Sunday, January 31, 2021

2020 Year in Review

2020 Year in Review | Melissa Noble | President

I want to take this opportunity to say, “Congratulations! We survived 2020!” This year was wrought with upheaval, lock downs, earthquakes, zoom meetings, social unrest, isolation, working from home, and the list continues. I am so grateful for the steadiness of the Women of Water board members. We jumped from planning in-person meetings (and tours and events) to figuring out how to host a webinar. At the same time, as individuals, we were learning how to work from home, home school our children/ survive without day care, and live through a pandemic. We did it, we are doing it. I want to say a special thank you to you, our members, for continuing to support Women of Water through this tumultuous year. 

We were lucky enough to have 2 in-person meetings early in 2020. In January we met at the Salt Lake County building and heard from Jason Allen about engaging Millennials. We discussed the variability in thought process and motivation of each generation of people, from Baby Boomers to Millennials. February, we met at the newly opened Tracy Aviary Jordan River Nature Center; in fact, we were the very first group to meet after their grand opening! In that beautiful space we heard from Ashley Kijowski a Wildlife Biologist that works for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. She spoke to us on Investigating the importance of the Great Salt Lake, its history, and wetlands.

In March, our plans were thwarted by the sudden lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, she persisted! We would not let a measly pandemic stop us from engaging the women of water community. April 26, 2020, we held our first ever webinar meeting for Women of Water. Marie Owens, Director of the Utah Division of Drinking Water discussed emergency response and a legislative summary. This was one of our best attended events. Thank you for supporting us as we stepped into the unknown together.

We learned how to manage difficult people in May where Siobhan Locke walked us through conflict resolution. In June, we were excited to hear from Erica Gaddis, Director of the Utah Division of Water Quality, where we learned about water quality issues and the legislative summary.

Our July event pushed our zoom experiences to a new level when we used breakout rooms to create a more personal experience with our speed networking event. This year has been so isolating, it was nice to interact with each other. Another first occurred in August where we had a movie/book club event discussing the Hollywood blockbuster Dark Waters. I, for one, made changes in what materials I use in my home based on what I learned in the movie and our discussions at the event.

The panel discussion in September was a highlight of the year! We were so lucky to have these amazing leaders in the water industry share how they advocate for themselves, face discrimination, and excel in their careers. We were lucky enough to hear from Dr Erica Gaddis, Utah Division of Water Quality Director; Pam Gill, Kearns Improvement District General Manager; Candace Hassenyager, Utah Division of Water Resources Deputy Director; Christina Osborn, PE, J-U-B Engineers Project Manager; and Libbie Linton, WesTech Assistant Unit Leader/Senior Process Engineer.

In October, we enjoyed a fun filled social/cocktail hour playing games, laughing, and learning more about each other. We have such a great group of women that attend our events, thank you all for sharing who you are with us! We finished out 2020 with Career Coaching from Marissa Armitstead and Sophie Bassett from Utah State University, discussing the book “Designing Your Work Life.”

July was our election for Secretary and President of the Women of Water Board. Jamie Banh was re-elected secretary and I, Melissa Noble, was re-elected President. Both Jamie and I really enjoy the opportunity to work on the board and with everyone. Thank you for your continued support.

We have great plans for 2021, with hope (and conditional plans) that we can meet in person sometime this year. Please stay safe and healthy. I look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Lots of Love,

Melissa Noble

President of Women of Water

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