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YWPDK Regional Groups – Interview with Gulia Dottorini – YWPDK

YWPDK Regional Groups – Interview with Gulia Dottorini

Giulia Dottorini

INTERVIEW

Are you curious about YWPDK regional Groups and what it means to be an active member?

Let’s hear from Gulia, our former Regional Representative for the Northern Region and find out about her experience.

“You get to shape the local network: it’s wonderful to stand in front of a blank canvas that you can fill in! ”

Why did you join the YWPDK network in the first place?

I decided to join because it looked fun and relevant for my field. A couple of friends of mine mentioned the YWPDK network to me and I was very attracted by the possibility to broaden my knowledge in my own field (wastewater treatment) and to better understand the water sector in general. I expanded my perspective on topics (drinking water treatment, climate adaptation strategies, nature based solutions, etc.) that were related but distant to my main work focus at that time. All this in a professional but informal setting.

The other YWPDK members really made and make the difference! I perceive the same enthusiasm that I have, so I immediately understood that it was the right place to thrive in my free time, professionally and personally. After joining the national conference for the first time (my first real contact with the network), I was totally hyped and hooked!

What tasks do you take on as an active member of the Regional Group in Aalborg? Please describe the organizational structure of the member group in Aalborg.

You get to shape the local network: it’s wonderful to stand in front of a blank canvas that you can fill in! It is about arranging local events (both team building and technical events), maintaining alive the interest of the local members, provide/receive inputs to/from the board members, collaborating with the other regional groups. This gives you the possibility to meet relevant people, strengthen your soft skills and learn new ones, not to mention the exposure you get within and outside the YWP network. It’s a really efficient setting also to get to push your limits a bit, and you’re never left by yourself.

I was amongst the lucky ones who got the Northern group started, so over time I participated first as driving member, then as regional representative (RR). Our group went through an interesting development, where at the begining the roles of driving members and RR were more defined and separated, where the driving members served more as support to the RR, who instead was a bit more in charge of the main practicalities. But now that we do not have a proper RR, everyone among the driving members can take charge and lead on different aspects, as we see fit. The tasks can be: maintaining ongoing updates within the driving members, contributing with ideas about which local events to arrange, contacting the tentative event hosts (local companies or universities), define the event program, set up our YWPDK platforms to inform our members about the events, coordinate activities with the board members, etc. We discovered that also this type of organisation without a proper RR works well for our group, where everyone can play a decisive part in it.

The best part for me was to see the local group and network develop from zero to the state where it is now. It has been sometimes challenging to get ourselves known locally, but we learnt something along the process and it was really a joint effort and commitment to make it work.I also appreciated very much the inputs and sparring with the other regional groups. I’m so proud about where we are today with the Northen group! I guess that’s also because I really enjoy spending part of my free time with my fellow YWPs, which are really something in between colleagues and friends!

“… I’m so proud about where we are today with the Northern group! ”

“I think we are pretty visible and active, and I am glad to see that our work is acknowledged also by the seniors and that our opinions are seaked in different settings. .”

How do you envision the future activities and progression of the role of YWPK?

I think that after 10 years (yes, this year we celebrate our 10th year anniversary!) we have gathered a wide range of experience with different activities, we have a pretty solid foundation and a strong mindset, and we’re good at our “standard” activities. So I think that we could dare to expand our tasks and skills outside the comfort zone, embarking for example a mentorship programme. But we would need support for it.

What have you gained personally from joining YWPDK and by contributing to the network?

Lots of professional contacts, and new friends too; a better understanding of the water sector and especially the Danish one; I learnt to put my work in perspective within the bigger water-picture. I think I am also much more receptive and aware of important water topics, even if they are not necessarily related to my current work.

What would be your advice to anyone contemplating on increasing his or her activity in the network or even just joining?

Just go for it! If you are even slightly curious and interested in it, go ahead and try it out. It’s a safe volunteering space where people are welcoming and very curious about each other. You can define by yourself how much time and energy you can be involved into as a volunteer, and adjust your commitment along the way. There is really a lot to gain and nothing to loose, and I can absolutely assure you that you won’t regret having experienced it.