Making Connections, changing lives

By Laura Mullen, Member Engagement Manager

Headshot of Laura MullenSometimes the benefits of membership at The Water Council reach far beyond even our own expectations.

Identifying connections and making warm introductions are our specialty, so when a member asked for our assistance in solving a non-traditional problem, we agreed to help. During one of our regular membership check-ins, Andy Gralton at Clearwater Industries, Inc. wondered if we might have connections to job postings within the water ecosystem. While talent placement is not one of our typical services, we knew we wanted to help after we heard Andy’s request.

He had recently met Samira, an Afghan refugee who fled Kabul when it was taken by the Taliban. After countless sleepless nights and long days of persistently arguing with the Taliban, Samira, her sister and 150 other women and girls boarded a U.S. military plane. Several stops and many days later, the group was finally transported to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin to join over 12,000 other refugees. Samira and her sister, still worried about their parents in Kabul, were given an opportunity for a fresh start in the States with the hope that someday their family would be reunited.

“Upon meeting Samira and hearing of her courageous journey out of Afghanistan, as well as her focus on helping her family still there, I wanted to help her however I could,” Andy said. “Once she described her desire to begin working promptly in order to send money home to her family, I began thinking of organizations that might be able to help connect her with opportunities, and The Water Council immediately came to mind.”

Coincidentally, another member organization, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) had just contacted us about a job opening they wanted to post in our next newsletter. Samira’s education and work experience matched the job description perfectly and we encouraged her to apply. After several connections, interviews and conversations, Samira was offered the position of Administrative Coordinator and has been gainfully employed for nearly a month.

“I’m happy to have played a small role helping Samira resettle in Milwaukee and extremely grateful to The Water Council for their assistance,” Andy said. “I’m confident that Samira’s intelligence and drive will help her flourish in her new role.”

This is a win for Samira and her family and a win for the water tech industry. The Water Council is thrilled that we were able to play a small part in making this happen!

Samira and Andy celebrated her new job with brunch.