November is usually about the time I start to reflect on the year that has passed and think about what has changed. For me 2018 has been a big year of change, and one of the biggest changes has been my job. I made the decision over New Years’ 2017/18 that I wanted to change roles and that I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone more. Then an email about the Womens Utilities Network appeared in my inbox. Here was a great opportunity to put that into practice! I can’t say I wasn’t apprehensive but I was fortunate enough to know a couple of people who were also going so no excuse! I have been to all three of the WUN events so far and at every one has been welcoming, friendly, a really diverse group of people and most importantly, everyone is there for the same reason.
To be better.
Better at their own jobs, better at supporting others, better at being themselves.
The events are structured to allow the founders to share experiences, ideas and advice in a range of ways, but it is not all coming from them. The table discussions allow everyone (who wants to), to contribute and listen to other people’s experiences. No-one is pulling rank or pushing agendas.
Since the first event I have changed my job and whilst WUN is not the cause of this, it happens to have run in a close parallel with the changes I have experienced. This year has been a huge learning curve for me and there are a few key messages I got from these events which dovetailed nicely with my professional life:
Back yourself – no matter how confident someone seems on the outside they have all sorts of doubts, but its how you deal with those that matters. “If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are probably right” – Henry Ford. The stories shared through WUN has shown that even the most successful amongst us are vulnerable but this can be an advantage!
Don’t be afraid to ask… if you don’t ask you won’t get! – Looking back there are many times in my career where I did not make my needs/wants clear as I was afraid this would reflect badly on me, I would seem too demanding or would over-step the mark – I have been pushing myself this year and taken risks – not one of them has come back to bite me yet!
Everyone has something to give and everyone is learning– It doesn’t matter if you have 3 weeks experience or 30 years the industry needs everyone and everyone’s opinion is valid. The day you stop learning in your job (or life) is the day you start to be left behind! Different perspectives are key, we are in the age of Unicorn Companies, Blockchain Technology and Internet of Things – no one knows what the industry will look like in 5 years, regardless of how many years you have been working in it.
Utilities is a growing industry that is changing rapidly and the WUN environment is perfect to give a sense of the opportunities out there, both in your current position/organisation and in the wider community. Here’s to 2019 and all the new learning, challenges and adventures it will bring.