Video: Creating Tomorrow’s Workforce Through Diversity and Inclusion

Career Stories

On October 10th we hosted Workforce Through Diversity and Inclusion panel discussion during California Water Professionals Appreciation Week.

As the water industry continues to experience retirements and recruitment challenges, there is a need to invest in the water workforce and support leadership development needs and succession planning efforts. Additionally, research indicates increased DEI within organizations is tied to improved employee retention, productivity and better linkage between service-oriented entities and customers.

The Workforce Through DEI webinar is supported by California’s water associations, including: ACWA, BAYWORK, CA-NV AWWA, CASA and CWEA.


Kari Shively is a Senior Vice President with Stantec, responsible for marketing, business development, and growth within the company’s water business line. Stantec is a global consultancy with 26,000 engineers, scientists, planners, and other professionals that has been providing creative, collaborative solutions to California’s water needs for more than 70 years. In her current position, Kari leads strategy and business development for Stantec’s North American water business line, connecting clients, experts, and communities to help identify sustainable solutions for our toughest water challenges. A career employee of Stantec, Kari has held a variety of positions in the company spanning business operations, project and account management, and technical leadership. Kari strongly believes that effective teams reflect the communities in which they live and work, and that having diverse minds at the table helps us craft the best possible solutions. This has led her to help drive Stantec’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and support women and people of color in finding success in the engineering consulting industry. A registered professional engineer, Kari draws on three decades of experience in water resources planning and management in the West. Her focus is on balancing the demands placed on our limited water resources, helping to identify water-related vulnerabilities, define goals and streamline decision making, and craft sustainable water projects and policies. Highlights have included working collaboratively with state and federal agencies on complex projects including the Central Valley Flood Management Program, Delta Plan, Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Investigation, American River Basin Common Features Project, and others. She has also worked with water agencies and interest groups to help craft guidance, policy recommendations, and policy implementation plans related to water resource management, water use efficiency and conservation, ecosystem restoration, flood protection, and other challenges. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of the Pacific. Outside the business of water, Kari loves the outdoors, especially hiking and adventuring throughout California with her two sons. As an amateur rockhound, she enjoys exploring and collecting rocks in new, out of the way places.

Patricia McElroy is a Human Resources leader with over 25 years of experience in leading human resources departments and creating workforce programs that focus on building community partnerships that expand the knowledge and opportunities infrastructure and water industries. The Human Resources field is her passion, and she is committed to working with an agency dedicated to creating an environment where their employees can excel. Patricia started her career at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), where she led the development and implementation of a workforce development division award that included a grant from the Federal Transit Association. She then moved to LA Metro, where she assisted in creating its career pathways program, demonstrating ways that employees can advance within the agency. More recently, in 2022, she joined Valley Water, leading the creation of the Next Generation/Career Pathways Program focused on creating employment pathways for local students from underrepresented communities.

Derry L Moten joined EBMUD in 2014, with a diverse professional background that includes experiences in private industry, nonprofits, and public agencies. Through every role he has held, he has utilized his abilities to assist individuals in enhancing their talents and working together more efficiently to accomplish shared goals. Additionally, Derry is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, holds a bachelor’s degree in workforce education and development, as well as a Master of Education (Ed.M) degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Illinois. As the inaugural leader of EBMUD’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Culture, Derry exemplifies the servant leadership philosophy and encourages his team to prioritize supporting others within the organization. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Culture exists to ensure that everyone who interacts with EBMUD has equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the District’s long term success, and that a person’s identity does not determine their access or opportunities. He is responsible for leading EBMUD’s initiatives to foster a values-based culture where employees of diverse backgrounds can bring their individual human experiences to the table and work collaboratively towards providing exceptional services. This involves recognizing and appreciating each other’s distinct skills and contributions, as well as stepping out of one’s comfort zone to identify areas for growth. “I am a unique individual and my job is to help leaders create inclusive atmospheres where people can be who they are, while working as teams for our common goal of fulfilling the District’s Mission”. Derry is dedicated to fostering an environment that prioritizes excellence without sacrificing inclusivity.

Stacey Peterson has been the Human Resources Director for the City of Roseville since 2018, and is the Champion for the Inclusion Committee and Employee Recognition Committee. She has a 29-year career in Human Resources in the public sector, working in both City and County agencies, and has overseen all aspects of human resources. Stacey led the engagement and organizational effectiveness efforts that placed the first public agency on the Great Places to Work® list published by Fortune Magazine, in the small employer category for three years in a row. Stacey served on the IPMA-HR Strategic Planning Taskforce from 2013-2016 and served as the 2012 President for the Northern California Human Resources Directors group (NORCAL-HR). Stacey has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento and is a certified DISC trainer.