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A message from our outgoing Chair and President – Elsie Mann

As we finalise the results of elections for the SA Branch Committee, I was thrilled to see the excellent line-up of people putting their name forward to serve for the 2021-23 term. This is only the second time we have needed to hold elections to decide the committee membership, and I see it as a really positive indication of the level of interest in the Association, of members indicating a desire to contribute to shaping our industry, and an opportunity for enhancing the diversity of views and fresh ideas which are vitally important to realising AWAs vision and mission.

I feel like my time in the role of Chair and President has come to an end suddenly and somewhat taken me by surprise. The last year or so has had an overwhelming sense of ‘wait and see’, not planning too far ahead, and keeping options open. There was the significant build up and nervous anticipation of Ozwater being held in person here in Adelaide, and it wasn’t until the event was in full swing that it occurred to me it would be my last major event in the role. Despite the extra effort and additional hours put in, I have found the role really rewarding – both personally and professionally. The opportunity to meet and develop friendships with counterparts around Australia through involvement in the Strategic Advisory Council, participating in the development of Strategy’22, as well as getting to know the AWA Board and Staff are things I never imagined when I first put up my hand to join the committee in 2013, seeking to make new friends and build connections in the industry locally. I feel particularly fortunate that we were able to hold our major events over the last year – the awards dinner and ministerial breakfast and summit – and it was wonderful to have the support of the industry attending these events.

I’m looking forward to continuing to be an active contributor to AWA Branch activities, ongoing initiatives such as Water for Growth, and supporting Carmen Wentrock as she steps into the President role. With increased focus on understanding what each member values being at the heart of AWAs new operating model, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two years bring under Carmen’s leadership, working together with Marc Sneddon as Member Engagement Manager, and the new committee who will commence in July.

Before I step away, I would like to say thank you to a number of people:

To our current Member Engagement Manager, Marc Sneddon, who has brought welcome enthusiasm and energy to this newly defined branch role, as well as being willing to challenge us to consider new ways of doing things while always putting members first.
Also thank you to Shirley Fraser and Catriona Murtagh who both filled the role of Branch Manager during my tenure as Chair. Each were dedicated and brought unique strengths, positively contributing to development of the branch through their input.

Our branch committee consists of 20 dedicated members who each contribute in different ways – whether it is sharing their experience, utilising their networks to make connections, planning events, moderating webinars or assisting on the day of major events – each person has made a difference. Thank you for remaining engaged despite the challenges we have encountered. To the following committee members who will be stepping down from the committee; thank you for everything you have contributed:

  • Alex Donald (newsletter coordinator extraordinaire and active contributor to the technical program subcommittee for many years)
  • Ben McDonald (long standing branch member contributing to the awards and branch development subcommittees)
  • Hannah Ellyard (a dedicated and reliable member of the branch who has contributed to a number of subcommittees and provided valuable links to DEW and inputs into our Ministerial events)
  • Katherine Reid (has served both as a YWP, including as chair of that committee, and been valued member of the branch committee for the last two years)
  • Kelly Hill (member of the awards and conference subcommittees who has always provided considered inputs to our planning. Kelly is a member of the Catchment Management specialist network and we look forward to continuing to work with her in this role)
  • Sami Abou-Hamden (long serving committee member contributing to the awards committee and supported various branch managers with finance and membership engagement)
  • Victor Cantone (immediate past president, previous SAC representative, and long serving member of a number of subcommittees, as well as providing support to YWPs in the role of Branch liaison)
  • Yannick Monrolin (joined the Branch committee after serving on the YWP committee and has been an active contributor to branch development and conference subcommittees)

Thanks also to Ben Thwaites who finishes in his role as chair of the YWP committee at the end of June. It has been a pleasure working with Ben and having Ben’s input to the SAC as an IWA representative. Ben and the wider YWP committee always bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the overall activities of our Branch, and have put in an extraordinary effort at times to ensure events are a success. Ben has brought passion, maturity and patience to the role, and we have benefited from his depth of understanding of both AWA and IWA.

Finally, to our members, and our sponsors, without whom we wouldn’t be here. Your active participation, willingness to engage, and your support of the Association benefits all our members and the wider industry, so thank you.