Women Impacting Water Breakfast Attracts a Crowd at AC18

Career Stories, Wastewater News, Women in Water

The lead sponsor for the Women Impacting Water breakfast is CDM Smith.

CWEA held its first Women Impacting Water breakfast meeting at the Annual Conference in Sacramento this past April. The event was so popular it sold out.

It was an inspiring morning of networking and discussion with California water leaders, engineers, operators and scientists. Attendees participated in facilitated discussions on challenges, career development and ways to encourage more women to join the water profession, while enjoying a buffet breakfast.

Topics included:

  • Achieving Work Life Balance
  • Career Paths for new and seasoned professionals
  • Connecting Candidates with Opportunities in Wastewater Operations
  • Attracting Millennials to the Water Industry
  • How to find a Mentor

Here are some key take-aways from the discussion that you can use, regardless of gender, age, profession or career level.

Achieving Work Life Balance
Learning how to say “no,” accepting help from others, taking advantage of breaks and vacation, had all the people in the room nodding in agreement. It’s so important to remember you have options, especially as your career grows. The group discussed how important it is to let go of work when you are home and let go of home when you are at work. One important task we ALL need to remember is to take the time for yourself from work and family—you deserve it!

Attracting Millennials to the Water Industry
With the retirement boom on the rise, now more than ever we need to attract younger people into the profession. But how? The question “How do you sell math and science to water people?” came up in all of the conversations.

Ideas on career messaging: helping the world; recession proof; having a variety of things to do on the job; and the sector has an expansive range of career opportunities. Including operations, communications, graphic design and even teaching.  These messages are all excellent ways to “sell” the profession and it’s all true!

Guess what? Salary is not the most important when it comes to what millennials are looking for in a career. The social aspects of the workplace are important, they want to work on teams and they want a family feel. They are not afraid to jump ship if they don’t get these. Don’t forget about workplace diversity. Diversity is so important for our profession and as we build the utilities of the future.

How are you attracting millennials to your agency? Send us your story. [email protected]

Connecting Candidates with Opportunities in Wastewater Operations
Many female operators in the room agreed that their jobs are awesome, stable and fulfilling. It’s really not as hard as it looks and it’s not as dirty as people think it is. Female operators can bring collaboration, bring people together. Everyone’s unique perspectives are welcome in these positions.

Career Paths for New and Seasoned Professionals
Ideas included: Partnering with community colleges, high schools and apprenticeship programs. Developing programs to offer leadership and communication skills.

How to Find a Mentor
Being prepared for opportunity means being ready.

One way to get ready ahead of a new job opportunity or promotion is to get certified. CWEA’s entry-level Grade 1 Technical Certifications require little if any work experience.  You can study for the exam and collect certifications now. Then when the promotional opportunity comes around you’ll stand out as a great candidate.

Find support, listen, get to know your peers and find role models you admire. Stay connected with them and support each other. The water sector is an amazingly small place, so it pays to stay connected. All excellent advice.

Become a CWEA member and broaden your professional network even further. Such as attending meetings like the Women Impacting Water breakfast!

What’s your advice for young people entering the profession?

Send us your feedback, ideas, thoughts on this topic to [email protected] or share in the comments section below.

Keep the conversation going on social media, use #womenimpactingwater to post stories and photos. Help us highlight California’s outstanding women water leaders!

Thank you to our Women Impacting Water Breakfast sponsors:

Lead sponsor


Additional sponsors include:

Thank you for helping CWEA keep this conversation moving forward!