October 3, 2019
On Tuesday 17th September, water industry professionals came together for the latest instalment of the increasingly popular Women in Water breakfast series. This was the fifth breakfast in the series, following on from the celebration of women in leadership in the move to gender equality held in early July. The topic for this breakfast was ‘Women changing the future of water’ and was generously sponsored by the Adelaide office of GHD.
Guests were joined by three prominent industry females representing three distinct areas of the water sector: Saskya Hunter, Digital Innovation Lead (Water) and Director AquaLAB at GHD Digital (also named one of Australia's Most Innovative Engineers in 2019); Amanda Lewry, Executive Manager, Asset Management Australia and Asia Pacific at GHD Advisory; and Mellissa Bradley, Program Manager, Water Sensitive SA & Regional Manager, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (and recipient of the 2019 Smart Water Awards Leadership Award).
Our three guests each gave a short presentation on their experience working in the water sector and how they are progressing the water industry in their respective areas.
Following the presentations and a break for guests to enjoy their breakfast, our speakers joined MC, Sandra Ricci, Senior Manager Strategy, Innovation and Business of Tomorrow at SA Water, on stage for a panel discussion.
The panel provided an insightful discussion on the role of women in the water industry of the future. As our industry transforms and embraces digitalisation it is important that women step into this space and recognise the skills they can bring to the table. The panel impressed upon the attendees, a technical background isn’t required to be part of the digital conversation - diversity, collaborative thought and the ability to engage are crucial to this conversation. There are so many women undertaking transformative projects in our industry, and we as an industry must do more to highlight and support these champions.
As the breakfast came to a close, MC Sandra issued a call to action and also asked the panel members to share what they see as the key opportunities for women in the water industry in the future. Our panel members agreed that as women, we shouldn’t be afraid to have our voice heard, and that we need to think about all of the different parts of the community that are impacted by our work and make sure that women are represented in these conversations, particularly where we have the opportunity as managers and leaders to impact this. The attendees were encouraged to start at the grassroots level and encourage girls to consider a future career in STEM and other traditionally male roles.
The Women in Water breakfast series is a joint initiative of South Australian water organisations with the objective of bringing together women in the industry to form an active network and encourage leadership opportunities. The series aims to discuss industry and gender issues and recognise the importance of gender and water in an international context.
The Women in Water Breakfast series is a joint initiative of the following South Australian-based water organisations: