Last year, we celebrated International Women’s Day by kicking off our first ever “Women in Water” feature with a highly popular blog series showcasing the achievements of women working in the water industry. This year, we thought we’d continue the tradition by rallying around the official theme of International Women’s Day 2019, #BalanceforBetter.
When we better the gender balance, we better the world.
Gender balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender balance is important in boardrooms, governments, media coverage, employment, wealth distribution, sports coverage, and in all other areas of life. This year’s International Women’s Day both celebrates the achievements of women and makes a call for accelerating gender balance in all groups collectively around the world. You can read more about the larger movement here.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been collecting nominations for this years’ “Women in Water.” These women included both staff members of Aquatic Informatics and our customers from our AQUARIUS, Linko, and WaterTrax brands. The nominees then answered a series of questions, including what this year’s theme means to them, and their answers have since been put together in a video that we are releasing today.
Watch the video now or take a look at the inspiring women who participated below!
“Water connects us all. If we protect this resource, we can make a better planet. For me, better balance means connected innovation. As we better balance our representation and recognize all groups that have experienced systemic and institutional injustice, we make our decisions, our utilities, and our community more connected. Innovation is about connecting various viewpoints and finding new and balanced ways to solve challenges. Water connects all of us, so managing this resource through better balance and representation is vital to create the connected innovation we need to ensure sustainable access to high quality, affordable water for all.”
Nicole Pasch, Acting Assistant Environmental Services Manager
City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
“When I was in school most people would say that all the math and physics taught in class were mostly useless in life after school. This motivated me to look for a career where math and physics played an important role, and on this search I stumbled upon meteorology. This is how the journey began and now I can use that knowledge to help decision making in the water industry. My advice to others is to never give up learning about new things, particularly things related to the industry. Learning is a lifelong process that will make you better at what you do as your career develops.”
Gloria Arrocha, Meteorologist
Panama Canal Authority, Panama City, Republic of Panama
“My desire to work in the environmental field stems from a 6th grade book report on Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist. Her passion for protecting every member of a vanishing clan of gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes inspired me to steadfastly hold true to my values and pursue my dreams. While I didn’t follow her into the jungle, I do get work in the jungle that is the wastewater field! To someone interested in the water or wastewater industry, my advice is to consider how each sector plays a role in achieving our water quality goals and how rapidly this field is evolving in response to changes in water resource issues and improved access to high quality data and information.”
Allison Osborne, Supervising Engineer,
Houston Water, Houston, TX, USA
“Balance for me means that there is a much broader perspective at the table when we’re trying to work through the environmental issues that the world is facing. My advice for people interested in getting into the industry is that it doesn’t matter what your passions or what your interests are, you can find a way to be involved in water, regardless of whether you’re a scientist, software developer, or someone working out in the field or in nature. Don’t limit yourself too soon – whatever your passion is, you can find a way to water.”
AJ Leitch, Vice President of Customer Success
Aquatic Informatics, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“To me, the theme of better balance means more empathy, understanding, knowledge, and efficiency. I studied glaciology at university, inspired by a particularly enthusiastic lecturer. This involved fieldwork and after uni I got a job for which that fieldwork experience was useful, which turned out to be mostly field hydrology. I enjoyed it and then followed opportunities as they arose to get to where I am today. The job industry as a whole is always changing, so my advice to others is to be open to exploring new opportunities, learning new skills, and branching into new areas.”
Lisa Naysmith, Environmental Data Analyst
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Whakatāne, New Zealand
“As a child, I spent a lot of time outside, playing and exploring. This started a lifelong curiosity about the natural world – what’s in it, how does it work, how do we influence and change it? Working in the field of water quality gives me an opportunity to leverage my education and interests while also feeling good about the work that I do. We need people who are willing and able to think outside the box to innovate to address water issues across the globe. If you are passionate about water and water issues, get involved in your community and start exploring your options as soon as you can.”
Dr. Margaret Guyette, Water Resource Data Manager
St. Johns River Water Management District, Palatka, FL, USA
“I believe that every time there is a gender balance in the workforce, there are better outcomes for everyone. My decision to ultimately pursue a career in water came more from my heart than my head. I have always been interested in water – there is a thread of interest in it throughout my life. I think water is a fascinating and exciting field. I don’t think people consider working in the wastewater sector to be a viable option, but the local public owned treatment works that I come in contact with are doing some very innovative things in line with sustainability and waste reduction. So my advice is to not overlook wastewater as a viable way to contribute to the water world.”
Elizabeth Sala, Environmental Water Quality Specialist
West Basin Municipal Water District, Carson, CA, USA
“For me, this year’s theme means better alignment to achieve harmony where we can reach our goals together! Water is our most precious resource, no matter where you live, and I believe that alignment is needed to best protect it. The water industry is a great industry to work in if you are passionate about the environment and technology because things are evolving and changing at such a rapid pace. Lots of room for innovation!”
Sheena Graham, Marketing Specialist
Aquatic Informatics, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“As we are moving more towards digital world, my advice to others would be to learn more about current technology trends related to the water industry, which will help with career growth. For me, #BalanceforBetter means equality, fulfillment, and growth!”
Vanitha Pradeep, Environmental Specialist – Data
Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand
“The advice I would give to others is to look the career options you are interested in, read all you can about it and then actively pursue it – volunteer in the field, and take the industry certification exams as soon as you can, even if you do not already have a job in the field. If you can do any internship during college (if you are pursuing a career requiring college), do it – you will learn a lot and the experience will put you afar above others when job openings arise. Basically, I just think everyone should consider a career in water and/or wastewater!”
Mindy Boele, Water Quality Manager
City of Vacaville, Vacaville, CA, USA