Creating a Great Meeting Experience

CWEA Local Section & Committee Success Stories

AC11 Pre-conference Workshops for CWEA Leaders

Kirt Brooks Scholarship Application Deadline: January 15

Staff Contacts

Leadership Calendar

3 Tips on Creating a Great 
Meeting Experience

As a CWEA leader you know that we are all about meetings. Undoubtedly, you have already been to many CWEA meetings and probably even more meetings at work. If you haven’t already led a meeting yourself, you will probably find yourself doing so sooner or later as you move up your career ladder. Being able to facilitate effective meetings is part of a skill set that involves guiding the flow of the meeting so that it accomplishes results and has participation that is focused and active. Many CWEA leaders, who have worked their way to high level positions at their agency or company, gained their first meeting facilitation experience as volunteers on CWEA committees or local sections. Volunteer leaders often comment on how CWEA has allowed them to practice effective meeting facilitation with their peers in a safe and encouraging environment. The meeting facilitation experience and skills gained through CWEA then become invaluable assets in the workplace.  

Here are three quick tips for making your meetings a better experience for your board or committee:

Tip #1 Give Plenty of Notice
It may seem obvious, but you will want to set the meeting dates well in advance along with the meeting time and place so that attendees can make arrangements to be away from work and plan their travel. Including agenda topics will help sell the meeting to attendees and will help them to show their employers what the meeting is all about so they can get time off to attend. Some CWEA Committees and Local Sections have specific requirements for giving notice of meetings in their constitutions, bylaws, or standing rules.  

Tip #2 Focus on Strategic Discussions
Give your group food for thought in advance of a meeting. Give them strategic issues so they can begin considering them and maybe even start to gather feedback from co-workers and other CWEA members. Ask your group to share calendars and basic updates before the meeting through email, online calendars, or a web group. This will help you to maximize precious face-to-face meeting time on strategic issues.  

Tip #3 Be Welcoming 
Make it easy to find your meeting room. Put up signs and put your front desk person on watch for meeting attendees navigating their way through unfamiliar territory. When attendees come into the meeting room, give them a warm welcome. Lunch, breakfast, fruit, pastries, snacks, coffee, and soft drinks are always a welcome sight at any meeting. Ask some members of your group to bring some freshly baked cookies or other homemade snacks (Southern Regional Committee Secretary Barbara Santos always brings delicious and innovative home baked treats to share at SRC meetings). Don’t forget to have something on hand for vegetarians or others in your group with special diets.

For more tips see The Lazy Leader’s Guide to Outrageous Results by Cynthia D’Amour.



CWEA Local Section & Committee Success Stories  

CWEA leaders convened in Ontario on November 16 to share stories of successes and challenges, to learn about CWEA’s planning and budgeting process, and to network. Attendees the CWEA Annual Leadership Meeting mostly represented committees and local sections from the Southern Region, but there were a number of leaders representing the Northern Region as well. This Issue of Leader Link will share some of the success stories. Leadership challenges and other highlights will be covered in February.  

CWEA Local Section Web Sites Made Easier
CWEA Los Angeles Basin Section (LABS) member Alec Mackie shared his experience working with local sections to improve their web sites. LABS has a great web site that runs on WordPress, a blogging and web publishing tool. A bigadvantage of using WordPress is that making content updates is easy for anybody with access to the Internet. It is also easy to customize the look of the web site and to add different functions like photo galleries, news scrolls, calendars, and rotating banners.  Best of all, WordPress is a free open source software.  Even though Alec is busy with LABS’ web site and being on the LABS Board, he still has found time to help with the CWEA Tri-Counties Section (TCS) and CWEA E-Bulletin WordPress sites.
CWEA offers free hosting for local sections’ web sites, which may choose the web site management technology they prefer, although Wordpress is recommended for ease of use and support. Lola Dvorak on staff is available to assist with setup or questions.


