Supporting a growing network of emerging water leaders

Clearwater is commited to supporting leadership in the water industry and would like to congradulate our 2016 Clearwater Water Leader Scholars for recently completing International WaterCenter’s Water Leadership Program.

Led by leadership specialist, Dr. Andre Taylor, this customised, award-winning professional development program helps emerging leaders develop the skills needed to influence, drive change and advance integrated water management projects. Developing these skills over a 9 month period through applied learning, intensive training and mentoring with distinguished leaders from across Australia is a fantastic opportunity and we wish our 2016 recipients the best of luck with their careers in the water sector!


John Frdelja, Manager Strategic Asset Management and Planning, Central Highlands Water

What were the main benefits of the program?

The program offered a strong platform of leadership theory, real life water leadership case studies, a suite of leadership tools that genuinely worked and a people experience that encouraged learning from water industry experts and peers within the program. I was able to leverage from this suite of offerings to develop a leadership plan and quickly put effective leadership actions into practice.

How has the program encouraged you to initiate and drive change for IWM?

The learnings from the program enabled me to develop an improved understanding of my leadership style and my ability to have a positive influence on other people while working through challenging water issues. This was particularly the case on a range of IWM initiatives where collaboration is a key component success. Throughout the year, I was involved with a range of IWM initiatives where I was able to collaborate effectively, empower people to act, facilitate positive change and deliver numerous win-win outcomes.

 The program has enabled me to generate influence more broadly and deliver tangible outcomes in the IWM space. One example includes the successful co-ordination and development of the Ballarat IWM Plan which is gaining a reputation as being the leading example of effective IWM planning in Victoria. 


Sean Keown, Project Engineer, Surf Coast Shire

How has the program changed your approach to your current position?

The program has given me the confidence to actively seek out opportunities to trial the leadership practices I have learnt and to be taken out of my comfort zone. This has already presented me with opportunities to work on some interesting and challenging projects I may not have otherwise been involved in, as well as opened doors within industry to build a number of useful professional relationships.

Can you attribute any achievements in the last 12 months to the program?

As part of the leadership development plan I established through the program, I completed a review of Council’s asset management and maintenance programs for Water Sensitive Urban Design elements such as rain gardens and wetlands, which highlighted a number of opportunities for improvement within our existing processes.  This in turn, lead to my involvement in the drafting of a more general drainage strategy to be adopted by Council that will provide a framework to ensure the allocation of drainage upgrade funding is effectively prioritised.


Nick Madden, Team Leader Commercial Services, Gippsland Water

How has the program changed your approach to your current position?

The program has given me the tools and confidence to review my current role and my place in organisation. In addition it has made me review how my own values align with that of the organisation – fortunately, they do.

 The program has given me more confidence to challenge current practices and to look beyond my current role for opportunities for self-development. I am also reflecting on my own leadership style and strengths and looking at how this best fits with future roles.

What were the most valuable lessons that you have taken away from the Water Leadership Program?

The most valuable lessons I took away from the program were self-management, including building personal resilience and taking time to reflect. Reflecting on short term goals and achievements, and also longer term, deeper reflection on personal and professional progress has allowed me to add much needed context and perspective when reflecting on the ‘now’ and looking to the future.

Managing myself through building my own personal resilience and recognising when I need to focus on self has made me a more effective leader.

My final takeaway was to see each challenge as an opportunity!