Women of Inframark – Donna Anderson

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Donna Anderson, Operations Manager for our Perris, California client is a testament to moving outside your comfort zone – and finding success on the other side. Donna has been working at the Perris location since 2010, when she left her job as a hair stylist to try a new career path. “I first came onboard as a secretary and I was totally new to the water/wastewater industry,” she said. “I was the only woman on the team at the time and I was so fortunate to have leaders who supported me and helped me build my knowledge and confidence over time.”  

After years of hard work, “acting like a sponge and absorbing everything,” and advancing to roles of increasing responsibilities, Donna earned multiple professional certifications (all corporately funded), including multiple water operator certifications, along with treatment and collections certifications. Today, she leads a team of five who support the Perris water systems and the collection system.  “It’s interesting because I never really saw myself in this role. We are often our harshest critics—and I didn’t want to do it. But, my manager at the time pointed out that I was already serving in the role for all practical purposes, so I may as well get paid for it,” she laughs. So, she took a leap of faith in herself and her team – and it’s worked out better than she could have imagined. 

When commenting on what it’s like to lead in a traditionally male-oriented field, Donna credits her success to “staying humble” and not feeling the need to prove anything. “It was a little uncomfortable in the beginning, when I would show up at a job site as the only woman. But the more I did it, the more comfortable I became, and the more the team developed trust – and everything fell into place. I’ve always been upfront about what I can do and what I don’t know. I’ve learned that even when I think I know something, it’s important to stay open to input because there is always more than one way to do something.  I’ve also learned that it’s OK not to know everything. You just have to surround yourself with people who do,” she says.  

In reflecting on her progression over the years, and the memorable moments along the way, she shares that she takes the most pride in the times when she sees the team working through a crisis together. “The nature of our work is 24/7. Our crews work hard, and sometimes that means they make personal sacrifices to get the job done. For instance, I remember being out with several members of the team one year on Christmas Eve for hours to fix a service break. That’s just what we do to take care of our customers. We’re dedicated and that makes me proud.”   

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