Some Web Tools Used by CWEA Local Sections and Committees :  

  • WordPress: Open source blogging and web publishing tool. Used for LABS and TCS web sites and E-Bulletin.

  • Constant Contact: Email marketing software that makes it easy to create professional HTML email campaigns with no tech skills.

  • Dreamweaver: Web site design and content update software.

  • FileZilla: Free FTP tool.

  • DotNetNuke:  Open source platform for building web sites. Used for the CWEA San Diego Section (SDS) web site.

  • EventBrite: Event registration and email marketing. Used by SDS.  

CWEA SYPC Mixes Live Events With Video Conferencing

Sandie Dudley from CWEA’s Students and Young Professionals (SYP) Committee described last year’s first Students and Young Professionals Specialty Conference, which was inspired by the WEF YP Summit on Leadership in April 2009. The conference focused on cultivating new leaders and was held at two simultaneous face-to-face sessions in the north and south with 20-25 attendees at each location and multiple speakers per location. The presentations were also projected via a live video feed so that attendees in each location could see and hear all of the speakers.

The next conference, Working Together Across Disciplines, will be held March 23 in the north, south and central valley. The event is free for students and will be approximately $40 for other attendees. Promotion is done through social media and universities. CWEA local sections interested in getting more involved in SYP activities can join monthly conference calls, participate in Annual Conference events such as speed mentoring, or contact Sandie directly.

Learn more about CWEA’s SYPC on Facebook.

Planning & Teamwork Result in a Vibrant CWEA Tri-Counties Section 
CWEA Tri-Counties’ Section (TCS) President, Teresa Kistner, presented the Tri-Counties Section’s strategies for event success. The TCS event calendar includes events such as the annual golf tournament, past president picnic/camping trip, Turkey of the Year dinner, southern regional certification study session and three training workshops. Training workshops are targeted to the rank and file and include a plant tour and dinner for only $20. Sponsors help keep costs down.

TCS Top Success Factors:  

  • Supportive agencies allow staff volunteer time – 7 year commitment!
  • Directors/Chairs work as a team.
  • Early January planning; set dates for the year.
  • Advance mass email and Gravity Flow Line newsletter notification of all events.
  • TCS retirees still active; add history, knowledge & stability to the local section.
  • Training to support members who are earning and maintaining CWEA certification.
  • We have fun! A wonderful camaraderie of Water Protection Professionals.


CWEA Southern Sections Collection Systems Committee 
Provides Top-Notch Training
Denis Pollak from CWEA’s Southern Sections Collection Systems Committee described the success of the Committee, which was founded in 1989 to promote collection system training in CWEA’s southern local sections. The Committee works with local sections to develop workshops and provides a list of speakers and topics for events. They also offer sessions in Spanish, which have been very successful. For 2011, the Committee is developing a ruler to help estimate overflows to hand out during their workshops. 

SSCSC Tips on Preparing for Successful Workshops:

  • Offer current topics.
  • Plan and organize events well.
  • Seek out and utilize highly skilled speakers.
  • Involve vendors.
  • Offer a great lunch.
  • Communication…Get the word out about your event!
  • Work with local sections to find event venues.  


AC11 Pre-Conference Workshops for CWEA Leaders

The CWEA 2011 Annual Conference is right around the corner!  Two free workshops (with free lunch!) are being offered for CWEA leaders:

Growing in Leadership
Committee leaders, local section leaders, and CWEA members who are interested in volunteering for CWEA and increasing their overall skills are encouraged to attend the Growing in Leadership workshop on April 12 in Ontario . The workshop will include a mix of classroom and roundtable style formats to equip members to be successful in their roles as CWEA leaders, workplace leaders, and beyond. In addition to leadership training, there will be a complimentary lunch, opportunities to share and exchange leadership concepts with other workshop attendees, and time to network with other water quality professionals.


