Emil Aagaard Thomsen
Recently there have been many changes to the Board and Regional Representatives team of YWPDK. This meant that we needed to say thank you and bye to some very central people who have been leading the network in the previous years. We will in this series of interviews put focus on the people who have been fundamental to where the network is today. In this first edition we present Emil Aagaard Thomsen, who has been central to drive and lead the network for many years. Emil got actively involved in the network early on and became a regional representative for Aarhus that then led him to run for the Board as well. Emil has been a key person to activate YWPs in the Aarhus area.
Thank you Emil for the hard work and contribution to the network!
"My boss asked me if I wanted to join a YWPDK conference and after the conference I was hooked!"
Why did you join the YWPDK network in the first place, and what led you to run for the position of regional representative in Aarhus and subsequently join the board?
My boss asked me if I wanted to join a YWPDK conference and after the conference I was hooked! Experiencing the energy from the members and expanding my own professional network was the primary driver for getting involved. As Regional Representative you learn a lot about the network organization and how the network is managed. Therefore, it was natural for me to run for the board to get even more involved – something I do not regret!
"YWPDK will have an important role in trying to influence the water sector "
Where do you see the role and the position of the YWPDK network in the Danish water sector and for the young water professionals in Denmark?
YWPDK will have an important role in trying to influence the water sector and create awareness and focus on new research and connecting different branches. This is especially important, so we can learn from each other, in the early stages of developing professional relations. Young professionals have the capability to be specialized, but still have a larger perspective using their network connections to determine other fields where their work can have merit.
How do you envision the future activities and progression of the role of YWPDK?
It will be important for YWPDK to keep focus on their members and ensure a continues number of events in the different regions to keep people engaged. This way there is a larger chance that people will get involved and be ambassadors for the network wherever they go.
"If you invest time in networking and connecting you will be rewarded with professional relations that will last"
What did you gain personally and/or professionally from joining YWPDK and by contributing to the network?
I gained a very large professional network – from new direct work relations (customers / partners) and a lot of indirect connections such as universities, researchers, and companies. Relations I use in my work as a consultant, but also personal connections and hopefully lifelong contacts – which I hope to see around the water sector for many years!
Can you think of a most memorable or challenging moment during your time in YWPDK?
The most challenging moment was when I planned a "bike-ride" in Aarhus – which had up to 12-15 people accepting the event. On the day of the event only 2 persons showed up – together with the presenters from different companies. This really underlined the hard work it is to be in a non-profit volunteering network. This also taught me the importance of good communication and following up – to ensure that people prioritize networking in their busy work life.
What would your advice be to anyone contemplating on joining the network or increasing his or her activity in it?
I would say – Go for it! What is there to lose? It's free of charge and you can customize how you want to interact with the network. I can only say that the personal gain from interacting is as much as you make it. If you invest time in networking and connecting you will be rewarded with professional relations that will last. Also you use the platform to reach professional conferences and societies, which can be hard to reach in the earlier stages of your career.