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Celebrating outstanding water leadership in Australia

The International WaterCentre (IWC) in partnership with Liveability Victoria International and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning hosted the inaugural IWC Water Leadership Program Alumni Event in Melbourne 23 - 24 November.
Celebrating outstanding water leadership in Australia

IWC Leadership Specialist André Taylor presents at Water Leadership Program Alumni Event

The two-day IWC Water Leadership Program Alumni Event, held at the Langham in Melbourne, brought together over 50 Water Leadership Program (WLP) Alumni, partners and industry leaders from the Victorian water sector to celebrate, connect and support the continued development of Australia's water leaders.

The event included a workshop for Victoria-based WLP Alumni on Advancing Integrated Water Management in Victoria, another workshop open to all Alumni and WLP partners on Fostering Creativity and Innovation in Teams, and the IWC Water Leadership Program Alumni Dinner.

During the dinner, held on Thursday night 23 November, two Australian water leaders were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the sector. Ciara Sterling, Yarra Valley Water Head of Community Inclusion and Head of the Thriving Communities Partnership, was awarded The Water Services Association of Australia Award for Distinguished Leadership by an Australian Water Leader. While Phillip Rudd, Goldenfields Water County Council General Manager, was awarded the Liveability Victoria International and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Award for Distinguished Leadership by a Graduate of the IWC Water Leadership Program.

IWC Chief Executive Officer Mark Pascoe said that the quality of nominations for the two awards was testament to the exemplary leadership of Australia's water professionals in driving positive change in the sector.

"I would like to commend all nominees, finalists and the IWC Water Leadership Award winners Ciara Sterling and Phillip Rudd on their achievements and ongoing leadership," he said.

Advancing Integrated Water Management in Victoria

Supported by the Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and co-facilitated by the IWC and Clearwater, this half-day workshop was designed to strengthen the networks between Victorian-based WLP Alumni and explore opportunities to work collectively and build a community of practice to advance Integrated Water Management across Victoria.

The workshop attracted water leaders from across Victoria and has led to the commitment from all involved to initiate the Victorian Water Leaders Community of Practice. The group aims to harness the diverse skills and experience from its members to deliver a series of projects that support the adoption of Integrated Water Management across the state.

Fostering Creativity and Innovation in Teams

The ability of individuals and teams to think creatively to address complex challenges is critical to driving change in the water sector. Recognising the importance of learning to think creatively and fostering an environment that allows teams to do so, the IWC engaged Inventium, Australia's leading innovation consultancy, to custom-design and co-deliver this professional development workshop.

Judy Anderson from Inventium guided 23 participants through a series of interactive exercises to learn about the process of innovation, and practice using four techniques that ream leaders can use to help generate more ideas in teams. Reflecting on the outcomes from the workshop Dr André Taylor (IWC Leadership Specialist) said the workshop was a tremendous success.

"The IWC had been looking for an opportunity to address the important topic of creativity and innovation in teams through a half-day workshop, and to bring in an expert to do the training. Inventium specialise in this area and Judy delivered a high-energy, practical and enjoyable workshop. I'm certain that all participants, including me, left the workshop feeling confident they could use the techniques that Judy showed us when we are playing the team leader role," he said.

Water Leadership in Australia

 The two-day event was the first time the IWC has partnered with Liveability Victoria International, DELWP, the Water Services Association of Australia and Clearwater to deliver the IWC Water Leadership Program Event. IWC Leadership Specialist and WLP Coordinator Dr André Taylor said this was an opportunity to achieve three valuable outcomes.

"The inaugural Water Leadership Program Alumni Event allowed us to acknowledge and celebrate the impressive work of the 144 people from seven countries who have completed the IWC Water Leadership Program, as well as the exemplary leadership by our award nominees and winners," Dr Taylor said.

"The event also provided a terrific opportunity to build and strengthen relationships so our program's alumni and partners can more effectively work together to drive positive change in the water sector.

"And finally, it gave us a chance to pause and reflect on what has been achieved over the last six years, what we have learnt and how we can improve before beginning our seventh round of the IWC Water Leadership Program next week," he said.

Following the success of the inaugural event, the IWC intends to continue hosting the event every two years, with the next IWC Water Leadership Event scheduled for late 2019.

IWC Water Leadership Program

Designed for emerging water leaders at the project to middle-management level, IWC's Water Leadership Program is customised for the water sector through sound research and collaboration with experienced industry practitioners. The program focuses on helping leaders to build the leadership abilities (e.g. skills, knowledge and networks), to initiate and drive change, influence across organisational boundaries, address complex water management challenges, and advance integrated water management.

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