Study Session Moderator Training
At last year’s Annual Conference in Sacramento , the Certification Prep Task Force held a successful Pre-Conference workshop to train CWEA certification study session moderators in the techniques of presenting training material to accommodate the different learning styles of adults preparing for the certification test. Based on the results and feedback of this workshop, the Task Force has updated the workshop for AC11.

If you hold certification in Grades II, III, or IV, now is your chance to join CWEA’s “Best of the Best” and learn how to help your fellow wastewater professionals earn their CWEA certification. You will learn what VARK is, what your own VARK style is, and you can channel your VARKism to best serve others. This will be a free session with a great lunch provided. Upon completion of this workshop you’ll receive contact hours plus you’ll gain access to standardize training material relevant to your vocation from the State’s finest trainers.  

For more details and registration information about these free workshops, see the Pre-Conference Workshops section on page 6 of the AC11 brochure. Be sure to register soon as space is limited.


Kirt Brooks Scholarship Deadline: January 15  

The Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship provides annual awards for individuals attending a college, university, community college or technical trade school and pursuing a course of study related to the water environment field. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who are selected by the Scholarship Committee. Students who are either members of CWEA or are sponsored by a CWEA member are eligible to apply. Please help spread the word and encourage your local section members to submit an application today!   Deadline to apply: January 15th, 2011.

Who was Kirt Brooks?
CWEA's Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship was named after Kirt Brooks, beloved volunteer, leader, Association Manager and Bulletin editor for several years in the 1980s. Kirt joined the Association in the mid-60s and became active in the CWEA San Francisco Bay Section and several other Northern California sections. He served as Chairman of the CWEA San Francisco Bay Section and later as chairman of the Northern Regional Committee. In 1974, he was inducted into the Association's 5S society (Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers) and was one of the first to be awarded the Pretreatment Pollution Prevention & Stormwater Committee (P3S) Committee's Silver Manhole Award.

Click here for more information.


STAFF CONTACTS - 510-382-7800
Staff Concierge: 
Lola Dvorak
. Contact Lola if you need help and don't know who to contact.  


Latasha King x 110


Publications & Advertising
Lola Dvorak
  x 114


Local Sections, Committees, Leader Link

Chris Lundeen  x 104



Brian Murray x 102


Lola Dvorak  x 114



Leslie Carino x 107


Conferences & Exhibits

Marci Donohoe x 120

Leadership Reference Materials Online
Local Section Orientation Packet: 
Committee & Liaison Orientation Packet: 
Leadership Web Pages:

Leadership Calendar      





January 13 Northern LS & Committee Leaders NRC Meeting-- CWEA Offices, Oakland Rick Staggs
[email protected]
January 15 LS Leaders and TCP Committee Members Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship Application Deadline Connie Leonard 
[email protected]
January 27 Southern LS & Committee Leaders SRC Meeting-- 
San Diego
Debra Bogdanoff
[email protected]
January 28-29 CWEA Leaders CWEA Board Meeting
San Diego Catamaran Hotel
Victoria Rawson
[email protected] 
Feb. 8- Mar. 2 CWEA Leaders/Members CWEA P3S Conference
Santa Clara
Marci Donohoe
[email protected]
April 12 CWEA Leaders CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson
[email protected] 
April 12 CWEA Leaders CWEA Leadership Workshop
Ontario, CA
Carrie Mattingly
[email protected] 
April 12 Study Session Moderators Study Session Moderator Training Joanna De Sa
[email protected] 
April 12-15 CWEA Leaders/Members Annual Conference
Ontario, CA
Jodee Schwan
[email protected] 
April 16 CWEA Leaders CWEA Board Meeting Victoria Rawson  
[email protected] 
April 30 Treasurers:
local section and committees
Annual work plan & budgets for FY 2009-10 due for local sections and committees. Brian Murray
[email protected]
Full CWEA Event Calendar
Leader Link: Linking Local Sections, Committees, Board Liaisons, and Past Presidents
For more info contact us at [email protected]