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Susan Roberts joined UAA six months ago in a newly developed role for the association, Outreach and Marketing Manager. In this position, Susan is responsible for building and strengthening important relationships with industry influencers, promoting positive public awareness of the UAA and its career opportunities, and overseeing various marketing efforts on behalf of UAA.

Susan, you hit the ground running last July, attending Trees & Utilities in the fall and a variety of in-person and virtual events. How are you acclimating to the new environment?

Really well!  The team has been very supportive in helping me make connections. Everyone that I have met, either on web calls or in person at Trees and Utilities, has been welcoming and eager to assist me.  It has been a very fast six months, so that must mean I’m having fun.

What is your vision as Outreach and Marketing Manager for the UAA?

The UAA has a reputation of being the “round table” of industry thought leaders. We need to build on that foundation. Our goal is to identify what seats are currently empty and start the conversation with those audiences.  What can the UAA provide to interest them?  What services do they need? The outreach team, along with UAA committee members, will focus on initiatives coming from identified areas that can grow connections with stakeholders and integrate efforts to improve and expand our resources. Our ultimate hope is to develop a vital team of ambassadors, identified by region that can represent the interests of the UAA in tandem with their own professional roles, as a collaborative effort for the industry.

What has surprised you about the job so far?

I find it fascinating that not very many people know about the work done behind the scenes – but often right in front of them – to keep their power on. I point out rights-of-way all the time now when driving around.  I notice them from airplanes.  I watch the aftermath of storms and notice the crews in the background of the TV reporters taking care of the powerlines and I realize how much we take for granted. The complexity of this industry, and the wonderful people that do the work is what amazes me.

What are your objectives or ambitions for UAA in the coming year?

I want to communicate my own passion for this industry and its people to build public and stakeholder awareness and increase participation in the UAA’s efforts. My initial goal is to be more proactive on outreach and marketing programs than I am currently able.

On the personal side, what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Spend time with family and friends, and share updates on my kids. My husband and I entered the “empty nest” phase when Covid hit, so our plans to travel are on hold for now.  I am an avid pollinator and landscape gardener, and family historian/research fanatic.  I love to cook specialty dinners and am locally famous for my holiday cookie platters.

Anything else you care to add that we didn’t ask?

If you’re ever at a meeting event and the mixer game says “find someone who while in high school studied opera at William and Mary and had a shark encounter”, look for me.