Local service, global perspective.

Lydia’s well-traveled past brought her back to Cleveland where her diversity work now advances a clean-water cause

From a fellow, to a specialist, to a manager, Lydia Stump-Hartman has steadily grown her career in clean water. “I came to the District from a fellowship with the Cleveland Foundation. At the time, all I cared about was working in government; I knew I wanted to be in local government.”

During her lifetime, she has lived on three different continents, residing in Switzerland and the United States, and serving in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Benin, West Africa — all as a self-declared introvert. After her fellowship ended, Lydia moved out of Cleveland. Lydia sensed her government career would one day continue since it would provide a platform for her to work in her passion areas. She returned to NEORSD in 2021, embracing the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Specialist. Three years later in January 2024, Lydia’s career expanded when she was promoted to DEI Manager.

As a DEI Manager, Lydia acts as a change agent, which speaks to her core. “When there is evidence that change is happening, I find that very rewarding. Change comes in all forms — employees sharing personal experiences, making them feel more included, changes in systems and policies. It really keeps the work relevant,” Lydia explained.

Part of Lydia’s role at the District is supporting Employee Resource Groups, which she describes as a naturally fulfilling responsibility. “I enjoy being in ERG groups where I identify… to be able to be seen and be included in these communities and with people who face similar challenges,” Lydia said. “I also enjoy being in ERGs where I may not necessarily identify; it helps me be more rooted and understand what others experience and understand those differences,” she added.

Our four-week Pipeline To Progress: Women in Water series celebrates Women’s History Month. Story by Kyla Presto, photography by Nicole Harvel.



Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH