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CEO, Corinne Cheeseman introduces AWA’s member centric and digital transformation

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a relaxing and enjoyable summer break and that despite any COVID restrictions that may have had an impact, that like me, you remain optimistic for 2021. 

Reflecting on 2020 and my first 6 months as CEO, there were many highlights, even under a challenging operating environment. The Association embraced technology and virtual engagement and our members responded positively to the action we took to still be able to share, connect and inspire the water sector.  I thank you for your continued support as we took that journey and I can confidently say that the Australian Water Association has shown itself to be a leader amongst other Associations in this space and 2021 will provide even more of an opportunity to continue to be a leading Association.  

Internationally, our partnerships and programs in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia have continued to grow and develop. We also had the opportunity to return to face to face events when restrictions eased, and borders opened in some states. This also stands us in good stead for the year ahead as we know how important it is for our members to be given those face to face networking and business development opportunities. 

So, what does 2021 look like for the Australian Water Association? Like all businesses, we will continue to carefully manage our spending to ensure that whatever happens, we are in a sustainable position, while still delivering member benefits, extending our reach and looking at new product & service opportunities 

A key activity is the roll out of a new operating model, approved by the Board in October, which will enable us to become a more member centric and digital organisation. As part of this new model, which commenced on 11 January, we have defined a number of new roles, some which are filled by existing staff and some by new staff with new capabilities like CX (Customer Experience), data and digital. You can see our new organisation structure on our website, but I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new groups and their roles to you here:  

The Strategy, Member Engagement and Innovation Group is led by Kirsty Blades who is also the Deputy CEO of the Association. This team leads the development and delivery of the Associations’ strategy; drives member engagement, retention and growth; and leads the development of new products and services that enhance our member experience. Importantly this team engages and supports our Branches and Specialist Network Committees and their activities and events. 

The Communications and Corporate Services Group will be led by Bianca Petrevski who starts at AWA on 11 February. This team leads and delivers our communications, content (including Water Source, Current Magazine and Water e-journal) and marketing activities, and programs such as National Water Week; manages our Corporate Governance and Risk; Financial Management and Services; IT and Data Management and People and Culture frameworks and processes.   

The Events, Awards and Digital Group is led by Lee Devereux. This team provides a great member experience by leading and delivering AWA’s program of events (physical and digital) and awards, including event strategy and curation, end-to-end project management for all national and major state conferences, seminars, workshops and dinners in conjunction with relevant AWA staff, members and committees.   

See our Ozwater website and Events calendar for more information on the Association’s upcoming events. 

The International and Industry Programs Group is led by Paul Smith. This team ensures that the expertise and experience of our members and the wider Australian water sector are profiled and positioned to play a key role internationally (this includes our programs in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia). The team also leads and delivers national industry programs such as the Australian and New Zealand Biosolids Partnership (ANZBP). 

I am excited to be leading the Association during this time and working with all staff, our dedicated Board, volunteers and our members as we transform to become a more member centric and digital organisation.  As we work to further enhance and improve your experience with us through our face to face and digital interactions you can expect to see some changes including new ways that you can get involved and connect, channelled content that reflects your areas of interest and more streamlined member interactions.  These changes will occur over the next 6 – 12 months with feedback sought along the way.  

I look forward to meeting with our members over the coming 12 months, particularly at Ozwater’21 in Adelaide in May and communicating with you more throughout 2021.  

Corinne Cheeseman