Water Journal : Current August 2017
Mentoring For all enquiries, please contact us on: +61 2 9709 2426 +61421222233 firstname.lastname@example.org 75 Ashford Ave, Milperra NSW 2214 PO Box 1085, Yagoona West NSW 2199 Safe Surge specialises in the Design and Supply of Bladder Surge extensive damage such as leaking seals, burst pipes, valve and pump Safe Surge work very closely with Hydraulic Engineer Consultants in With over 10 years’ experience we have had the opportunity in working and supplying some major projects around Australia and New Zealand including the QCLNG Project, Malabar Waste Water Australasia. Mentee GISELA LAMCHE, SENIOR LIMNOLOGIST, TROPICAL WATER SOLUTIONS I’ve always liked to have a mentor; there have been times in my career where I didn’t have a mentor or someone I could look up to and learn from – those were always dry times. I finished my master’s thesis in 1996 and then did a PhD in 1999 before moving to Australia. Once here, I worked in public health studying the effects of aquatic insects before moving into a role within the NT government focused on aquatic ecology. Now, I’m a senior limnologist at Tropical Water Solutions. My responsibilities are analysing data on the water quality of local reservoirs, and I consult on other short-term projects as well. Kevin and I first met while I was still working for the NT government. I had met him on several occasions, and he was a person I respected. He has a reputation for being competent and having a vast knowledge of water quality issues in the NT, a combination that was very appealing to me. When I first started at Tropical Water Solutions in 2012, I hadn’t worked in this specific field before. My background is more from the biological side of water, and Kevin is more familiar with the physical side, which was new to me. He was helpful in those early years because he gave me lots of resources to read and shared lots of information with me on this topic. But beyond his scientific expertise, he has an amazing ability to manage people and exercise diplomacy. When you collaborate with other organisations or government bodies, you have to learn to navigate any sensitivity, and I’ve learned from him in this regard. For example, in one case we’d been asked to summarise some historical information for one of the reservoirs. Through consultations with the client, we discovered that various stakeholders had different expectations for what they wanted the outcomes to be. Kevin was there, and he expressed concern that the report wasn’t going to be what they asked for – could they be more specific? We had to first figure out what they wanted from the But most importantly they have to own them; it’s not my achievement that Gisi’s become a very strong leader and a positive influence on those around her – it’s hers. For a mentoring relationship to work, it needs to be collaborative. While working together, both of us learned more about each other’s approaches to interpreting data and what the results meant in the end. You get this transfer of ideas, and that transfer goes both ways. As a mentor, you’re not there to be a lecturer – it’s a process of steady development. Gisi has been able to teach me an enormous amount; she’s dragged me into the 21st century in some ways, especially in terms of moving away from thinking that ‘traditional’ fields of study are superior. I’ve learned that people in the water industry study a more diverse range of disciplines and applied sciences, whereas I’ve helped her with more targeted science. Water is such a wonderfully diverse subject; it’s not just science and engineering, or a commodity – it’s at the heart of civil society. That in turn ripples through the work we do.
Current May 2017