EP116: Communication and Outreach as a Tool to Break Down Silos
Karyn A. Riley, Esq. first splashed into the water sector 7 years ago after landing on the government relations team at WSSC Water. Since then, she has emerged as a key voice on the sector’s role in leveraging its widespread impact in community engagement and equitable economic development. Join us in this conversation that demonstrates the value communication and outreach brings to ALL utility staff and operations—not just communicators and communication initiatives.Top takeaways:How government often silos itself and the value of breaking down the barriers to collaboration.The balance required to operate with both a product-minded and service-minded business model as a water utility.Lessons learned from WSSC Water's public outreach efforts about their rates and affordability initiatives.Diversity, equity, and inclusion—what is the water industry doing well and where can it improve?Meet KarynKaryn A. Riley, Esq. had absolutely no clue about the water sector before landing with WSSC Water almost 7 years ago and has emerged as a key voice on the sector’s role in community engagement and equitable economic development.As a member of WSSC Water’s senior and executive leadership teams, Karyn develops and leads organizational strategy for stakeholder engagement and manages relationships with 200+ elected and government officials at the federal, state, and local levels. She guides the organization’s legislative and policy agenda, and as been responsible for legislation that expands affordability and transparency. WSSC Water’s “chief advocate”, Karyn represents the state’s largest water utility before industry, community, and business stakeholders and is recognized for her expertise in organizational leadership, engagement, strategic planning, and policy development.With her extensive background in economic, policy and program development, Karyn believes that water utilities are anchor institutions with widespread impact on public health, the economy, the environment, and social justice. With the unprecedented infusion of investment in the country’s infrastructure, Karyn knows that now is the time for all players in the sector to commit to using the funding to build not only the physical infrastructure of communities, but commit to building an equitable economic infrastructure as well - especially in underserved and underrepresented ones.A native Marylander, Karyn is a proud alumna of Hampton University, an HBCU, and holds a law degree from Syracuse University. Outside of her professional career, she is passionate about serving her community as a mentor and volunteer, and she loves dance.