Impact Story – Leah Ackerman
17 Year Journey Full of Lovinklaan Programs
In addition to investing in Arcadians to ensure its continuity, Lovinklaan aims to inspire Arcadians to develop and realize their full potential through various programs.
Client Program Manager/Vice President at Arcadis in San Francisco, Leah Ackerman, is a prime example of how Arcadians can leverage Lovinklaan’s global programs to further their personal and professional growth throughout their careers.
Leah has been with Arcadis for about 17 years and has taken full advantage of every opportunity to expand her skill set and make a meaningful impact, both on a societal level and an organizational level.
Meeting Lovinklaan through Quest
In 2014, Leah first came across Lovinklaan via the Quest program – the Foundations first global program which allows Arcadians to exchange knowledge and expertise with one another on a global scale. With this opportunity, Leah embarked on a two-week journey to China. During her exchange, she had the unique opportunity to connect with an existing client who had just relocated there.
“It was a memorable experience as I got to see how Arcadis’ work can be different depending on the country,” says Leah, noting that her experience engaging with the local team taught her about cross-border and international work, culture, and operations.
« It is not as simple or black and white as you would think, » Leah explains, “there are nuances and challenges that come with working across cultures – the way we address client work is not the same around the globe”. She believes this experience greatly impacted her professionally, stating: « I was able to apply my knowledge from this experience throughout my career at Arcadis.”
Leah later participated in Expedition DNA #3, which promotes innovation amongst Arcadians while accelerating their digital capabilities. The program acted as a catalyst for her to expand her network, as she participated with the Chief Innovation Officer of Arcadis in Belgium.
“It was a remarkable experience, especially being in a different country and working closely with our Chief Innovation Officer… It was a great opportunity to work together as a team and put our best foot forward to solve the challenges presented to us.”
Giving back to communities
“Community engagement has always been something that I am passionate about. It is quite fulfilling to be able to mix my career with giving back to my community. I appreciate Lovinklaan for making this possible.”
In 2020, Leah became involved in the Local Sparks COVID-19 relief program through her volunteer work at a local homeless shelter.
“I was looking for ways we could apply our expertise from Arcadis to support the shelter – and after discussing with the director, we determined that there was a need to improve the shelters data management system.” From there, Leah gathered a small team of Arcadians to support with migrating the shelter’s database to help optimize their resources and reduce costs.
“As Arcadians, we were happy to help the community, especially during difficult times like this – it is important to help one another as much as possible.”
In addition to her involvement in the COVID-19 relief initiative, Leah plays an ongoing role as a sponsor alongside other colleagues to propose community work. Currently, she is working on a project for a mine in New Mexico, where operations have been shutting down.
“As a result, there are very few jobs at the mine; locals are economically depressed.” Leah became involved in the project through one of her clients, who promotes community engagement. Currently, they’re working to rebuild the community ballpark.
Amidst the tragic outbreak of the war in Ukraine earlier this year, Leah was nominated and appointment to lead Arcadis’ Help Ukraine Taskforce, which coordinates humanitarian assistance with recovery and reconstruction efforts related to energy transition.
As part of her role in leading the Taskforce, Leah participated in the World Urban Forum (WUF) in Poland, alongside representatives from the Shelter program, which strives to improve the quality of life for people living in rapidly increasing cities all over the world.
“There were some excellent examples given of how Arcadis and the Shelter Program are addressing opportunities and tackling challenges in projects by acknowledging the constraints of natural systems in their approach to urbanization” Leah explains. She primarily concentrated on the war in Ukraine’s, through the urban crises track, and was able to facilitate communication between the Shelter team and UN Habitat as they examine the potential for a future Shelter mission in the Ukraine.
Leah’s Future with Lovinklaan
After 8 years of involvement with Lovinklaan and its programs, Leah continues her involvement in the Foundation and its future programs. She has been working alongside the board on the sustainability programs that will bring value to Arcadians. In addition to this, she is also playing a leading role in global community engagement through Local Sparks and Shelter programs
“I am a true Lovinklaan advocate – it’s opened a lot of doors for me. The Foundation and its programs have played a major role in keeping me motivated and engaged throughout my career at Arcadis. It is a truly unique organization and a real differentiator for Arcadis.”