Finding Inspiration: A Journey Through Europe and Industry Connections

Charli in Matera

I recently embarked on my own version of an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey across Europe. While the famous movie with Julia Roberts might conjure images of Italy, my adventure spanned several countries and was deeply intertwined with professional growth and personal discovery.

Munich, Germany: A Hub of Innovation and Team Spirit

My journey began in Munich, Germany, where my company sponsored two teams—one for Empowering Pumps & Equipment and another for Empowering Women In Industry. Witnessing our team members proudly donning our brand was a moving experience, reinforcing our collective mission to make a global impact.

The World Water Skills competition at IFAT and the Operations Challenge at WEFTEC are events that push boundaries and inspire participants to strive for excellence. These competitions are more than just challenges; they bring together competitors, judges, and audiences in a shared celebration of skill and dedication. Forming teams from diverse backgrounds fosters collaboration and enriches the experience, underscoring the importance of connection in our industry.

WEF USA team at IFAT 2024

Global Connections: The Heart of Our Business

Reflecting on my business journey, our initial tagline, “Connecting the Global Pump Industry,” still holds true. This European trip reaffirmed our global presence as our sponsored teams competed against international peers and won awards. The camaraderie and celebration, including swapping jerseys and dancing, highlighted the power of global connections and the joy of shared achievements.

World Water Skills competitors

Cultural Exploration and Culinary Delights

Munich offered a delightful mix of traditional German cuisine and international flavors. I enjoyed sausages, kraut, and discovered a new favorite—Radlers. Experiencing the local beer culture in Munich’s beer gardens was a treat, even for a non-beer drinker like me. Strolling through the Englischer Garten and watching surfers ride the waves on the Eisbach river was a unique highlight, showcasing Munich’s vibrant and diverse culture.

Personal Pilgrimage to Sicily

Next, I journeyed to Catania, Sicily, fulfilling a long-held desire to visit the place where my father was stationed during his Navy days. Exploring the city’s rich history, from ancient architecture to bustling markets, was a deeply personal and fulfilling experience. Visiting Mount Etna and bringing back volcanic rock for my daughter, a geology enthusiast, was a special moment that connected family history with present-day adventures.

Charli on the sea leaving Sicily

The Italian Countryside and Amalfi Coast

Meeting up with my colleague Vince in Galdo, Italy, led to a picturesque drive along the Amalfi Coast. The stunning scenery, with houses built into the mountainside and the serene ocean views, was breathtaking. We indulged in local cuisine, including fresh calamari and zucchini pasta, and reveled in the simple joy of good food and great company.

Matera: A Journey Back in Time

Our visit to Matera, with its ancient rock-cut dwellings, felt like stepping back in time. The Sassi, Matera’s historic cave dwellings, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a testament to human ingenuity and resilience. Exploring the ancient monasteries and witnessing the blend of history and culture was profoundly inspiring, reminding me of the “Pray” part of my journey.

Vince and Charli in Italy

Industrial Innovation in Bari and Padua

In Bari, we toured the Baker Hughes facility, marveling at the integration of advanced technology like 3D printing in pump manufacturing. The visit to Varisco Pumps in Padua further showcased the cutting-edge innovations in our industry. Seeing Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement practices in action was a powerful reminder of the progress and potential within our field.

Vince and Charli with Enrico of Baker Hughes in Bari

Charli with Varisco team

A Serendipitous Drive to Switzerland

After wrapping up business in Italy, a spontaneous drive to Switzerland provided a refreshing change of pace. The majestic Alps and the serene Swiss landscape offered a perfect backdrop for reflection and relaxation before heading to my final destination—Paris.


Paris: A Reunion and Reflection

In Paris, I reunited with a dear friend from Belgium for a whirlwind 24-hour tour. We visited iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but the true highlight was our heartfelt conversations and shared meals. Catching up with another high school friend, Kara, who is an accomplished engineer and athlete, added another layer of inspiration to my journey.

IMG_2912Kasey and Karli in Paris

Igniting Inspiration for the Future

This European adventure reignited my passion and commitment to our mission at Empowering Brands. From Munich to Sicily, from the Amalfi Coast to Paris, the common thread was the importance of connection and collaboration. These experiences have reinforced my belief in supporting the next generation of industry professionals and fostering a global community.

We are committed to providing opportunities for connection through our online communities, in-person events like the Empowering Women in Industry Conference, and the Empowering Pumps & Industry Conference. I look forward to hearing what inspires you and how we can continue to empower each other.

Until next time, stay empowered and keep connecting. This is the “Love” part!

Be Empowering

This journey has taught me that inspiration can be found in every corner of the world, and it’s through our connections and collaborations that we truly make a difference. Let’s continue to support and uplift each other, creating a global network of empowered professionals.

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