April 2018

We were excited to have strong Otak representation at the 2018 Women in Leadership Symposium on April 19. Organized and hosted by Women Leading Water, a nonprofit that provides women in the water business with personal and professional development tools and opportunities, the symposium had record-breaking attendance.

Otak not only sponsored this annual event, but water resources engineer Tammi Connolly also led the symposium planning team. A Women Leading Water board member, Tammi has been on the symposium planning team for several years, finding the planning to be just as rewarding as the main event. Liz Gilliam, Morgan Clay, and Julie Jensen also attended this year’s symposium at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, Washington.

The symposium began with a keynote presentation by JaNell Cook, HDR’s west region director, who imparted her insights on how to lead with authenticity. Our HR director Julie Jensen shared her “Top 10 Things to Succeed in Business” and participated in the Organizational Transformation Panel, where panelists discussed how they are creating more diverse and inclusive organizations. Attendees also learned about engineering leadership and how to wing it when plans go awry.

During the interactive Cultural Competence Workshop, participants learned how communication styles can cause tension between coworkers or within a team. Being aware of others’ styles may keep information flowing and help individuals to feel supported by their teammates. During one breakout session, participants identified their communication styles and discussed the strengths and challenges of each style. 

Beyond learning leadership skills, participants had an excellent opportunity to network with other women from both public and private organizations at all stages of their careers. The symposium hosts work to provide an atmosphere that is open and nonjudgmental, allowing participants to speak freely about their experiences and goals. This open communication leads to shared stories, inspiration for solutions and alternatives, and a shared understanding that we are not alone in our career journeys. 

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