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Growing my Water Career – 24 June 2021

If you are one of Queensland water sector’s early career professionals, you are literally the future of water in our state. Whether sparkly fresh or an old(er) hand at your craft, to know yourself, your strengths, your values and how you best perform is, according to Peter Drucker (Managing Oneself, 1999), essential for success. By reflecting on your past and where you currently stand, you can realistically begin writing the next chapter of your future career. So how do you want to shape the water sector? And where will your water future take you? This was the proposition for 20 early career professionals who joined us on 24 June at C’est Bon Restaurant and Bar’s rooftop space in Wooloongabba.

Following on from our December event, Mapping my Future: Steps Designed by Young Professionals, we continued our story with an enriching afternoon of personal-inquiry, stimulating discussion and insightful mentoring. It was a wonderful, casual affair with C’est Bon’s hospitality providing appetisers and drinks on arrival and a welcome space for new and existing connections to flourish. A rich diversity of careers was represented by consultants, utility providers, multiple state department representatives, and High Degree Researchers (HDRs). To keep things interesting, and provide the necessary wisdom, five experienced and inspiring mentors – Mark Pascoe (IWC/Griffith), Charlotte Spliethoff (QRA), Frederick Bouckaert (UQ/private consultant), Lucy Reading (QUT) and Brian McIntosh (IWC/Griffith) – were available to support, counsel and provide insight to inquisitive professionals. 

Piet Filet, our QWMN host, began the afternoon by presenting Andy Ashby, owner and head chef at C’est Bon Restaurant and Le Bon Bar, who did a fine job of introducing the theme for the afternoon, describing the meandering path of his own career. Andy’s career is highlighted by his passion, the people around him and doing things outside-the-box leading him to where he proudly is today.  

Our amazing design thinking guru, Venetia Brown (QUT), was up next to provide context for the day’s activities. Venetia reflected on what we did at our last event, before launching us into the wilderness of mapping out our personal career trajectory.  

Participants were provided worksheets developed by Venetia and Piet to help them navigate their way toward a career path of choice. Our early career professionals were supported by a mentor at each table, available to discuss existing participant pathways and to help generate new ideas.

Our experienced and friendly mentors were up next in panel, sharing stories of what has given them confidence to initiate a shift toward a previous desired career change. Taking calculated risks and saying yes to opportunities was a key theme for our “panel of wisdom”. From moving countries for a career to realising that path just was not for them, these stories of experience provided us all with an awareness of the courage it takes to follow your vision for the future.

The final activity for the day was to consider some key actions or steps each participant might take to help them along one or two possible career trajectories. Amongst cheerful chatter, mentees worked through their sheets, supported by mentors, and we followed with a summary of outstanding points to note from each table.

Taking calculated risks, saying yes to opportunities, following your passion, keeping good people around and taking a path less travelled are all things to consider when reflecting and rewriting your story. No matter your water career path, stories shared, provide a depth of awareness and a foundation for those yet to be chartered.  

This was an engaging, tasty, and ultimately uniting afternoon of enthusiastic professionals from across the water sector. If you are interested in coming along to the next one of these events, whether as a mentor or early career professional, please be in touch with [email protected]. We hope to see you soon. 

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