Women Making Waves


women making waves
Margaret Doss (left) and Katie Snyder (right)

Women Making Waves Committee (WMWC) is a committee of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP); its purpose is to bring together women in the industry, promote leadership and career development opportunities, and provide a forum for networking and to learn from one another. A recent initiative of the WMWC is the development of a mentoring program. During the GAWP 2019 Annual Conference, there was a strong interest in mentoring amongst the members. The WMWC leadership began planning a mentoring program, but its implementation was delayed by COVID-19. The program was formally presented at the 2021 GAWP Annual Conference. Applications for mentors and mentees opened in August 2021. Participants completed a lengthy questionnaire and were asked to commit to a one-year term, October 2021 to September 2022. The WMWC leadership worked diligently to pair mentors and mentees; they put together 13 pairs.

Margaret: I was paired with Katie Snyder, a young professional engineer who is a certified water treatment plant operator who was working in the engineering consulting world. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Katie. It was interesting to me to see how some things regarding being a woman in a male-dominated field had changed while others were the same. I believe there are more opportunities open to women now, and you don’t get looked at strangely for pursuing a career in the water/wastewater industry, but there are still those who look down on you and act like you don’t belong. Katie has already bumped up against some archaic attitudes in her career; I hope I was able to assist her in navigating through them. It was cool to be able to share some of my own experiences knowing that they might help her as she progressed in our industry.

We were located about three hours apart, so we met virtually once a month for “virtual lunch” just to chat and share ideas. We did not have a specified agenda, but let the conversation flow organically. There were times when Katie had specific questions for me and other times when the conversation was more free-flowing. We did meet in person a couple of times; once for lunch at a restaurant midway between us and once at an Atlanta Braves game. We also connected at GAWP events.

Even though I was deemed the mentor in our pairing, I learned a lot from Katie. This has been a great experience for me, and I highly encourage others in our industry to look into being a mentor or a mentee.

Katie: I applied for the WMWC Mentoring Program not specifically looking for mentoring, as I thought that I had great mentors in my career; however, I really loved the community and support of the WMWC, and knew it would be a great opportunity. The match with Margaret Doss was fantastic from the start. I gained a mentor, role model, and great friend. We both had similar backgrounds, interests, and passions, but as I was in a consulting position and Margaret worked for a public municipality, this relationship most likely would not have blossomed naturally. We quickly appreciated the WMWC pairing. It was wonderful learning how her career had transitioned over time, how she navigated challenges, and how she continued to lead through her heart and commitment to her passion for water. 

This past year was difficult professionally for me, following the COVID pandemic, when I became aware of many dynamics and patterns that were no longer in my best interest. Margaret’s continued support and recommendations really were a godsend. Her professional expertise and network helped open potential paths that I had previously blocked out. Additionally, her commitment to family helped me make transitions necessary for the well-being of me and my son. I know I will continue to reach out to her for mentorship and support as I look to a lifelong friendship beyond this one-year program.


The WMWC Mentoring Program paired individuals across the state, matching individuals eager to teach, learn, and grow in different companies or public/private sectors. The program provided tools, workshops, socials, and support needed to allow relationships to grow; however, the commitment and dedication were up to each individual. Professional organizations and committees are a great way to connect, share, and learn, but sometimes we need a little help to find the right connections. When mentoring programs carefully pair mentees and mentors across industrial sectors, companies, or department borders, while allowing for change and growth, they can be an influential tool to help not only the individuals but also provide value to the water industry as a whole. WMWC plans to incorporate lessons learned from survey results and continued research to modify its 2023 Mentoring Program.



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