By Kristin Maharg, Program Manager, Colorado Foundation for Water Education
Talents. Skills. Leadership. These are concepts we don’t spend enough time thinking about. When confronted with the deadlines and demands of our everyday jobs and lives, it’s easy to put the personal reflection and growth on hold. We often forget to gaze into the pool of inner thought and emotion to ask, “What do I want and how do I get there?” Yet the world thrives on people who are asking these questions. Likewise, the Colorado water profession relies on those inspired by their own potential. Luckily the Colorado Foundation for Water Education has a unique program to cultivate the upcoming generation of leadership.
When I came to Colorado with a graduate degree in water resources, I was unsure how I’d apply my technical training to a job in public awareness and community engagement. The stars aligned and I found a position at the Foundation well suited to my knowledge and talents.
After several years of cultivating curiosity and participation in our state’s most essential resource, I started wondering, “How can I be a better team leader and project manager?” Fortunately, I was able to join the 2012 class of Water Leaders to answer these tough questions with a fellow group of mid-level water professionals. We laughed at ourselves. We cried about ourselves. We celebrated OURSELVES!
And we applied the leadership trainings to the complex world of Colorado water. Navigating conflict and diversity in the workplace isn’t unique to our field but these skills undoubtedly help address personal challenges and harness professional opportunities. For me, I’m amused at how effective my power of “woo” or winning others over, can be at those long water meetings and conferences. Combined with strengths in communication and inclusion, I’m the best Program Manager the Foundation has ever had! Okay, I’ve been the only one, but humor me!
So now I’m better able to understand and articulate myself as an “ENFJ” (Myers-Briggs is how all the cool kids are talking these days). Hopefully you’re intrigued by now and take a second to check out the program materials at www.yourwatercolorado.org. The next round of applications is out and due by February 15. The time is now to learn, explore, network and be a Water Leader!