Why Rionda Batiste Believes Knowledge Can Inspire Younger Generations in Utilities

Education is critical in Rionda Batiste’s line of work. Knowledge paired with training is key to the health and safety of SFPUC employees. For Batiste, knowledge is also hope for younger generations, especially girls.

Batiste is a Junior Administrative Analyst supporting the SFPUC Wastewater Enterprise safety department’s respiratory protection program. Before COVID-19, her role was critical to the SFPUC’s priority of keeping employees safe, and since the start of the global pandemic, the respiratory protect program has been even even more important. The program includes medical health screenings, online training for proper usage of the respirators, and fit testing. “I also collect and enter safety tailgates into the SFPUC’s online learning system,” she shared. “In addition, I complete purchase requisitions as needed for various departments.”

Batiste understands how important her role is to her colleagues. As she reflected on Women’s History Month, she shared how representation is essential to the workplace. “Women’s History Month to me is a celebration of all the contributions women have made in history. The contributions can be in the form of work-related items, political activism, or any other change the impacted society in a positive way,” she said.

For Batiste, representation in the workplace is important because the younger generation can see living examples that they can work in any industry they desire. “When younger girls see women in the jobs they are considering it increases the likelihood of them choosing that industry or position. In times past the occupations offered to young women was extremely limited. However, young girls are now encouraged to be whatever they want to be.”

Batiste believes it essential that women are present and represented within the utilities industry because it brings a different perspective to the workplace. “Men and women have different experiences in life which shapes their perspectives,” she explained. “Having a woman can help bring a different perspective which can positively impact the flow of work.”

When asked to finish the sentence “a women’s place is…”, Batiste enthusiastically shared, “A women’s place is wherever she wants it to be. If she wants to be a homemaker great! If she wants to work in whatever industry she chooses that’s also great! Women can be and do whatever they put their mind to!”