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AWA launches Strategy’25 at Annual General Meeting

Strategy'25

Louise Dudley, Australian Water Association (AWA) President, unveiled Strategy’25 at the Association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, 17 November 2022. Strategy’25 replaces and builds on Strategy’22, AWA’s previous 3 year strategy.

Reflecting on Strategy’22

In designing Strategy’25, we reflected on Strategy’22 and its most significant achievements. The Board, Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) and the AWA team reflected on the progress of each of the focus areas of Strategy’22. There were some clear successes among the twelve focus areas there.

Notably, significant progress has been made in our technology partnerships delivering on our digital transformation. Since 2019, we have established our member-focused CX platform, launching a new website in November 2021 which integrates with our CRMand marketing capabilities enabling AWA to provide our members with a better digital experience. We upgraded our finance system and became a leader in virtual event capabilities, essential during COVID but also to meet the needs of our rural and regional members. We have continued our transformation as a modern organisation supported by technology that will continue to help us become more member-centric.

Over the past three years, significant advancements have been made in the Young Water Professional (YWP) space. The National YWP Taskforce was formed, and highly regarded mentoring programs and events were expanded and developed. The YWP program has had high engagement and support locally, and we have seen more YWPs taking leadership roles in our branch committees.

Strategy’22 also had a focus on extending our reach, in particular to remote and rural areas. Strongly led by our branch committees, we have seen the establishment of regional sub-committees and champions, regional hubs for events and outstanding conferences and tours held in regional areas across the country that are offering high value for our members.

In the diversity and inclusion space as part of our Channeling Change program, we launched our Diversity and Inclusion Statement, established new D&I sub-themes at Ozwater from 2020, and provided formal support to Pride in Water. With a focus on gender equality, we have seen the proportion of female speakers and panellists at AWA events grow to 44% in 2021/2022 and 48% of all articles in Water Source profile women.

We also made significant advances in the Indigenous Water focus area of Strategy’22. We now include an indigenous translation of the Ozwater theme, with a dedicated stream and keynote speakers on this focus area. We launched the Talking Water video series, and all major AWA events now feature a Welcome to Country by a local elder. Meaningful collaboration with First Nations people on water management remains vital, and of the Strategy’22 focus areas was ranked as the one with the highest priority over the next three years.

The Future of Associations and how Strategy’25 came together

The development of Strategy’25 was led by the Board and was formulated in consultation with our Strategic Advisory Council, members, the AWA team, informed by an all-member survey and the successes and experiences of Strategy’22. We also consulted with Belinda Moore of Strategic Membership Solutions, who identified future Association trends and opportunities. Belinda recognised many fundamental changes Associations are facing, such as rapid technological

innovation, competition in the form of social media networking, significant generational shifts and the changes brought about by COVID.

Strategy’25

Strategy’25 keeps the value proposition of Strategy’22 unchanged, as it continues to resonate for our members. The proposition is that AWA drives prosperity and sustainability by providing individuals with career enrichment and organisations with business opportunities as we:

  • share information and knowledge
  • connect members with industry and stakeholders, and
  • inspire positive change.

Strategy’25, for the first time, introduces a ten-year aspiration for the Association. Building on our purpose to inspire and drive a sustainable water future, the aspiration is that water is recognised by all as essential to economic prosperity, health, the environment and Indigenous connection to country.

Strategy’25 is defined by three focus areas: Member Experience, Water for Sustainable and Resilient Communities, and Indigenous and Community Collaboration. People and Culture and Data and Digital will enable these focus areas.

Member Experience

By 2025, our members will be more diverse, connected and included, have impact and influence, have developed as professionals and celebrated success together. We will continue to deliver professional development events and networking that meet our members’ needs, Specialist Networks that are relevant, contemporary and valued, and growth in Ozwater participation and influence. Australian Water Award finalists and winners will have greater visibility, and we will have expanded the mentoring program to target minority demographics.

Water for Sustainable and Resilient Communities

By 2025, we will be recognised for our thought leadership and programs in Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific that promote and deliver sustainable water for all. We will assist our members in combating climate impacts, improving liveability in the region, and contributing to meeting Sustainable Development Goals. We will elevate the topic of water resilience and sustainability and encourage investment to achieve this, diversifying our partnerships and strengthening our existing partnership with the Australian Government. We will innovate our offerings and embed local cultural awareness.

Indigenous and Community Collaboration

By 2025, National Water Week will deliver a stronger voice for water to the community and students. We will create a culturally safe space to share indigenous water management practices and celebrate collaborations that provide positive change. We will have increased promotion of careers in water and explored water’s contribution to liveability. We will have developed new content for schools linked to the curriculum and enhanced the school’s program at Ozwater, while implementing our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.

People and Culture

By 2025, we will have reinforced a culture for people who care about a sustainable water future. Our people are connected, collaborative, innovative, commercial and entrepreneurial. We embrace

inclusivity for a sustainable water future. We will improve retention, engagement and recognition of our volunteers and members and support organisations that champion cultural and social diversity in water. We will provide more opportunities for our community of members to contribute.

Data and Digital

By 2025, we will deliver a personalised member experience and a valued online library and support data-driven decisions and the team through our digital capabilities. To support the water community, we will develop an easily accessible and highly valued digital library of AWA content with increased data sharing. All staff will be digitally enabled and supported.

The Association looks forward to working closely with its members, supporters and the broader community in fulfilling the goals of Strategy’25 over the years ahead. To view the complete version of Strategy’25 click here.