Australian elected Chair of the IWA Emerging Water Leaders

Emily Ryan is the newly elected Chair of the IWA Emerging Water Leaders (EWL) Steering Committee. In her role as Chair, Emily will lead 12 other young water professionals from all around the world and different water industries, for a period of 2 years. We spoke with Emily to learn more about the EWL, her role and goals, and what this means for Australia. 

Emily Ryan

What is the Emerging Water Leaders Steering Committee?

We're a group of Young Water Professionals who provide advice and perspective to the IWA on the issues and initiatives that matter to young professionals in the Association. We're dedicated to finding new ways to engage and develop YWPs, to ensure that the IWA is serving its young members. The committee has sub-groups that handle chapter coordination, specialist groups, events and communication, career-building, and strategic advisory, with talented young professionals representing industry, academia, utilities, and consultancies.
I was recently lucky enough to be elected Chair of this group, so will be leading the steering committee through the exciting new challenges we'll be facing in 2020-2022.

What does this mean for Australia?

I'm very excited to represent Australia on this committee, and I hope through my position as Chair that I can help to strengthen the role of IWA in the Asia-Pacific region. With many events still looking to run online in the coming year, I'm looking for ways that Australian YWPs can make connections to our international community and to replicate some of the great conversations we'd normally enjoy at face-to-face events. One example of this is the recent Australia-Germany 'Building Bridges' dialogue, that we co-organised with members from the German Young Water Professionals network. This event facilitated conversations between members in the two regions, with opportunities for reflection on how the two countries can learn from each other's practices in water recycling, while showcasing the great work of young professionals in the industry. We're looking forward to organising more events like this in the future.

What are your goals and initiatives for the next two years?

While it's still early days for our new committee, having just formed in November, we're already starting to see some important objectives emerge. A major goal for us, at least in the near term, is in improving and finding new digital opportunities for engagement, especially for members who might be struggling from some webinar fatigue, and are looking for new ways to network and connect with other members. Keep an eye out early next year for the Emerging Water Leaders Forum, which will be held as part of the 2021 World Water Congress and Exhibition. We're also hoping to welcome some new YWP chapters globally, and to increase the number of YWP members in underrepresented regions. There's more to come, with our committee's first strategy session happening early in the new year, so watch this space.

To learn more about the IWA Emerging Water Leaders Committee click here.