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Empowering the Next Generation of Women Closing the Gender Gap

How can we support girls bridge the step from studying STEM to building a career in the water tech industry?

August 31, 2022 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am EDT

Closing the Gender Gap Event

This in-person event was an interactive session with a diverse panel who are eager to share their experiences working in water technology and offer insights into what it takes for women to succeed in the field. Even though the session focused on advising girls on how to build successful careers in technology, it was open to everyone interested in this important topic and included the importance of both being and having male allies. The panelists shared their unique journeys, reflecting on topics such as building self-confidence, developing peer networks, importance of mentorship and the role of male allies.

In addition to the Reservoir Keynote speaker, Deputy Chief of Mission Ingrid Ask, Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC, we had exciting breakout conversations with the moderator and panelists on the following themes:

  • building self-confidence
  • developing peer networks
  • importance of mentorship & sponsorship
  • the role of male allies

This event was co-sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC and the Women’s Aquatic Network. The same event was concurrently hosted by Xylem during Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)’s World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. Keynote addresses were broadcasted between our two locations.

Did you miss it?

Watch the keynote of Deputy Chief of Mission Ingrid Ask, Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC here

Event Speakers

Keynote: Ingrid Ask

Ms Ingrid Ask assumed her position as Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C. in September 2019.  

Prior to her current position, Ms Ask served as Political Advisor to the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Micael Bydén. She started her diplomatic career in 1999 and has held positions at the Foreign Minister’s Office, the Africa Department and as Head of Consular Affairs at the Department for Consular Affairs and Civil Law.  

From 2005 to 2010, Ms Ask served as Political Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C. Between 2001 and 2005 she was posted to the Political Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Ms Ask holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Political Science and Languages from Uppsala University, Sweden. 

Panelist: Dr. Kandis Boyd

Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt is a trailblazer, an advocate and renowned expert in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). She has nearly 30 years of experience leading, teaching, advising and mentoring students and early career enthusiasts in environmental and atmospheric science. She was the first African-American female to receive an undergraduate degree in Meteorology from Iowa State University in 1996. And in 2007, received her doctorate in public administration with a specific concentration in inter-organizational leadership and cultural values. Her most recent federal government experience includes serving as the Strategic Advisor for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Equity and Civil Rights (OECR) in the Office of the Director (OD), the first Deputy Division Director (DDD) of the NSF Division of Grants and agreements, and serving as both the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the NOAA Weather Program Office.

Panelist: Natalie Exum

Dr. Natalie Exum is an Assistant Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. Her work focuses on understanding environmental transmission of infectious diseases and measuring how water and sanitation infrastructure most effectively interrupt the transmission cycle. She received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences and has a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. Natalie worked for the World Bank as a water specialist for five years on technical and institutional problems in the water sector across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Panelist: Dr. Betsy Southerland

Dr. Betsy Southerland has a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech.  She worked as a scientist and manager in the USEPA Water and Superfund programs for 33 years, retiring in August 2017 as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology in the Office of Water.  She received a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for her career accomplishments at the USEPA and was inducted into Virginia Tech’s  Academy of Distinguished Alumni for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Since retirement, she has been a member of the Environmental Protection Network, an organization of EPA alumni who volunteer their time providing technical comments on EPA’s proposed rules and guidance, Congressional testimony on environmental issues, and pro bono technical assistance to environmental groups and communities.

Panelist: Matthew Pine

Matthew leads the Americas region and global businesses empowering customers to move, measure and monitor water at Xylem, a leading global water technology company committed to solving critical water and infrastructure challenges with innovation. From collection and distribution to reuse and return to nature, Xylem’s highly efficient water technologies enable customers to optimize water and resource management, and help communities in more than 150 countries become water-secure.

Matthew has more than 25 years of experience in general management, sales, marketing, digital and product management. Prior to joining Xylem, he served as President of Carrier Residential for United Technologies Corporation. He also led Marketing and Product Management for the Carrier Residential HVAC business unit. Prior to joining Carrier, Matthew worked as Head of Power Plant Sales Technology in Central Europe for Vestas Wind Systems, as Director of Product Management of Marketing for Lennox International Inc., and held a series of sales and marketing leadership roles at Trane Residential & Light Commercial Systems.

Matthew received a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from the University of Alabama and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Northeastern University in Boston. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt.


August 31, 2022
9:30 am - 11:30 am EDT


Reservoir Center
301 Water St SE
Washington, 20003 United States
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