DeBra was terrified. This was her first AWBD Conference. After walking into the exhibit hall, feeling overwhelmed and out of place, DeBra went back to her hotel room. Her husband did not understand. DeBra is an outgoing, confident person. What could be so scary?
Four years later, DeBra Edwards walked up to the lectern, welcomed a room full of new AWBD members to a special breakfast, and introduced herself as AWBD’s first Ambassador.
AWBD prides itself on being a welcoming organization for all its members. Most AWBD members have been going to conference for years. Many of us had directors, consultants, and friends that showed us the ropes. When Debra suggested to AWBD’s Membership Committee that the organization offer new members some ways to feel more welcome, Mem-bership Committee Chair Rick Ellis listened up.
After DeBra joined, AWBD started a new members breakfast and introduced a “pink ribbon” for new members, to make sure that AWBD’s new members felt welcome. While the breakfast and ribbon were a good start, Debra and Rick felt like they could and should do more. DeBra suggested pairing new directors with experienced mentors.
Rick is Vice President at the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, so making members feel welcome is part of his job description. Rick had just help established AWBD’s Membership and Outreach Committee, chaired by Wendy Duncan, President of Willow Fork Drainage District and a communications consultant, who also works to make people feel welcome. DeBra, Rick, and Wendy worked with AWBD staff to develop an AWBD Ambassadors program—a titled borrowed from the Katy Chamber—to make sure that everyone who attends AWBD Conference walks in knowing someone who will help show them the ropes—not just at AWBD, but in their roles at . And not just any someone, but someone who knows and cares about AWBD and districts.
Led by Wendy and DeBra, AWBD has a great first class of Ambassadors:
- Ms. Sabrina Alaquinez, Fort Bend Co MUD 218
- Mr. Brandyn Cottingham, Fort Bend Co MUD 24
- Ms. Wendy Duncan, Touchstone District Services
- Ms. DeBra Edwards, Harris Co MUD 501
- Mr. Craig Kalkomey, LJA Engineering, Inc.
- Ms. Brenda Landin, TNG Utility Corporation
- Ms. Jennifer Smith-Hicks, Accurate Meter & Supply
- Mr. Harry Thompson, Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP
If you would like to join the ranks of AWBD’s Ambassador Program, or a new member seeking an Ambassador, please email Irma Valdez. We are accepting applications.