PEI WOMEN LIVEN UP SAVANNAH
Ninety-;ve women attended the 2017 PEI
Women Spring Conference held April 25-27
in Savannah, Georgia — and 98 percent said
they’ll do it again.
Women ranging from sales and administrative assistant to government and executive roles sat side-by-side during sessions on
communication, leadership development,
regulatory challenges and lessons learned
from industry gurus. Throw in networking
dinners and a walking tour, and work and
pleasure became one.
Motivational speaker Linda Larsen taught
PEI Women to harness the power of self-ful;lling prophesies
“That’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve found in this
life,” Larsen said.
She said that when things go wrong, people can turn situations around. And she should know — when she was a young
new mother, an escaped convict kidnapped her at gunpoint.
“It’s never about what happens to you,” Larsen said. “It’s
about how you de;ne it.”
The message resonated into the next session. Director of
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Of;ce of Under-
ground Storage Tanks (OUST) Carolyn Hoskinson presented
a regulatory update, “What’s Happening Now That Could
Impact the Industry.”
“EPA is in a very different place today,” Hoskinson said.
“If I’d made this presentation six months ago, I’d be much
more con;dent about regulation updates — I don’t know.”
Hoskinson, who has worked at the EPA for 27 years, said that
if she had to guess, she’d say “a lot” of state UST programs will
close because they rely on federal grants. (Read the article on
Page 60 to learn more about potential EPA cuts.)
The federal government might not be known for its
employee-friendly communication style and career man-
agement planning, but clear communication can transform
relationships among the four generations that make up today’s
workforce, said generational expert Diane Thielfoldt. She em-
phasized respect and embracing change during her workshop,
“Four Generations, One Workplace.”
“Time is the No. 1 currency in today’s workplace,” Theil-
In other words, workday ;exibility motivates. Theilfoldt also
shared ways businesses can recruit, develop and retain workers.
The second day of the conference began with “Perspectives
on the Industry,” a panel of PEI Women: Chris Blumberg of
SouthEastern Petroleum Systems Inc.; Paola Bravo of S. Bravo
Systems Inc.; Joyce Rizzo of JD2 Environmental Inc.; and
Marion Long of Walsh, Long & Co. Inc.
Each shared work stories and advice learned along the way.
“When everyone else is falling apart, you’ve got to be calm,”
Bravo said that when she took over, she worked so much
that her daughter’s ;rst steps were to the UPS man.
“I needed to get business, so I decided to get on airplanes
and knock on doors,” she said.
The strategy grew Bravo from 12 employees to 170.
Rizzo detailed her 45 years of experience and what it was
like being the only woman in her class to graduate with a
chemical engineering degree.
“I never let men be a problem,” Rizzo said. “My biggest
problem right now is my partners won’t let me retire. I’m going
to be 69!”