The Clean Water Voice
Inspired by Women in My New Water Network
I was recently flattered to be selected from all the strong female leaders in WSSC Water to represent the organization in the Women in Water (WIW) Roundtable Group, a six-month virtual program offered through NACWA and Core Consulting’s Core Leadership collaboration. The program is oriented towards mid-level professionals, but anyone from inspiring leaders to executive staff can take away something from this program and not feel out of place as you go through building your confidence, navigating difficult conversation, utilizing an empathy map, and other topics. As the class progressed, I learned many skills that will make me a better leader. However, I had two main take-aways that I see influencing the rest of my career: my new network and my newly found confidence.
"I had two main take-aways that I see influencing the rest of my career: my new network and my newly found confidence."
Building a Network
The small group setting and the open discussion with the participants and guests creates a comfortable environment that I see leading to long time connections with some of the other participants. I feel that I can reach out to anyone in the group for information based on our shared experience, and the broad backgrounds of the individuals gives me an expansive network to pull from, everything from human resources to engineering.
One friendship that I see continuing is with a woman I met through this roundtable group. I have met with her outside the program to discuss some of our similar interests that were mentioned during the sessions. We are now part of an online book club for women in water and have developed a mutual mentoring relationship with regular virtual meetings.
Permission to be Brilliant
During the first session titled Permission to be Brilliant, I really learned to understand that I am not alone in second guessing myself and putting myself second. As described in the session description, “About 50 percent of women lose their confidence and doubt their performance at some point in their careers.” By the end of the session, all the participants walked away with a new goal to pull them outside of their comfort zone, and an accountability partner, to help them stay on track. It was amazing the number of participants that made significant progress towards their goals within weeks of the first class due to the energy generated and accountability partner motivation. I was no exception.
For twenty years, I procrastinated on getting a master’s degree but had a lot of anxiety over applying. I had myself convinced that I would not get accepted into the program that I wanted. So, after our first session in WIW, I set a goal to finally select a college and apply for my degree. No more excuses! Within a week of the first session, I selected a college and had a very encouraging phone call with someone on the enrollment staff.
I continued to work on my application and kept my accountability partner, Aurelia Mann from a Florida utility, informed. She even reviewed my application essay. By the end of August, I started classes in the University of Colorado – Denver’s Online Program for a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA). During my first meeting with my adviser, I found out that not only was I accepted into the program, but I got recommended by the MPA program director for the highly competitive executive MPA program, which I am now a part of.
My experience in this program has been very rewarding. It has really helped me take the next step in my career and develop new friendships. In addition, I have developed a better understanding on how to be a strong female leader. Many of the things that were reviewed in the different sessions I had heard before, but the way it was presented, and the enthusiasm generated from the first session has made some of this information stick in a way it never has before.
Rosanna La Plante, P.E
Engineering and Environmental Services, Engineering and Construction
Enrollment for the next cycle of professional development offerings is now open. Learn more at corewaterleaders.org.
The views expressed in this resource are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect those of NACWA.